Smith v. Sprint/United Management Company et al
ORDER; 48 Defendants' Unopposed Motion for Stay of Discovery is DENIED, by Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya on 9/16/15.(morti, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya
Civil Action No. 15–cv–00550–WJM–KMT
SPRINT/UNITED MANAGEMENT COMPANY, and
LINDSAY MASON, individually,
This matter is before the court on “Defendants’ Unopposed Motion for Stay of
Discovery” (Doc. No. 48, filed July 17, 2015.)
In their Motion to Stay, Defendants seek to stay discovery in this matter until a ruling is
issued as to its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 48). At the outset, the court notes that it granted
Plaintiff’s motion to amend his complaint, which mooted the Motion to Dismiss. (See Doc. No.
55.) The Motion to Dismiss asserted that Plaintiff=s Complaint should be dismissed pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6). (See id.)
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly provide for a stay of proceedings.
See String Cheese Incident, LLC v. Stylus Shows, Inc., 02-CV-01934-LTB-PA, 2006 WL
894955, at *2 (D. Colo. March 30, 2006). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 does, however,
[a] party or any person from whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order
in the court where the action is pending . . . The court may, for good cause, issue an order
to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden
or expense . . . .
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a).
A motion to stay discovery is an appropriate exercise of this court’s discretion. Landis v.
N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-255 (1936). “The power to stay proceedings is incidental to the
power inherent in every court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy
of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants. How this can best be done calls for the
exercise of judgment, which must weigh competing interests and maintain an even balance.” Id.
(citing Kansas City S. Ry. Co. v. United States, 282 U.S. 760, 763 (1931)).
The underlying principle in determination of whether to grant or deny a stay clearly is
that “[t]he right to proceed in court should not be denied except under the most extreme
circumstances.” Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Chilcott Portfolio Mgmt., Inc., 713
F.2d 1477, 1484 (10th Cir. 1983) (quoting Klein v. Adams & Peck, 436 F.2d 337, 339 (2d Cir.
1971)). In other words, stays of the normal proceedings of a court matter should be the
exception rather than the rule. As a result, stays of all discovery are generally disfavored in this
District. Chavez v. Young Am. Ins. Co., No. 06BcvB02419BPSFBBNB, 2007 WL 683973, at *2
(D. Colo. Mar. 2, 2007) (citation omitted).
Nevertheless, “a court may decide that in a particular case it would be wise to stay
discovery on the merits until [certain challenges] have been resolved.” 8A Charles Alan Wright,
Arthur R. Miller & Richard L. Marcus, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE ' 2040, at 198 (3d
ed. 2010). Courts have routinely recognized that discovery may be inappropriate while issues of
immunity or jurisdiction are being resolved. See, e.g., Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S. 226, 231B32
(1991) (noting that immunity is a threshold issue and discovery should not be allowed while the
issue is pending); Workman v. Jordan, 958 F.2d 332, 336 (10th Cir. 1992) (same); Gilbert v.
Ferry, 401 F.3d 411, 415B16 (6th Cir. 2005) (finding stay permissible pending ruling on a
dispositive motion asserting a jurisdictional issue); Democratic Republic of Congo v. FG
Hemisphere Assocs., LLC, 508 F.3d 1062, 1064 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (noting that the reason
jurisdictional defenses should be raised at the outset is to avoid unnecessary litigation).
When considering a stay of discovery, this court has considered the following factors:
(1) the plaintiff’s interests in proceeding expeditiously with the civil action and the potential
prejudice to plaintiff of a delay; (2) the burden on the defendants; (3) the convenience to the
court; (4) the interests of persons not parties to the civil litigation; and (5) the public interest.
String Cheese Incident, 2006 WL 894955, at *2 (citing FDIC v. Renda, No. 85-2216-O, 1987
WL 348635, at *2 (D. Kan. Aug. 6, 1987)).
The court acknowledges that Plaintiff has an interest in proceeding expeditiously with
this matter. Moreover, the court is not convinced that Defendants would face a significant
burden by proceeding with discovery. In their mooted motion to dismiss, Defendants asserted
that the court lacks jurisdiction over only one of Plaintiff’s claims. The mooted motion to
dismiss, if it had been granted, would have dismissed only one defendant from the case. The
mooted motion to dismiss did not seek dismissal of all of the plaintiff’s claims. The court
assumes the defendants will file a motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s amended complaint on the same
or similar bases as their mooted motion to dismiss. Granting a stay under these circumstances
would suggest that a stay of discovery is appropriate nearly any time a defendant files a motion
to dismiss. This result would not only be contrary to the disfavored status of stays in this
District, see Bustos v. United States, 257 F.R.D. 617, 623 (D. Colo. 2009), but would also make
the court’s docket thoroughly unpredictable and, hence, unmanageable, Sanaah v. Howell, 08-cv02117-REB-KLM, 2009 WL 980383, at *1 (D. Colo. Apr. 9, 2009).
Finally, neither the interests of nonparties nor the public interest in general prompts the
court to reach a different result. Indeed, the public interest favors the prompt and efficient
handling of all litigation. Sanaah, 2009 WL 980383, at *1. Accordingly, on balance, the court
finds that a stay of this case is unwarranted.
Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, it is
ORDERED that “Defendants’ Unopposed Motion for Stay of Discovery” (Doc. No. 48)
Dated this 16th day of September, 2015.
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