United States District Court, D. Nevada
TERRI KNAACK, individually, and as Administrator of the Estate of Joseph Knaack, deceased, ANDREW KNAACK, Plaintiffs,
KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION, INC., KNIGHT REFRIGERATED, LLC, CAROL WALKER, Defendants.
ORDER RE: ECF NOS. 24, 25
WILLIAM G. COBB MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court are two motions of Knight Transportation, Inc.,
Knight Refrigerated, LLC (“Knight”) and Carol
Walker (“Walker”): a Motion for Stay (ECF No. 24)
and a Motion to Shorten Time (ECF No. 25). The Motion to Stay
(ECF No. 24) is denied and the Motion to Shorten Time (ECF
No. 25) is denied as moot.
litigation arises from a motorcycle-tractor trailer accident
which occurred on September 28, 2016, in Lund, Nevada.
Plaintiffs allege Walker was driving the Knight tractor
trailer southbound on State Route 318 and made a left turn
into a truck stop. Plaintiffs' decedent, Joseph Knaack
(“Knaack”) was operating a motorcycle northbound
on the highway and collided with the Knight tractor trailer.
Knaack died as a result of the injuries sustained in the
collision. Plaintiffs aver Walker caused the wrongful death
of Knaack as an alleged consequence of Walker failing to
yield the right of way to the oncoming traffic, i.e.,
addition to the pending civil litigation, on February 7,
2017, Walker was charged with vehicular manslaughter, which
case is pending in Justice Court in White Pine
contend that because of the prosecution, any discovery
“responses can and will be used in the criminal case
filed against Ms. Walker . . .” (Id. at 5).
Defendants therefore request a stay which would be
“enforced up until two weeks post notice of entry of
conviction, judgment and or entry of a plea in the criminal
matter . . . .” (Id.) Because of the apparent time
sensitivity of Defendants' motions, which were filed on
the eve Defendants' discovery responses were due to be
served (ECF No. 24 at 3; ECF No. 24-1), the court has
undertaken an expedited review of Defendants' motions.
predicate for Defendants' motion for stay is that because
of the pending criminal case against Walker, she is entitled
to assert the Fifth Amendment privilege against
self-incrimination in both the criminal and civil
proceedings. (ECF No. 24 at 7, citing Fidelity Bankers
Life Ins. Co. v. Wedco, Inc., 586 F.Supp. 1123, 1125 (D.
Nev. 1984)). Although the motion to stay is made on behalf of
all three Defendants, the privilege against
self-incrimination would apply only to Walker and not the two
corporate Defendants (Knight) which have not been charged
with any crime. The court, therefore, analyzes the request
for stay from the standpoint of Walker.
constitution does not require that civil proceedings be
stayed pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.
Wedco, 586 F.Supp. at 1125; Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ins. Corp. v. Molinaro, 889 F.2d 899, 902 (9th Cir.
1989). As Defendants recognize, whether a stay should be
granted where a criminal prosecution is proceeding against a
Defendant at the same time as a civil case is a decision
within the court's discretion. (ECF No. 24 at 7, citing
United States v. Kordel, 397 U.S. 1, 12 (1970)).
deciding whether to exercise its discretion to stay civil
proceedings, the court must first consider “the extent
to which the defendant's Fifth Amendment rights are
implicated.” Molinaro, 889 F.2d at 902. In
this case, it appears Plaintiffs' discovery has
potentially triggered Walker's possible exercise of her
Fifth Amendment rights in only one discovery document, i.e.,
Plaintiff Terri Knaack's Request for Admission
(Defendants' Exhibit 1, ECF No. 24-1 at 1-4). The other
exhibits referencing Plaintiffs' discovery
(Defendants' Exhibits 2-4, ECF No. 24-2 through 24-4)
pertain to Knight which was not the subject of a criminal
prosecution and is not asserting the Fifth Amendment
privilege. While certain of the admissions Plaintiffs seek
from Walker (but not necessarily all) would seemingly justify
the assertion of the privilege, Defendants do not explain why
at this stage Walker could not assert the privilege in
response to (certain) of the requests, and after the
conclusion of the criminal case, amend her discovery
responses, if necessary.
additional factors have been enunciated by the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals when evaluating a request for a stay under
(1) the interest of the plaintiffs in proceeding
expeditiously with this litigation or any particular aspect
of it, and the potential prejudice to plaintiffs of a delay;
(2) the burden which any particular aspect of the proceedings
may impose on defendants; (3) the convenience of the court in
the management of its cases, and the efficient use of
judicial resources; (4) the interests of persons not parties
to the civil litigation; and (5) the interests of the public
in the pending civil and criminal litigation.
Perez v. Station Casinos, LLC, 2016 WL
8959135 (No. 2-15-cv-01553-JAD-NJK, 2/8/2016), citing
Keating v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 45 F.3d
322, 324 (9th Cir. 1995). Although Judge Koppe in her
analysis of these factors reached the conclusion a stay of
the civil case was warranted in Perez, this court in
applying these factors to the instant matter comes to a
the first Keating factor, while Plaintiffs may have
delayed serving discovery until “seven (7) months after
the filing of their complaint, ” (ECF No. 24 at 9) (the
complaint was filed on March 21, 2017), the docket reflects
Defendants did not answer Plaintiffs' complaint until two
months after the complaint was filed. (ECF No. 9, 5/26/17.)
The Rule 26 conference was conducted approximately three
weeks later on June 14, 2017. (ECF No. 13 at 1.) A Scheduling
Order was entered on June 30, 2017. (Id.) A proposed
Stipulated Confidentiality Order was submitted to the court
on October 2, 2017. (ECF No. 18.) After the court directed
the parties to ...