United States District Court, D. Colorado
Kathleen M Tafoya United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the court on Defendant's “Motion
to Stay Disclosure and Discovery Pending Court's
Determination of Personal Jurisdiction” (Doc. No. 18,
filed November 3, 2017) and “Motion for Protective
Order” (Doc. No. 19, filed November 3, 2017). Defendant
filed its combined response on November 10, 2017 (Doc. No.
26), and Defendant filed its combined reply on November 15,
2017 (Doc. No. 31).
brings this lawsuit against the defendant alleging
negligence, gross negligence, breach of contract, fraud, and
other allegedly unlawful conduct by the defendant in
connection with services rendered by the defendant to the
plaintiff at an oil and gas well known as the Shannon 4H
well, in McMullen County, Texas. (See generally Doc.
No. 1.) Defendant has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) or, in the alternative,
to transfer this action to the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas. (Doc. No. 17.) Defendant
now moves for a stay of discovery and for a protective order
relieving it of the need to respond to discovery requests
propounded by the plaintiff pending a ruling on the motion to
dismiss. (Doc. No. 31.)
motion to stay discovery pending determination of a
dispositive motion is an appropriate exercise of this
court's discretion. Landis v. North American
Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-255 (1936). The power to stay
proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every
court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket
with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and
for litigants. How this can best be done calls for the
exercise of judgment, which must weigh competing interests
and maintain an even balance. Kansas City S. Ry. Co. v.
United States, 282 U.S. 760, 763 (1931).
underlying principle governing whether to grant or deny a
stay is that “[t]he right to proceed in court should
not be denied except under the most extreme circumstances.
Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Chilcott
Portfolio Mgmt., Inc., 713 F.2d 1477, 1484 (10th Cir.
1983) (quoting Klein v. Adams & Peck, 436 F.2d
337, 339 (2d Cir.1971)). In other words, stays of the normal
proceedings of a court matter should be the exception rather
than the rule. As a result, stays of all discovery are
generally disfavored in this District. Chavez v. Young
Am. Ins. Co., No. 06-cv-02419-PSF-BNB, No. 2007 WL
683973, at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 2, 2007) (citation omitted).
“a court may decide that in a particular case it would
be wise to stay discovery on the merits until [certain
challenges] have been resolved.” 8A Charles Alan
Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Richard L. Marcus, Federal
Practice and Procedure § 2040, at 198 (3d ed.2010).
Courts have routinely recognized that discovery may be
inappropriate where the court's jurisdiction is at issue.
Gilbert v. Ferry, 401 F.3d 411, 415-16 (6th Cir.
2005) (finding stay permissible pending ruling on a
dispositive motion asserting a jurisdictional issue);
Democratic Republic of Congo v. FG Hemisphere Assocs.,
LLC, 508 F.3d 1062, 1064 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (noting that
the reason jurisdictional defenses should be raised at the
outset is to avoid unnecessary litigation).
considering a stay of discovery, this court has considered
the following factors: (1) the plaintiff's interests in
proceeding expeditiously with the civil action and the
potential prejudice to plaintiff of a delay; (2) the burden
on the defendants; (3) the convenience to the court; (4) the
interests of persons not parties to the civil litigation; and
(5) the public interest. String Cheese Incident,
LLC v. Stylus Shows, Inc., No. 02-cv-01934-LTB-PA,
2006 WL 894955, at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 30, 2006) (citing
FDIC v. Renda, No. 85-2216-O, 1987 WL 348635, at *2
(D. Kan. Aug. 6, 1987)).
to the String Cheese Incident factors, the court
acknowledges that Plaintiff has an interest in proceeding
expeditiously with this case. However, the court finds that
this interest is overcome by the burden Defendant might face
if it were forced to proceed with discovery only to have the
case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Cf. String
Cheese, 2006 WL 894955, at *2 (finding “that
subjecting a party to discovery when a motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction is pending may subject him to
undue burden or expense, particularly if the motion to
dismiss is later granted.”). Plaintiff argues that by
seeking, as alternative relief, transfer of this case to the
Southern District of Texas, it “implicity concedes that
this action will proceed elsewhere, regardless of the outcome
of [the motion to dismiss.]” (Doc. No. 26 at 5.)
However, the decision to transfer venue lies in the sole
discretion of the district court and should be based on an
“individualized, case-by-case consideration of
convenience and fairness.” Stewart Org.,
Inc. v. Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988)
(internal quotation marks omitted). This court declines to
speculate as to whether District Judge Brimmer will dismiss
the case without prejudice or transfer the case to the
Southern District of Texas.
court finds its own convenience also favors a stay, as any
inconvenience in rescheduling the docket is outweighed by the
potential waste of judicial resources if discovery were to
proceed in the absence of jurisdiction. Chavous v. D.C.
Fin. Responsibility & Mgmt. Assistance Auth., 201
F.R.D. 1, 2 (D.D.C. 2005) (“A stay of discovery pending
the determination of a dispositive motion is an eminently
logical means to prevent wasting the time and effort of all
concerned, and to make the most efficient use of judicial
resources.”) (internal quotation omitted). Finally, the
interests of non-parties and the public do not prompt the
court to reach a different result.
balanced the five String Cheese factors, the court
finds that a stay of discovery is appropriate.
that the “Motion to Stay Disclosure and Discovery
Pending Court's Determination of Personal
Jurisdiction” (Doc. No. 18, filed November 3, 2017) and
the “Motion for Protective Order” (Doc. No. 19)
are GRANTED. All discovery in this matter is
hereby STAYED pending ruling on the motion
to dismiss. The parties shall file a joint status report