Houston Casualty Company v. Rup
ORDER: 10 Motion for Indefinite Postponement of ENE is DENIED. Signed by District Judge J. Garvan Murtha on 2/21/2017. (kak)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT
HOUSTON CASUALTY COMPANY,
as assignee and/or subrogee of Agri-Mark, Inc., :
RONALD J. RUP, JR.,
File No. 1:16-cv-294-jgm
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Defendant Ronald J. Rup, Jr., an inmate proceeding pro se, moves for an indefinite
postponement of Plaintiff Houston Casualty Company’s civil action against him. (Doc. 10.)
Plaintiff, as assignee and/or subrogee of Agri-Mark, Inc., asserts claims for conversion, unjust
enrichment and constructive trust, fraud, money had and received, and equitable subrogation,
seeking damages of at least $1,550,925.00. Defendant answered the complaint. (Doc. 4.)
The Court previously denied as moot Defendant Rup’s motion to delay Early Neutral
Evaluation (“ENE”) because the case is excused from ENE. See Dkt. Entry Nos. 7, 9. He now
seeks an indefinite postponement of the action until he is released from prison. (Doc. 10 at 1.) He
asserts he “does not have access to the legal means or legal minds he needs to properly represent
and protect himself” as a result of his incarceration. Id. Houston Casualty Company opposes the
motion arguing a stay is not warranted in this case because Rup has not demonstrated the interests
of justice require a stay. (Doc. 12.) Specifically, incarceration alone is not a basis to stay a civil
action, Rup has been able to appear and defend himself in this action, and there is no ongoing
related criminal prosecution. Id. at 3-4. Rup pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced on July
14, 2016. He was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment and restitution of, inter alia, $1,538,425
due to Houston Casualty Company. See Doc. 12-2.
While a district court has “broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power to
control its own docket,” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 701 (1997), the litigant seeking a stay bears
the burden of establishing the need, and must show undue prejudice or interference with
constitutional rights. SEC v. McGinnis, 161 F. Supp. 3d 318, 321 (D. Vt. 2016) (citations omitted).
Factors to be considered include: (1) the extent to which issues in the criminal case overlap with
those of the civil case; (2) the status of the criminal case; (3) the private interests of the plaintiff in
proceeding expeditiously weighed against the prejudice caused by a delay; (4) the private interests of
and burden on the defendant; (5) the interests of the courts; and, (6) the public interest. Louis
Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. LY USA, Inc., 676 F.3d 83, 99 (2d Cir. 2012).
Here, Rup’s incarceration alone is not sufficient reason to delay Plaintiff’s efforts to proceed
with its case. His constitutional rights, most notably his Fifth Amendment rights, are not at issue
because the criminal case against him has concluded. Further, he has shown himself capable of
participating in the action as he has answered the complaint and filed multiple motions. Lastly, the
interests of the courts and public are not served by a stay. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for an
indefinite postponement (Doc. 10) is DENIED.
Dated at Brattleboro, in the District of Vermont, this 21st day of February, 2017.
/s/ J. Garvan Murtha
Honorable J. Garvan Murtha
United States District 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?