Allred v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Order Granting Temporary 8 Stay; denying 23 Motion re Walmart's alleged document destruction. ( Responses due by 11/4/2019) Signed by Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr on 10/10/2019. See attached document for full details. (kpe)
United States District Court
Southern District of Florida
Candi Allred, Plaintiff,
) Civil Action No. 19-80922-Civ-Scola
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Defendant.
Order Granting Temporary Stay
Plaintiff Candi Allred complains that her employer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
discriminated against her on the basis of her gender. She seeks relief under
theories of both disparate treatment as well as disparate impact. In response,
Walmart has filed a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 7.) Walmart argues, among
other things, that the Plaintiff fails to state a claim under either theory. Walmart
now asks the Court to stay discovery until the Court rules on its motion to
dismiss. (ECF No. 8.) The Plaintiff objects to the stay, arguing that no discovery
has yet been requested and, in any event, Walmart’s motion to dismiss is not
“clearly meritorious.” (Pl.’s Resp., ECF No. 14, 1–2.) Having considered the
parties’ arguments and for the following reasons, the Court finds a limited stay
in this case warranted and therefore grants Walmart’s request for a stay of
discovery. (ECF No. 8.)
District courts are given “broad discretion over the management of pretrial activities, including discovery and scheduling.” Johnson v. Bd. of Regents of
Univ. of Ga., 263 F.3d 1234, 1269 (11th Cir. 2001). And district courts have
“broad authority to grant a stay.” In re Application of Alves Braga, 789 F. Supp.
2d 1294, 1307 (S.D. Fla. 2011) (Goodman, Mag. J.) Courts consider the relative
prejudice and hardship “worked on each party if a stay is or is not granted” and
general efficiency. Fitzer v. Am. Institute of Baking, Inc., No. 209-cv-169, 2010 WL
1955974 (S.D. Ga. May 13, 2010); Feldman v. Flood, 176 F.R.D. 651, 652 (M.D.
Fla. 1988) (noting that a court must also weigh “the harm produced by a delay in
discovery” against “the likely costs and burdens of proceeding with discovery”)
(citations omitted). Moreover, so long as a stay is neither “immoderate” nor
indefinite, a stay can be appropriate in the interest of judicial convenience.
Ortega Trujillo v. Conover & Co. Communications, Inc., 221 F.3d 1262 (11th Cir.
2000) (provided a stay will expire within reasonable limits, it is not immoderate).
In considering the balance, a court may take a “preliminary peek” at the merits
of a dispositive motion to see if it “appears to be clearly meritorious and truly
case dispositive.” McCabe v. Foley, 233 F.R.D. 683, 685 (M.D. Fla. 2006). After
reviewing Walmart’s motion to dismiss, the Court finds the issues raised,
particularly with respect to the Plaintiff’s failure to state a claim on either her
disparate treatment or disparate impact claims, appear clearly meritorious. See
Ray v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., No. 12-61528-CIV, 2012 WL 5471793, at *1 (S.D. Fla.
Nov. 9, 2012) (Scola, J.) (quoting Feldman v. Flood, 176 F.R.D. 651, 652–53
(M.D.Fla.1997)). And if the motion to dismiss is granted in its entirety, which at
this preliminary stage appears likely, the need for discovery in this proceeding
will be eliminated. Further, the Plaintiff’s objection to the stay based on the
current lack of discovery in this case is not viable in light of her recently filed
discovery motion wherein she advises that “discovery has just begun.” (ECF No.
The Court thus finds a stay warranted and grants Walmart’s motion to
stay (ECF No. 8). Discovery is therefore stayed until this Court issues its order
on Walmart’s motion to dismiss. If the motion is ultimately denied, discovery
must immediately move forward. The Plaintiff must respond to Walmart’s motion
to dismiss on or before November 4, 2019. Walmart must file its reply, if any,
within seven days of the Plaintiff’s filing of her response.
This brief stay of general discovery, will not cause any prejudice to the
Plaintiff who will be afforded sufficient opportunity to conduct discovery if any of
her claims advance in this Court. The parties must file an amended joint
discovery plan and conference report within seven days if the Court denies any
aspect of Walmart’s motion. While discovery is stayed, the parties shall take no
action except to complete briefing of Walmart’s motion to dismiss or as otherwise
directed by the Court. If either party believes this case should be reopened, that
party may file a motion to reopen the case, indicating the relief sought and why
that request warrants the reopening of the case.
Further the Court denies the Plaintiff’s motion regarding Walmart’s
alleged document destruction (ECF No. 23) without prejudice. If any aspect of
Walmart’s motion to dismiss is ultimately denied, the Plaintiff may refile her
motion to the extent it applies to her individual case.
Done and ordered, at Miami, Florida, on October 10, 2019.
Robert N. Scola, Jr.
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?