Woodson v. Lewis
ORDER denying 3 motion to stay. Signed on 5/16/17 by Chief District Judge Greg Kays. (Strodtman, Tracy)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
RALPH E. LEWIS, II,
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO STAY
This case arises from Defendant’s alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692k et seq. Plaintiff alleges Defendant made false statements in
an attempt to collect a debt including misrepresenting the creditor, and improperly including
post-judgment interest in the amount of the debt. See (Doc 1-1). Now before the Court is
Defendant’s Motion for Stay (Doc. 3).
A district court possesses “broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power
to control its own docket.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 707 (1997). The proponent of a stay
bears the burden of establishing the need for it. Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 433-34 (2009). In
determining whether to grant a stay, a court considers a variety of factors, including the movant’s
likelihood of success on the underlying motion; and whether the movant will be irreparably
harmed absent a stay. Id. at 434.
Defendant requests a stay pending Dennis v. Riezman Berger, P.C., No. ED 103904, 2016
WL 5030349 (Mo. Ct. App. Sept. 20, 2016), transfer granted (Jan. 31, 2017), now pending before
the Missouri Supreme Court. Defendant argues Plaintiff’s case is premised all or in part on
whether including post-judgment interest violates the FDCPA and that the decision in Dennis
“may be dispositive” of some or all of Plaintiff’s claims (Doc. 4 at 3). Defendant also argues that
allowing the Missouri Supreme Court to rule on Dennis would avoid potentially conflicting
interpretations of Missouri Revised Statute § 408.040 (Doc. 9 at 2).
In response, Plaintiff states her claims stem from more than just post-judgment interest and
that the issue in Dennis only affects a “single portion” of her claims (Doc. 7 at 1). Plaintiff also
notes a court in the Eastern District of Missouri addressed a similar situation and denied a motion
to say pending Dennis. See Hefley v. J & M Securities, LLC, No. 4:15CV01578 ERW, 2016 WL
7188117 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 12, 2016).
The Court finds the relevant factors weigh against issuing a stay. The Court cannot say
Defendant is likely to prevail on his underlying argument. It is uncertain whether the Missouri
Supreme Court will reverse the Court of Appeals decision in Dennis. Even so, while a reversal in
Dennis could affect Plaintiff’s claims regarding post-judgment interest, this is just one basis for
liability. Plaintiff also claims Defendant violated the FDCPA by misrepresenting the name of the
creditor. Further, Defendant does not state he will be irreparably harmed if the stay is not granted.
Accordingly, the Court holds Defendant has not carried his burden of establishing the need
for a stay. The motion (Doc. 3) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
May 16, 2017
/s/ Greg Kays
GREG KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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