Routh v. Johnson et al
ORDER by Chief Magistrate Judge Karen B. Molzen denying 68 Defendant Torres' Motion for Order to Show Cause to Enforce Order Granting Motion to Stay Discovery and to Sanction Plaintiff and Her Attorneys for Contempt for Violating the Court's Discovery Stay Order and granting 71 Plaintiff's Motion for the Magistrate to Clarify her Order Staying Discovery. (am)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
CIV 16-0797 MV/KBM
ANDREA CHARLEEN JOHNSON,
KRISTOPHER DALE KATSCH,
CARL CARMELL ELERGY,
FRED MORALES a/k/a Frederico Marvin Torres,
in his official and personal capacity,
in his official and personal capacity,
PEDRO CHAVEZ, in his official and personal capacity,
THIS MATTER came before the Court for a status conference on July 18,
2017. Having heard the arguments of counsel as to Defendant Torres’ Motion for
Order to Show Cause to Enforce Order Granting Motion to Stay Discovery and to
Sanction Plaintiff and Her Attorneys for Contempt for Violating the Court’s
Discovery Stay Order (Doc. 68) and as to Plaintiff’s Motion for the Magistrate to
Clarify her Order Staying Discovery (Doc. 71), the Court provided at that status
conference its rulings and rationale, which it incorporates herein.
In his motion for an order to show cause, Defendant Fred Morales a/k/a
Federico Marvin Torres (“Defendant Torres”) argues that Plaintiff’s unilateral
initiation of arbitration proceedings “willfully” and in “bad faith” violated the Court’s
August 31, 2016 Order Staying Discovery and “the precepts underlying the
qualified immunity defense.” Doc. 68 at 4. He insists that there should be no
arbitration proceeding running parallel to the proceedings in this Court and that
Plaintiff has “persisted in pursuing discovery through an arbitration proceeding.”
Id. at 6.
In response, Plaintiff maintains that she did not violate the Court’s
discovery order by initiating an arbitration proceeding as to her dispute with
Defendant Torres, as she does not require discovery for purposes of arbitration.
Id. at 3. She emphasizes that Defendant Torres has not asserted qualified
immunity and that Defendants Ben Martinez and Pedro Chavez, the parties who
did move to dismiss on the basis of qualified immunity, are not subject to
arbitration. Id. at 1. She also notes that Defendant Torres himself moved to
compel arbitration in this case and suggests that he is therefore “bound to
arbitrate.” Id. at 6.
Relatedly, in her motion for clarification, Plaintiff asks the Court to clarify
whether its August 31, 2016 Order Granting Motion to Stay Discovery “includes a
stay of AAA proceedings between Torres and Plaintiff” and whether it allows the
court “discretion to narrowly tailor any discovery Torres may request.” Doc. 71 at
First, as stated at the July 18, 2017 status conference, the Court will grant
Plaintiff’s motion for clarification, and will clarify that its August 31, 2016 Order
stays discovery as to the federal proceedings currently pending before this Court.
Further, the Court does not authorize any limited discovery in these federal
proceedings in the absence of a live controversy (i.e. a motion by a party).
Second, given that the Court’s discovery stay was calculated to protect the
Defendants who had asserted a qualified immunity defense and that Defendant
Torres’ Motion to Compel Arbitration (Doc. 27) was pending with the Court at the
time Plaintiff initiated arbitration proceedings, the Court is not persuaded that
Plaintiff violated the discovery stay by initiating arbitration proceedings. Under
these circumstances, the Court will deny Defendant Torres’ motion for an order
to show cause and will decline to sanction Plaintiff or her attorneys for initiating
arbitration proceedings while the discovery stay was in place.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
UNITED STATES CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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