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Rosetto v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 24, 2014

WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE, et al., Defendants.


C. W. HOFFMAN, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery (#14), filed February 28, 2014. The motion is unopposed.

Citing the strength and likelihood of success of its motion to dismiss (#4), Defendants Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. request that the Court stay discovery until the motion to dismiss is resolved. This motion to stay is unopposed.[1] Pursuant to Local Rule 7-2(d), "[t]he failure of an opposing party to file points and authorities in response to any motion shall constitute a consent to the granting of the motion." In addition to being unopposed, the undersigned has reviewed the underlying motion to dismiss and finds the necessary grounds upon which a stay may issue are satisfied.

Courts have broad discretionary power to control discovery including the decision to allow or deny discovery. See e.g., Little v. City of Seattle, 863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988). An overly lenient standard for granting a motion to stay would result in unnecessary delay in many cases. That discovery may involve inconvenience and expense is not sufficient to support a stay of discovery. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Tracinda Corp., 175 F.R.D. 554, 556 (D. Nev. 1997).[2] Rather, a stay of discovery should only be ordered if the court is convinced that a plaintiff will be unable to state a claim for relief. See Tradebay, LLC v. eBay, Inc., 278 F.R.D. 597, 603 (D. Nev. 2011); see also Wood v. McEwen, 644 F.2d 797, 801 (9th Cir. 1981) ( per curiam ). Ultimately, the party seeking the stay "carries the heavy burden of making a strong showing' why discovery should be denied." Id. (citing Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir.1975)).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for automatic or blanket stays of discovery when a potentially dispositive motion is pending. Skellercup Indus. Ltd. V. City of L.A., 163 F.R.D. 598, 600-01 (C.D. Cal 1995) (finding that a stay of discovery is directly at odds with the need for expeditious resolution of litigation). Ordinarily a pending dispositive motion is not "a situation that in and of itself would warrant a stay of discovery." See Turner, 175 F.R.D. at 555-56 ( quoting Twin City Fire Ins. v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 124 F.R.D. 652, 653 (D.Nev. 1989)). To establish good cause for a stay, the moving party must show more than an apparently meritorious Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Id. On the other hand, the Ninth Circuit has held that under certain circumstances, a district court abuses its discretion if it prevents a party from conducting discovery relevant to a potentially dispositive motion. See, e.g., Alaska Cargo Transport, Inc. v. Alaska R.R., Corp., 5 F.3d 378, 383 (9th Cir. 1993) (stating the district court would have abused its discretion in staying discovery if the discovery was relevant to whether or not the court had subject matter jurisdiction); Jarvis v. Regan, 833 F.2d 149, 155 (9th Cir. 1987) (holding district court did not abuse its discretion in denying discovery when the complaint did not raise factual issues requiring discovery to resolve); Kamm v. Cal. City Dev. Co., 509 F.2d 205, 210 (9th Cir. 1975) (holding the propriety of a class action cannot be determined in some cases without discovery, and to deny discovery in such cases is an abuse of discretion); Doninger v. P. Nw. Bell, Inc., 564 F.2d 1304, 1313 (9th Cir. 1977) (stating that the better and more advisable practice is for the district court to allow litigants an opportunity to present evidence concerning whether a class action is maintainable, and such an opportunity requires "enough discovery to obtain the material").

In evaluating the propriety of an order staying or limiting discovery while a dispositive motion is pending, this Court considers the goal of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1, which provides that the Rules shall "be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action." Id. Discovery is expensive. This Court is persuaded that the standard enunciated by Judges Reed and Hunt in Twin City, 124 F.R.D. 652, and Turner, 175 F.R.D. 554, should apply in evaluating whether a stay of discovery is appropriate while a dispositive motion is pending. With Rule 1 as its prime directive, this court must decide whether it is more just to move the parties along in discovery while a dispositive motion is pending or to delay discovery to accomplish the inexpensive determination of the case.

Defendants have made the necessary to showing to support the requested stay. Plaintiff has not opposed either the motion to dismiss or the motion stay. Thus, there is no indication that the issues in the pending dispositive motion require discovery. In conducting a "preliminary peek" the undersigned believes that the likelihood of success on the motion to dismiss is high and most, if not all, of the claims will be resolved upon disposition of the dispositive motion. This is a case where a temporary stay of discovery will further the goals of judicial economy and control of the Court's docket. Accordingly,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery (#14) is granted.

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