Kennedy v. Austin
ORDER terminating re 12 Motion to Dismiss; granting re 17 Consent MOTION to Stay Discovery. All deadlines in this case are STAYED pending disposition of the re 16 Motion to Dismiss. Upon the District Judges disposition of the Motion to Dismiss, the Clerk is DIRECTED to lift the stay. If the case remains pending after the disposition of the Motion to Dismiss, the parties are DIRECTED to confer and submit a Rule 26(f) Report no later than fourteen days from the date of the District Judges Order disposing of the Motion. Signed by Magistrate Judge Christopher L. Ray on 5/9/22. (loh)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
LLOYD J. AUSTIN, III,
After Defendant Lloyd J. Austin, III filed a motion to dismiss
Plaintiff Jamie Kennedy’s original Complaint, doc. 12, and a consent
motion seeking a stay of the discovery deadlines, doc. 13, Plaintiff filed
an Amended Complaint. Doc. 14. The Court directed the parties to
submit a Rule 26(f) Report by May 27, 2022, and stayed all deadlines
pending issuance of a scheduling order.
Doc. 15 at 1-2.
subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint,
doc. 16, and a consent motion seeking a stay of all discovery deadlines
pending disposition of that motion, doc. 17. For the following reasons,
the consent stay request is GRANTED. Doc. 17.
A court has “broad discretion” in determining whether to grant a
stay of discovery. Rivas v. The Bank of New York Mellon, 676 F. App’x
926, 932 (11th Cir. 2017). The Eleventh Circuit has recognized that it is
appropriate for the Court dispose of “[f]acial 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,” before the parties engage in costly and
potentially unnecessary discovery. Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp.,
123 F.3d 1353, 1367-68 (11th Cir. 1997).
When “deciding whether to stay discovery pending resolution of a
pending motion, the Court inevitably must 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.”
Frederica, LLC v. Glynn Cnty., 2015 WL 5242830, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Sept.
8, 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Feldman v. Flood,
176 F.R.D. 651, 652 (M.D. Fla. 1997)). In evaluating stays of discovery
pending resolution of dispositive motions, “a court must take a
‘preliminary peek’ . . . to assess the likelihood that the motion will be
granted.” Taylor v. Jackson, 2017 WL 71654, at *1 n.2 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 6,
2017) (quoting Sams v. GA West Gate, LLC, 2016 WL 3339764, at *6 (S.D.
Ga. June 10, 2016)). “[A] stay should be granted only where the motion
to dismiss appears, upon preliminary review, to be clearly meritorious
and truly case dispositive.” Sams, 2016 WL 3339764 at *6. “[A] request
to stay discovery pending a resolution of a motion is rarely appropriate
unless resolution of the motion will dispose of the entire case.” CSX
Transp., Inc. v. United States, 2014 WL 11429178, at *1 (S.D. Ga. May
30, 2014) (citing Feldman, 176 F.R.D. at 652).
Plaintiff consents to the stay request, see doc. 17 at 1, and she does
not indicate that she would be prejudiced by a stay.
preliminary review, the Motion to Dismiss does not appear to be
meritless. See doc. 16; see also Arriaga-Zacarias v. Lewis Taylor Farms,
Inc., 2008 WL 4544470, at *2 (M.D. Ga. Oct. 10, 2008) (granting a stay of
discovery deadlines when a motion to dismiss is not “meritless on its
face”). Additionally, a ruling on the motion to dismiss would be casedispositive. See doc. 16. On balance, then, a stay is appropriate.
Defendant’s Consent Motion to Stay Discovery is GRANTED, doc.
17, and all deadlines in this case are STAYED pending disposition of the
Motion to Dismiss, doc. 16. Upon the District Judge’s disposition of the
Motion to Dismiss, the Clerk is DIRECTED to lift the stay. If the case
remains pending after the disposition of the Motion to Dismiss, the
parties are DIRECTED to confer and submit a Rule 26(f) Report no later
than fourteen days from the date of the District Judge’s Order disposing
of the Motion. Finally, since Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, doc. 14,
supersedes the original Complaint, doc. 1; see Tondalo v. Pro Disposal,
LLC, 2022 WL 1407921, at *1 (S.D. Ga. May 4, 2022), Defendant’s motion
to dismiss the original Complaint is TERMINATED as moot. Doc. 12.
SO ORDERED, this 9th day of May, 2022.
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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