Cox, et al v. The Sampson County Board of Education, et al
ORDER denying 24 Motion to Stay Discovery - Signed by Magistrate Judge William A. Webb on 04/24/2013. (Baker, C.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CLARINDA COX and LIONEL SHAWN COX,
as Parents and Next Friends of J.C., a minor,
THE SAMPSON COUNTY BOARD
OF EDUCATION and TERESA HOLMES,
This cause comes before the Court upon Defendants’ motion to stay discovery in this
case. (DE-24). Plaintiffs oppose the motion to stay. (DE-27). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b), this matter has been referred to the undersigned for decision.
Plaintiffs initiated this action on December 6, 2012 against the Sampson County Board of
Education (“the Board”) and former assistant principal Teresa Holmes (collectively,
“Defendants”). Compl., DE-1. The complaint alleges federal and state claims arising from the
search of J.C., a minor, by Holmes at Union Elementary School in Sampson County on June 1,
2012. See id. Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint for failure to state a
claim. (DE-14, DE-15). These motions to dismiss are not yet ripe for adjudication. Defendants
now ask the Court to stay discovery in this case until the Court issues a ruling on the motions to
Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes a Court to issue orders
limiting or staying discovery:
A court may properly exercise its discretion under Rule 26(c) to stay
discovery pending resolution of dispositive motions. Tilley v. United States, 270
F. Supp. 2d 731, 734 (M.D.N.C. 2003), aff'd, 85 Fed. Appx. 333 (4th Cir. 15 Jan.
2004), cert denied, 543 U.S. 819, 125 S. Ct. 64, 160 L. Ed. 2d 27 (2004). Factors
favoring issuance of a stay include the potential for the dispositive motion to
terminate all the claims in the case or all the claims against particular defendants,
strong support for the dispositive motion on the merits, and irrelevancy of the
discovery at issue to the dispositive motions. See id. at 735; Simpson v. Specialty
Retail Concepts, Inc., 121 F.R.D. 261, 263 (M.D.N.C. 1998). Conversely,
discovery ordinarily should not be stayed when it is necessary to gather facts in
defense of the motion. Tilley, 270 F. Supp. 2d at 734; Simpson, 121 F.R.D. at
Yongo v. Nationwide Affinity Ins. Co. of America, No. 5:07-CV-94-D, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
14684, at *6 (E.D.N.C. Feb. 25, 2008) (footnote omitted). The moving party bears the burden of
showing good cause to grant the motion. See Simpson v. Specialty Retail Concepts, Inc., 121
F.R.D. 261, 263 (M.D.N.C. 1988). “Such motions are not favored because when discovery is
delayed or prolonged it can create case management problems which impede the Court’s
responsibility to expedite discovery and cause unnecessary litigation expenses and problems.” Id.
(citing Kron Medical Corp. v. Groth, 119 F.R.D. 636 (M.D.N.C. 1988)).
Here, the motion to dismiss by Holmes is premised upon her contention that her actions
were reasonable as a matter of law. See Holmes’ Mem. Mot. Dismiss 1, DE-16 (“taking the facts
in the Complaint as true, Defendant Holmes’ actions in searching J.C. on June 1, 2012 were
reasonable and were not in violation of state or federal law”). The motion to dismiss by the
Board argues inter alia that, contrary to the allegations set forth in the complaint, the search did
not occur pursuant to any policy, custom, or practice of the Board. See Board Mem. Mot.
Dismiss 5, DE-18.
Without prejudging the merits of Defendants’ motions to dismiss, they appear to raise at
least some disputed factual issues. Notably, Defendant Board states that the search conducted by
Holmes “contravened the Board’s policy on student searches.” Id. at 8. Whether the search by
Holmes was reasonable, and whether her actions contravened the Board’s policy on student
searches, are factual issues subject to discovery. Discovery ordinarily should not be stayed when
it is necessary to gather facts in defense of the motion. Tilley, 270 F. Supp. 2d at 734; Simpson,
121 F.R.D. at 263. Because Defendants have not met their burden of showing good cause to
indefinitely delay discovery, the motion to stay discovery (DE-24) is DENIED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Raleigh, North Carolina this 24th day of April,
WILLIAM A. WEBB
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?