Lopez v. Cantex Health Care Centers II, LLC et al
CONSOLIDATED ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO STAY by District Judge Kea W. Riggs RE: 29 Motion to Stay (cab)
Case 1:22-cv-00824-KWR-JMR Document 36 Filed 05/22/23 Page 1 of 4
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
TODD LOPEZ, as Personal Representative
of the wrongful death estate of Don Begay,
Case No. 1:22-cv-822 KWR/JMR
CANTEX HEALTH CARE CENTERS II, LLC,
and FARMINGTON HEALTH CARE CENTERS, LTD CO.
d/b/a CEDAR RIDGE INN,
CONSOLIDATED ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO STAY
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on motions to stay pending appeal the Court’s
consolidated remand order in the following eight wrongful death cases: (1) Lopez v. Cantex Health
Care Centers II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00822 KWR/JMR; (2) Lopez v. Cantex Health Care Centers
II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00824 KWR/JMR; (3) Lopez v. Cantex Health Care Centers II, LLC, et al.,
22-cv-00825 KWR/JMR; (4) Lopez v. Cantex Health Care Centers II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00826
KWR/JMR; (5) Lopez v. Cantex Health Care Centers II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00827 KWR/JMR; (6)
Lopez v. Cantex Health Care Centers II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00831 KWR/JMR; (7) Murphy v.
Cantex Health Care Centers II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00832 KWR/JMR; and (8) Lopez v. Cantex
Health Care Centers II, LLC, et al., 22-cv-00834 KWR/JMR.
The motions seek to stay a consolidated remand order issued in these cases. The motions
appear to be identical or substantially similar. Therefore, the Court finds it appropriate to
consolidate this order on the motions to stay. This consolidated order will be issued in each case.
Case 1:22-cv-00824-KWR-JMR Document 36 Filed 05/22/23 Page 2 of 4
For the reasons stated below, the Court finds the motions to stay are not well taken, and
are therefore DENIED. The Court declines to stay the consolidated remand order pending appeal.
The authority to stay proceedings is “incidental to the power inherent in every court to
control the disposition of causes on its docket.” Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 25455 (1936). Additionally, a district court’s authority to stay a case pending appeal is implied through
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62 and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 8(a). Fed.
Prescription Serv., Inc. v. Am. Pharmaceutical Ass'n, 636 F.2d 755. 760 (D.C. Cir. 1980).
Courts must consider four factors when deciding whether to stay an order pending appeal:
(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that they are likely to succeed on appeal;
(2) whether the stay applicant will be irreparably injured without a stay; (3) whether issuance of a
stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) whether public
interest weighs in favor of granting or denying the stay. Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776
(1987). The Supreme Court has characterized the standard for a stay pending appeal as requiring
a “strong showing” that the applicant is likely to succeed on the merits. Hilton v. Braunskill, 481
U.S. at 776, 107 S.Ct. 2113 (citations omitted); accord Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. at 434, 129 S.Ct.
1749 (requiring a “strong showing” of likelihood of success).
First, the Court finds that Defendants have not made a showing that they are likely to
succeed on appeal. The Court notes that Defendants did not address the Court’s ruling, but only
the Court’s alternative rulings. Defendants did not address whether there was excusable neglect.
Therefore, Defendants have necessarily not made a showing of a likelihood of success on appeal.
Alternatively, Defendants have not shown a likelihood of success on the Court’s alternative rulings
rejecting Defendants’ four asserted bases for jurisdiction. Defendants do not argue the merits or
show a likelihood of success, but assert that they will likely succeed on one of their four asserted
Case 1:22-cv-00824-KWR-JMR Document 36 Filed 05/22/23 Page 3 of 4
bases for jurisdiction. Lopez v. Cantex, 22-cv-822, Doc. 28 at 9 (D.N.M. April 5, 2023)
(Defendants’ emergency motion for stay pending appeal). They appear to rely on chance, asserting
that they will likely win on at least one of their four jurisdictional bases, but do not argue the merits
of these asserted bases of jurisdiction. This factor weighs against issuing a stay.
Second, Defendants assert they will be irreparably harmed if the remand order is not stayed,
as they will be forced to litigate in state court. The Court finds that this does not constitute
irreparable harm. The Court does not believe that Defendants will be harmed by litigating in state
court. See, e.g., Faulkner v. New Mexico Child., Youth & Fams. Dep't, No. CV 15-852 CG/LAM,
2016 WL 9818609, at *4 (D.N.M. Nov. 3, 2016). Defendants suggest that they will be forced to
provide discovery in state court. But if they are successful on appeal and these cases proceed in
federal court, they will likely still have to provide discovery in these cases. Defendants have not
explained how providing discovery in state court would prejudice them. Alternatively, assuming
they were harmed, the harm in question has already occurred, as state court litigation has begun.
Defendants could have mitigated or prevented this alleged harm, but delayed in filing their motion
to stay, allowing the state court proceeding to begin again. Defendants did not request the Court
stay the remand motion during the remand briefing, or immediately file its motion to stay. Rather,
the Court remanded this case on February 24, 2023. Approximately 30 days later, Defendants
appealed the Court’s remand order. Defendants then did not file its motion to stay until April 5,
2023. The stay motion was fully briefed on May 5, 2023, when Defendants filed their reply.
Defendants called its motion an emergency motion, but its delay in filing and briefing the motion
suggests otherwise. Defendants have participated in state court proceedings for discovery and
Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The Court concludes that this factor
does not weigh in favor of a stay.
Case 1:22-cv-00824-KWR-JMR Document 36 Filed 05/22/23 Page 4 of 4
Third, the Court finds that Plaintiffs would be harmed by the delay, and this factor weighs
against Defendants. Plaintiffs would suffer prejudice if this case was stayed possibly for years
during appeal, especially when Defendants have not shown a likelihood of success on appeal. The
Court finds that the stay would significantly prejudice Plaintiffs, and this factor weighs against
issuing a stay.
Finally, the public interest weighs against issuing a stay. “Public policy dictates the timely
conclusion of legal disputes.” Evans v. Bd. of Cnty. Commrs. of Boulder, Colo., 772 F.Supp. 1178,
1181 (D. Colo. 1991). As discussed, granting a stay pending appeal could potentially delay the
resolution of this case for years. Moreover, the public interest favors comity with state courts.
Defendants’ delayed motion to stay essentially requests this Court stay state court proceedings
after they already restarted. It is unclear whether this court has the authority to stay state court
proceedings. Even if it did, the Court finds that comity weighs against staying those proceedings.
This factor weighs against issuing a stay.
The Court finds and concludes that the factors do not weigh in favor of issuing a stay
pending appeal. Therefore, Defendants’ motions to stay pending appeal are DENIED. This order
will be entered in all eight cases listed above.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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