Martinez v. Health Care Partners Foundation Inc.
ORDER by Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix on 1/9/15. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [#7] is DENIED without prejudice. Plaintiffs [sic] Motion Requesting Extension [#26] is GRANTED. (lgale, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 14-cv-02399-RM-KLM
MICHAEL ANGELO MARTINEZ,
HEALTH CARE PARTNERS FOUNDATION, INC.,
ENTERED BY MAGISTRATE JUDGE KRISTEN L. MIX
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs [sic] Motion Requesting Extension
[#26]1 (the “Motion”). Plaintiff is proceeding in this matter without an attorney and states
in the Motion that he is requesting a 120-day extension of time because he is seeking legal
counsel. Motion [#26] at 1. Specifically, Plaintiff asks the Court “to place the case on a
hold and give plaintiff 120 (one hundred and twenty) days extension on time.” Id. Plaintiff
notes that he “is requesting an extension for the reason that [P]laintiff is seeking legal
counsel . . . .” Id. Plaintiff does not identify a specific deadline for which he is requesting
an extension and presently there are no pending deadlines. It appears, therefore, that
Plaintiff is requesting a 120-day stay of this litigation. Defendant has not filed a response
to the Motion and its deadline to do so has elapsed. In addition, Defendant’s Motion to
“[#26]” is an example of the convention I use to identify the docket number assigned to
a specific paper by the Court’s case management and electronic case filing system (CM/ECF). I
use this convention throughout this Minute Order.
Dismiss [#7] is fully briefed and a Scheduling Conference has not yet been scheduled in
Although a stay of proceedings in a case is generally disfavored, the Court has
discretion to enter a stay. Compare Wason Ranch Corp. v. Hecla Mining Co., No. 07-cv00267-EWN-MEH, 2007 WL 1655362, at *1 (D. Colo. June 6, 2007) (“A stay of all
discovery is generally disfavored in this District.” (citation omitted)); with Ellis v. J.R.’s
Country Stores, Inc., No. 12-cv-01916-CMA-KLM, 2012 WL 6153513, at *1 (D. Colo. Dec.
11, 2012) (granting stay of proceedings).
The “[C]ourt has inherent power to stay
proceedings ‘to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and
effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants.’” Ellis, 2012 WL 6153513, at *1 (quoting Landis
v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936) (observing that docket management “calls for the
exercise of judgment, which must weigh competing interests and maintain an even
balance”)); Vivid Techs., Inc. v. Am. Sci. & Eng'g, Inc., 200 F.3d 795, 804 (Fed.Cir.1999)
(“When a particular issue may be dispositive, the court may stay discovery concerning
other issues until the critical issue is resolved.”); Chavous v. D.C. Fin. Responsibility &
Mgmt. Assistance Auth., 201 F.R.D. 1, 2 (D.D.C.2001) (“A stay of discovery pending the
determination of a dispositive motion is an eminently logical means to prevent wasting the
time and effort of all concerned, and to make the most efficient use of judicial resources.”
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); see also String Cheese Incident, LLC v.
Stylus Shows, Inc., No. 05-cv-01934-LTB-PAC, 2006 WL 894955, at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 30,
2006) (finding that a thirty day stay of discovery was appropriate when a motion to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction was pending); Nankivil v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 216
F.R.D. 689, 692 (M.D. Fla. 2003) (finding that a stay may be appropriate if “resolution of
a preliminary motion may dispose of the entire action.”); 8 Charles Alan Wright, et al.,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 2040, at 521-22 (2d ed. 1994) (“[W]hen one issue may
be determinative of a case, the court has discretion to stay discovery on other issues until
the critical issue has been decided.”); Vivid Techs., Inc. v. Am. Sci. & Eng’g, Inc., 200 F.3d
795, 804 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (“When a particular issue may be dispositive, the court may stay
discovery concerning other issues until the critical issue is resolved.”); Gilbert v. Ferry, 401
F.3d 411, 415-16 (6th Cir. 2005) (finding that staying discovery is not an abuse of discretion
when a defendant has filed a motion to dismiss challenging the court’s subject matter
jurisdiction); Chavous v. D.C. Fin. Responsibility & Mgmt. Assistance Auth., 201 F.R.D. 1,
2 (D.D.C. 2005) (“A stay of discovery pending the determination of a dispositive motion is
an eminently logical means to prevent wasting the time and effort of all concerned, and to
make the most efficient use of judicial resources.” (internal quotation omitted)).
When exercising its discretion to enter a stay, the Court considers the following
factors: (1) the interest of the plaintiff in proceeding expeditiously and the potential
prejudice to the plaintiff of a delay; (2) the burden on the defendant; (3) the convenience
to the Court; (4) the interests of nonparties; and (5) the public interest. String Cheese
Incident, LLC, 2006 WL 894955, at *2 (citing FDIC v. Renda, No. 85-2216-O, 1987 WL
348635, at *2 (D. Kan. Aug. 6, 1987)).
In this case, staying discovery would apparently not prejudice Plaintiff, as he
requests a stay. Therefore, the Court finds that the first String Cheese Incident factor
weighs in favor of a stay.
With regard to the second factor, it appears Defendant will not be burdened by a
stay because a stay will conserve financial resources. In addition, Defendant had an
opportunity to oppose the Motion and did not file a response. However, because the Court
cannot know Defendant’s position with regard to a stay, the Court finds that the second
String Cheese Incident factor neither weighs in favor nor against a stay.
With regard to the third factor, it is certainly more convenient for the Court to enter
a stay to allow Plaintiff to obtain legal representation. The Court therefore finds that the
third String Cheese Incident factor weighs in favor of a stay.
With regard to the fourth factor, there are no nonparties with significant particularized
interests in this case. Accordingly, the fourth String Cheese Incident factor neither weighs
in favor nor against a stay.
With regard to the fifth and final factor, the Court finds that the public’s only interest
in this case is a general interest in its efficient and just resolution. Allowing Plaintiff the
opportunity to obtain legal representation may lead to a more efficient adjudication of his
claims and, therefore, serves this interest. Thus, the fifth String Cheese Incident factor
weighs in favor of a stay.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion [#26] is GRANTED. Accordingly,
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is STAYED for 120 days to allow Plaintiff
an opportunity to obtain counsel. This stay will automatically lift on May 8, 2015 unless it
is extended by order of the Court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [#7] is DENIED
without prejudice. Once the stay is lifted, the parties may ask the Court to revive the
pending Motion to Dismiss [#7], pending Response [#15], and pending Reply [#22]. If
Plaintiff obtains counsel, Plaintiff may ask permission to file a new response to the revised
Motion to Dismiss.
Dated: January 9, 2015
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