Maxton v. USA et al
ORDER by Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland on 2/18/14 granting 107 Motion for Styay of Discovery Pending Plaintiff's Pending Criminal Proceedings. Discovery is STAYED until June 1, 2014. On or before June 1, 2014, the defendants shall file a status report concerning the status of the criminal proceedings. (BWS)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 12-cv-00383-WYD-BNB
THERON JOHNNY MAXTON, # 85599-071,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
BOP DIRECTOR, Washington, D.C.;
T.K COZZA-RHODES, Warden F.C.I.;
CHARLES DANIEL, Warden F.C.I.;
S. COLLINS, Health Service, U.S.P.;
LT. ANTHONY, U.S.P. Florence,
This matter arises on Defendants’ Motion for Styay [sic] of Discovery Pending
Plaintiff’s Pending Criminal Proceedings [Doc. #107, filed 01/23/2014] (the “Motion”). The
Motion is GRANTED as specified.
The plaintiff currently is incarcerated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). He
filed his initial Complaint on February 13, 2012 [Doc. #1], and his Amended Prisoner Complaint
on April 11, 2013 (the “Amended Complaint”) [Doc. #60]. The Amended Complaint asserts
claims for violations of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment. It contains the following allegations:
1. On August 23, 2011, and September 13 and 30, 2011, at the direction of defendant
Collins, the plaintiff was beaten by defendant Anthony and three other prison officials. The
plaintiff was handcuffed (behind his back) at the time. Amended Complaint, p. 5.1
2. Collins slapped the plaintiff in the face while he was handcuffed. Id.
3. These actions were taken against the plaintiff because he kept writing about the
medical staff deliberately killing another inmate, Joseph Simpkins, in 2012, and for writing
Senator Lindsey Graham to request that he require the defendants to send the plaintiff to a
4. On September 30, 2011, Collins had defendant Daniel send the plaintiff “across the
street” to “get killed.” He was there for 48 days, and he was assaulted and chained to a bed for
11 days by defendant Cozza-Rhodes.2 Id. at pp. 5, 6, 7.
5. Collins tried to have the plaintiff killed by having SIS R. Turner place inmate
Wallace and defendant Anthony in a room with the plaintiff on September 13, 2011. Anthony
gave Wallace a knife to stab the plaintiff. Id. at p. 5.
Defendant Daniel had Captain Willie Hutchinson and defendant Anthony put the
plaintiff in a medical room on or about August 23, 2011. Daniel, Collins, and others took turns
beating the plaintiff while he was handcuffed behind his back. This was done because the
plaintiff refused to sign a form that said medical did not kill inmate Joseph Simpkins. Id.
The Amended Complaint is not consecutively paginated, and citation is to the page
numbers of the Amended Complaint as they are assigned by the court’s docketing system.
Because the plaintiff alleges that Collins is employed at USP and Daniel and CozzaRhodes are Wardens at FCI, a reasonable inference can be made that Collins had the plaintiff
transferred from USP to FCI.
7. Cozza-Rhodes had Daniel place the plaintiff in the “Smooth Program” at USP
Lewisburg “out of retaliation.” Id. at p. 8.
On October 7, 2013, the plaintiff was indicted on three counts of threatening to harm
BOP officials and their families, including “threats related to” defendants Cozza-Rhodes,
Daniels, and Anthony. The threats were made, in part, in a letter dated November 9, 2012, but
encompass conduct proceeding that date. The plaintiff’s criminal trial is set for May 13, 2014.
The plaintiff has raised the issue of whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.
On January 22, 2014, I held a Scheduling Conference and entered a Scheduling Order
which set a six month time frame for the completion of discovery. The defendants seek a stay of
discovery until the criminal proceedings are completed. The plaintiff opposes a stay [Doc.
The defendants state that the pendency of the criminal case raises concerns regarding
their defenses and “counsel’s ability to provide a zealous defense”; “their ability to fully inquire
into matters that may be relevant to their defense of Plaintiff’s civil claims” may be impeded;
and the plaintiff’s Fifth Amendment rights are implicated regarding his criminal case. The
defendants further state that the plaintiff’s criminal defense attorney shares the “concerns that
discovery in this case may pose to Plaintiff’s defense of the pending criminal charges.”
The district courts in this circuit have considered the following factors when determining
whether a stay is appropriate: (1) the extent to which the issues in the civil and criminal cases
overlap; (2) the status of the criminal case, including whether defendant has been indicted; (3)
the interests of, prejudices to, and burdens on the parties; (4) the interests of the Court; and (5)
the public’s interest.3 E.g., AIG Life Ins. Co. v. Phillips, Civil Action No. 07-cv-00500-PSFMEH, 2007 WL 2116383 at *2 (D.Colo. July 20, 2007).
The plaintiff has alleged in this case that defendants Cozza-Rhodes, Daniels, and
Anthony harmed him in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. He has been indicted in his
criminal case for threats “related to” these defendants. Therefore, the facts of this case overlap
with the facts of the criminal proceeding. In addition, “a stay is more likely warranted if an
indictment has already been issued because (1) the likelihood that [the plaintiff] may make
incriminating statements is greatest after an indictment has issued, and (2) the prejudice to [the
defendants] in the civil case is reduced since the criminal case will likely be quickly resolved due
to Speedy Trial Act considerations.” Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted). Finally,
because the plaintiff is proceeding pro se in this action and has raised the issue of his mental
competency to stand trial in his criminal action, his ability to protect his Fifth Amendment rights
is of particular concern. Although the parties, the court, and the public all have an interest in
resolution of cases without unnecessary delay, the weight of the other factors warrants a limited
stay of discovery. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED:
(1) The Defendants’ Motion for Styay [sic] of Discovery Pending Plaintiff’s Pending
Criminal Proceedings [Doc. #107] is GRANTED;
(2) Discovery is STAYED until June 1, 2014; and
The case law typically addresses a civil defendant moving to stay a civil case until
criminal proceedings against him are resolved. Here, the civil defendants have moved to stay the
civil case until criminal proceedings against the civil plaintiff/criminal defendant have been
resolved. I have adjusted the factors to reflect this difference.
(3) On or before June 1, 2014, the defendants shall file a status report concerning the
status of the criminal proceedings.
Dated February 18, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Boyd N. Boland
United States Magistrate Judge
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