Hardy v. Georgia Department of Corrections et al
ORDER granting 5 Motion to Stay. All Discovery is stayed pending the resolution of 4 Partial Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps on 1/12/2018. (pts)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
GEORGE W. HARDY,
OF CORRECTIONS, et al.,
Defendants Shepard, West, Young, McGrew, Giddens, and the Georgia Department of
Corrections move to stay discovery pending resolution of their partial motion for judgment on
the pleadings filed December 20, 2017. The Court “has broad inherent power to stay discovery
until preliminary issues can be settled which may be dispositive of some important aspect of
the case.” Feldman v. Flood, 176 F.R.D. 651, 652 (M.D. Fla. 1997). Before deciding to stay
discovery, the Court should:
balance the harm produced by a delay in discovery against the possibility that
the motion will be granted and entirely eliminate the need for such discovery.
This involves weighing the likely costs and burdens of proceeding with
discovery. It may be helpful to take a preliminary peek at the merits of the
allegedly dispositive motion to see if on its face there appears to be an
immediate and clear possibility that it will be granted.
Based on a preliminary peek at the defense motion, the Court finds an immediate and
clear possibility of a ruling that would dismiss some of the claims or could restrict the scope of
discovery. Plaintiff does not contend he cannot respond to the motion for partial judgment on
the pleadings without discovery. Indeed, Plaintiff has not only responded, but has offered
amended pleadings which may result in additional Rule 12 motions.
It makes little sense to forge ahead with full discovery in this context because of the
substantial risk that much time and money could be wasted. Plaintiff contends, in the absence
of discovery, he is unable to know whether additional providers should be named as
Defendants or to know the capacity in which certain Defendants, who have not joined the
partially dispositive motion, treated him. (Doc. no. 8, p. 2.) However, with discovery stayed,
the deadline for amending the pleadings will also be stayed, allowing Plaintiff to address
questions about new or non-moving Defendants once the pending partial motion for judgment
on the pleadings has been resolved.
When balancing the costs and burdens to the parties, the Court concludes discovery should
be stayed pending resolution of the partial motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1367 (11th Cir. 1997) (“Facial challenges
to the legal sufficiency of a claim or defense, such as a motion to dismiss based on failure to
state a claim for relief, should, however, be resolved before discovery begins.” (footnote
omitted)); see also Moore v. Potter, 141 F. App’x 803, 807-08 (11th Cir. 2005) (“[D]elaying a
ruling on the motion to dismiss ‘encourages abusive discovery and, if the court ultimately
dismisses the claim, imposes unnecessary costs. . . . [A]ny legally unsupported claim that
would unduly enlarge the scope of discovery should be eliminated before the discovery stage,
Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ motion, (doc. no. 5), and STAYS all
discovery pending resolution of the partial motion for judgment on the pleadings. Within
fourteen days of the presiding District Judge’s ruling, the remaining parties shall confer and
submit a Rule 26(f) report.
SO ORDERED this 12th day of January, 2018, at Augusta, Georgia.
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