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Estate of Dixon v. Board of County Commissioners of Crowley County

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 9, 2017

The ESTATE OF TIMOTHY SCOTT DIXON, S.A.D., minor child, by and through his guardian and next friend Starla LeRoux, and CODY DIXON, Plaintiffs,
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF CROWLEY COUNTY, CROWLEY COUNTY COLORADO SHERIFFS OFFICE, MILES CLARK, in his individual capacity, MARK MORLOCK, in his individual capacity, JAMES BUTLER, in his individual capacity, and ALACIA JACOBS, in her individual capacity, Defendants.


          Nina Y. Wang Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the court on three pending motions:

(1) Plaintiffs The Estate of Timothy Scott Dixon, S.A.D., a minor child, and Cody N. Dixon's (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) Motion to Reopen Case [#144, filed May 8, 2017];
(2) Plaintiffs' Motion For Stay Pending Appeal [#145, filed May 8, 2017]; and
(3) Plaintiffs' Corrected Motion For Stay Pending Appeal (the “Corrected Motion to Stay”) [#147, filed May 9, 2017].

         These motions are before the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and the Order of Reference dated March 11, 2016 [#62]. This court originally ordered Defendants to respond to the Motion For Stay Pending Appeal [#145] and Corrected Motion to Stay [#147] no later than the close of business on May 10, 2017, but having reviewed the Corrected Motion to Stay, the court has concluded that further briefing and oral argument would not materially assist in the disposition of the matter and it is in the interests of justice to expedite its ruling. Local Rule 7.1(d) provides that a judicial officer may rule on a motion at any time after it is filed. D.C.COLO.LCivR 7.1(d). Accordingly, after carefully considering the motions and associated briefing, the entire case file, the applicable case law, the court hereby DENIES the motions for the reasons stated herein.


         The court has discussed in detail this action's background in previous rulings, see, e.g., [#107; #136], and discusses it here only as it pertains to the pending motions. On April 18, 2017, the court issued its Memorandum Opinion and Order (“Order) granting in part and denying in part Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. [#136]. The court held that Defendants Clark, Butler, and Morlock were entitled to qualified immunity on Claim II, because Plaintiffs failed to argue the clearly established prong of the qualified immunity analysis-Plaintiffs' burden on summary judgment, and that the court's ruling on the motion to dismiss did not excuse Plaintiffs from addressing that prong of the qualified immunity analysis. [Id. at 20-21]. In addition, the court held that Plaintiffs failed to create a triable issue of fact as to Claims III, IV, and V, and entered summary judgment in favor of the County Defendants. [Id. at 22-28]. Lastly, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' state-law claims, Claims VI and VII, given its dismissal of Plaintiffs' federal law claims. [Id. at 28]. On April 19, 2017, the Clerk of the Court entered Final Judgment in favor of the County Defendants on Claims II, III, IV, and V, and in favor of the Individual Defendants on Claim II, pursuant to the court's Order. See [#137]. The entry of Final Judgment closed this case.

         On April 28, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the a Motion to Reconsider, requesting that the court reconsider and vacate its Order and vacate the Final Judgment, while also denying Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. [#138]. Then, on May 1, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Reopen, Motion to Stay, and Motion to Expedite Briefing. See [#139; #140; #141]. Plaintiffs sought to reopen the case, presumably because the docket now reflects it is “terminated” so that this court would reconsider its ruling on summary judgment; to stay the execution of the judgment pending their Motion to Reconsider; and to expedite briefing related to the Motion to Reconsider. By its Order dated May 3, 2017, the court denied Plaintiffs' motions. See [#142].

         Following the court's denial of Plaintiffs' motions, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal on May 8, 2017. [#143]. On the same day, Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Reopen and Motion For Stay Pending Appeal. [#144; #145]. On May 9, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Corrected Motion to Stay, requesting that the court stay its execution of the Final Judgment pending Plaintiffs' appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (“Tenth Circuit”). [#147]. Plaintiffs request a stay to avoid filing their pendent state-law claims in state court while their appeal is pending before the Tenth Circuit. [Id. at 4-5]. Specifically, Plaintiffs maintain that a stay of this court's Final Judgment will insulate their state-law claims from the applicable state statutes of limitation. [Id. at 4]. The court considers the motions below.


         I. Motion to Reopen

         First, Plaintiffs request that the court reopen their case for good cause shown. [#144]. Plaintiffs appear to take issue with the closing of their case pursuant to the entry of Final Judgment, arguing that there is no order on the docket closing the case, nor did Plaintiffs receive any such order. [Id. at 2]. Plaintiffs argue that the court should reopen this case in order to rule on their Motion to Stay. [Id.]. Because Plaintiffs misapprehend the “termination” of the case, the Motion to Reopen is DENIED.

         In support of their argument to reopen this case for good cause shown, Plaintiffs cite Frederick v. Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company for the proposition that good cause exists to reopen a case where a party seeks a determination of their rights and claims. No. 11-CV-02306-RM-KLM, 2015 WL 1499662, at *1 (D. Colo. Mar. 27, 2015). However, Frederick is inapposite. The parties in Frederick moved to administratively close the matter pursuant to Rule 41.2 of the Local Rules of Civil Practice, which is subject to reopening for good cause. Id. (quoting D.C.COLO.LCivR. 41.2). Here, neither the Parties, nor the court ordered this matter administratively closed; rather, the case terminated upon the Clerk's entry of Final Judgment, see Utah v. Norton, 396 F.3d 1281, 1286 (10th Cir. 2005) (“A final judgment is one that terminates all matters as to all parties and causes of ...

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