United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. PAUL WEINSTEIN, Plaintiff,
MERITOR, INC., Defendants.
FERENBACH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Meritor, Inc.'s Motion to Stay
Discovery Pending Resolution of Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
22). This order does not decide the motion to dismiss (ECF
No. 23). Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion to stay
(ECF No. 29). And Meritor filed a reply in support of its
motion to stay. (ECF No. 34).
evaluating a motion to stay discovery while a dispositive
motion is pending, the court initially considers the goal of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1. The guiding premise of the
Rules is that the Rules “should be construed and
administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive
determination of every action.” FED. R. CIV. P. 1. It
needs no citation of authority to recognize that discovery is
expensive. The Supreme Court has long mandated that trial
courts should resolve civil matters fairly but without undue
cost. Brown Shoe Co. v. United States, 370 U.S. 294,
306 (1962). This directive is echoed by Rule 26, which
instructs the court to balance the expense of discovery
against its likely benefit. See FED.R.CIV.P.
with the Supreme Court's mandate that trial courts should
balance fairness and cost, the Rules do not provide for
automatic or blanket stays of discovery when a potentially
dispositive motion is pending. Skellerup Indus. Ltd. v.
City of Los Angeles, 163 F.R.D. 598, 600-01 (C.D. Cal.
1995). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1),
“[t]he court may, for good cause, issue an order to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Whether to
grant a stay is within the discretion of the court.
Munoz-Santana v. U.S. I.N.S., 742 F.2d 561, 562 (9th
Cir. 1984). The party seeking the protective order, however,
has the burden “to ‘show good cause' by
demonstrating harm or prejudice that will result from the
discovery.” FED. R. CIV. P. 26(c)(1). Satisfying the
“good cause” obligation is a challenging task. A
party seeking “a stay of discovery carries the heavy
burden of making a ‘strong showing' why discovery
should be denied.” Gray v. First Winthrop
Corp., 133 F.R.D. 39, 40 (N.D.Cal.1990) (citing
Blankenship v. Hearst Corp. 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir.
imposing a stay of discovery pending a motion to dismiss is
permissible if there are no factual issues raised by the
motion to dismiss, discovery is not required to address the
issues raised by the motion to dismiss, and the court is
“convinced” that the plaintiff is unable to state
a claim for relief. Rae v. Union Bank, 725 F.2d 478,
481 (9th Cir. 1984); White v. Am. Tobacco Co., 125
F.R.D. 508 (D. Nev. 1989) (citing Wood v. McEwen,
644 F.2d 797, 801 (9th Cir. 1981) cert. denied, 455 U.S. 942
(1982). Typical situations in which staying discovery pending
a ruling on a dispositive motion are appropriate would be
where the dispositive motion raises issues of jurisdiction,
venue, or immunity. TradeBay, LLC v. Ebay, Inc., 278
F.R.D. 597, 600 (D. Nev. 2011).
in the District of Nevada apply a two-part test when
evaluating whether a discovery stay should be imposed.
Id. (citations omitted). First, the pending motion
must be potentially dispositive of the entire case or at
least the issue on which discovery is sought. Id.
Second, the court must determine whether the pending motion
to dismiss can be decided without additional discovery.
Id. When applying this test, the court must take a
“preliminary peek” at the merits of the pending
dispositive motion to assess whether a stay is warranted.
Id. The purpose of the “preliminary
peek” is not to prejudge the outcome of the motion to
dismiss. Rather, the court's role is to evaluate the
propriety of an order staying or limiting discovery with the
goal of accomplishing the objectives of Rule 1.
Motion to stay is granted on the merits. There is a high
likelihood that the amended complaint will be significantly
limited in scope if not eliminated when the pending motion to
dismiss is decided. After a “preliminary peek" and
in light of the goals of Rule 1 to “secure the just,
speedy, and inexpensive” determination of all cases,
the Court finds that the Motion to Dismiss has merit and may
resolve all issues in controversy and demonstrate good cause
to stay discovery.
and for good cause shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the
Defendant Meritor, Inc.'s Motion to Stay Discovery
Pending Resolution of Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 22) is
hereby GRANTED. In the event resolution of Defendant's
motion to dismiss (ECF No. 23) does not result in the
disposition of this case, the parties must file a new joint
discovery plan within 21 days of the issuance of the order
resolving that motion.
FURTHER ORDERED that a status hearing is scheduled for 10:00