Pohl v. Charlotte Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
ORDER denying 35 Motion to Stay Discovery. See Order for details. Signed by Magistrate Judge Nicholas P. Mizell on 7/19/2021. (brh)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
Case No. 2:20-cv-983-JES-NPM
Before the Court is a Motion to Stay Discovery (Doc. 35). Plaintiff Rick Pohl
filed a Response (Doc. 38) and, with leave of Court, Defendant Charlotte Behavioral
Health Care, Inc. (“Charlotte Behavioral”) filed a Reply (Doc. 41). For the following
reasons, the Court denies the motion.
This is an employment-discrimination action under the Family and Medical
Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq.; the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”),
Fla. Stat. § 760 et seq.; and the Workers’ Compensation Retaliation statute
(“WCR”), Fla. Stat. § 440.205. (Doc. 32). In short, Pohl worked for Charlotte
Behavioral as a maintenance worker. (Doc. 32, ¶ 17). After working at this position
for approximately two years, Pohl claims he suffered injuries to his neck, joints, and
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back. (Doc. 32, ¶¶ 19-20). Pohl alleges Charlotte Behavioral coerced him into not
filing a workers’ compensation claim and neglected to advise him of his rights under
the FMLA. (Doc. 32, ¶¶ 23-24, 27-30). Less than a week after his workers’
compensation inquiry, he was terminated. (Doc. 32, ¶ 31). Seeking redress for
Charlotte Behavioral’s purportedly wrongful conduct, Pohl advances the following
theories of recovery:
Count I - Unlawful Interference Under the FMLA;
Count II - Unlawful Retaliation Under the FMLA;
Count III - Discrimination Under the ADA Based on Disability;
Count IV - Discrimination Under the FCRA Based on Disability;
Count V - Retaliation Under the ADA Based on Disability;
Count VI - Retaliation Under the FCRA Based on Disability; and
Count VII - Violation of the WCR statute.
(Doc. 32, pp. 9-16). Charlotte Behavioral moved to dismiss the unlawful interference
claim brought under the FMLA (count I), as well as the retaliation claims brought
under the FMLA, the ADA, and the FCRA (counts II, V, and VI)—but not the
retaliation claim brought under the WCR statute (count VII). (Doc. 33). The motion
to dismiss, which was filed on May 11, 2021, and became ripe on June 22, 2021,
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A district court has broad discretion to stay proceedings “as an incident to its
power to control its own docket.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997).
Motions to stay discovery are disfavored because delay can create case-management
problems and unnecessary litigation expenses. Cuhaci v. Kouri Grp., LP, No. 20-cv23950, 2021 WL 1945819, *2 (S.D. Fla. May 14, 2021) (citing Feldman v. Flood,
176 F.R.D. 651, 652 (M.D. Fla. 1997)). To prevail on a request to stay discovery,
the moving party has the burden to show not only good cause and reasonableness,
but also prejudice or burdensomeness. Id. (citing Montoya v. PNC Bank, N.A., No.
14-20474-cv, 2014 WL 2807617, *2 (S.D. Fla. June 20, 2014); Feldman, 176 F.R.D.
Charlotte Behavioral’s argument is grounded in Chudasama v. Mazda Motor
Corp., 123 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. 1997). But Chudasama does not stand for the
proposition that discovery should generally be stayed pending resolution of a motion
to dismiss. Cuhaci, 2021 WL 1945819, at *2 (collecting cases). The Chudasama
court faced a specific situation involving an unjustifiable delay by the district court
in ruling on motions to dismiss, an erroneous decision to compel discovery from the
defendant prior to ruling on the motion to dismiss, and an especially dubious fraud
claim that was likely to be dismissed. Ray v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., No. 12-61528-cv,
2012 WL 5471793, *3 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 9, 2012). None of these factors are present
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Rarely will a court stay discovery when the motion to dismiss would not
dispose of the entire case. Cuhaci, 2021 WL 1945819, at *2 (citing Feldman, 176
F.R.D. at 652-653). Nor will it stay discovery unless the moving party demonstrates
prejudice or burdensomeness. Id. Here, Charlotte Behavioral seeks to dismiss four
of the seven counts in the operative complaint. Even if its motion were granted, the
action would continue as both a discrimination and retaliation suit. Charlotte
Behavioral has not shown how allowing discovery to proceed while the motion to
dismiss is pending would cause any prejudice or undue burden, or that any other
good cause exists to warrant a stay.
Accordingly, the Motion to Stay Discovery (Doc. 35) is DENIED. To the
extent that Charlotte Behavioral has not responded to any pending written discovery
requests, it is directed to do so by August 9, 2021.
ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida on July 19, 2021.
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