United States District Court, D. Colorado
EMI DUKE, and BRIAN DUKE, natural parents of decedent Allen Duke, a single individual, Plaintiffs,
BOBBY LEHMANN, Defendant.
KATHLEEN M TAFOYA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the court on “Defendant's Motion
for Stay of Proceedings” (Doc. No. 10, filed April 9,
2018). Plaintiffs did not file a response.
seeks a stay of this action pending resolution of a criminal
case in La Plata County, Colorado, District Court, related to
the allegations in this civil action. (See Id. at
2.) “The Constitution does not generally require a stay
of civil proceedings pending the outcome of criminal
proceedings, absent substantial prejudice to a party's
rights.” Creative Consumer Concepts, Inc. v.
Kreisler, 563 F.3d 1070, 1080 (10th Cir. 2009)
(citations omitted); see also Ben Ezra Weinstein &
Co., Inc. v. Am. Online, Inc., 206 F.3d 980, 987 (10th
Cir. 2000) (“[w]hen applying for a stay, a party must
demonstrate a clear case of hardship or inequity”)
(citations and internal quotations omitted). “When
deciding whether the interests of justice seem to require a
stay, the court must consider the extent to which a
party's Fifth Amendment rights are implicated . . . . A
defendant has no absolute right not to be forced to choose
between testifying in a civil matter and asserting his Fifth
Amendment privilege.” Creative Consumer Concepts,
Inc., 563 F.3d at 1080 (citations omitted). “A
district court may also stay a civil proceeding in deference
to a parallel criminal proceeding for other reasons, such as
to prevent either party from taking advantage of broader
civil discovery rights or to prevent the exposure of the
criminal defense strategy to the prosecution.”
Id. at 1080-81.
courts consider the following factors “[w]hen
exercising [their] discretion to stay a case in light of
pending criminal matters”:
(1) the extent to which the issues in the criminal case
overlap with those presented in the civil case; (2) the
status of the [criminal] case, including whether the
defendants have been indicted; (3) the private interests of
the plaintiffs in proceeding expeditiously weighed against
the prejudice to plaintiffs caused by the delay; (4) the
private interests of and burden on the defendants; (5) the
interests of the courts; and (6) the public interest.
Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Next Generation Energy, LLC,
No. 14-cv-01580-REB-KLM, 2014 WL 7251678 at *2 (D. Colo. Dec.
19, 2014) (quoting In re CFS-Related Securities Fraud
Litigation, 256 F.Supp.2d 1227, 1236-37 (N.D. Okla.
2003)); see also Brancato v. Panio, No.
12-cv-02338-MSK-MEH, 2012 WL 6137472, at *2-*3 (D. Colo. Dec.
7, 2012) (weighing the same factors as set forth in U.S.
S.E.C. v. Trujillo, No. 09-cv-00403-MSK-KMT, 2010 WL
2232388, at *2 (D. Colo. Jun. 1, 2010)).
court finds the first factor weighs in favor of a stay. The
first factor focuses on the question of “overlap”
to determine whether the defendant's Fifth Amendment
rights are or may be implicated. The court finds that the
criminal charge of Careless Driving Causing Death overlaps
with the allegations in this action. Thus, the court finds
the criminal and civil actions here to be parallel for
purposes of determining whether Defendant's Fifth
Amendment rights are implicated. See Creative Consumer
Concepts, Inc., 563 F.3d at 1080 (upholding a district
court's denial of a motion to stay civil proceedings
pending a “parallel” criminal matter, finding
“there was limited overlap between the issues and
evidence in the civil and criminal trials”).
the second factor, it is not disputed that the State of
Colorado has filed a criminal complaint against Defendant and
that the trial of the criminal matter is currently set for
August 16, 2018. Thus, this factor also weighs heavily in
favor of granting a stay.
the third and fourth factors, the court recognizes Plaintiffs
have an interest in the “expeditious resolution”
of their case. Trustees of the Plumbers and Pipefitters
Nat'l Pension Fund v. Transworld Mechanical, Inc.,
886 F.Supp. 1134, 1134 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). However, Plaintiffs
apparently do not oppose the motion for a stay of this action
pending resolution of the criminal proceedings, and Defendant
has a significant interest in “avoiding the quandary of
choosing between waiving their Fifth Amendment rights or
effectively forfeiting the civil case.”
Transworld, 886 F.Supp. at 1140. This important
interest outweighs Plaintiffs' “legitimate interest
in the expeditious resolution of their case.”
fifth and sixth factors do not weigh strongly either for or
against a stay. On the one hand, “[t]he Court has a
strong interest in keeping litigation moving to conclusion
without unnecessary delay.” In re CFS, 256
F.Supp.2d at 1241. On the other hand, resolution of the
criminal case may (1) increase the possibility of settlement
of the civil case, and (2) “may reduce the scope of
discovery in the civil case [as] the evidence gathered during
the criminal prosecution can later be used in the civil
action.” Transworld, 886 F.Supp. at 1140.
Additionally, “[b]ecause of the overlapping issues in
the criminal and civil cases, the criminal prosecution will
serve to advance the public interests at stake here.”
Volmar Distributors, Inc. v. The New York Post Co.,
Inc., 152 F.R.D. 36, 40 (S.D.N.Y.1993).
of all six factors reveals that they weigh in favor of
imposing a stay of the civil proceedings of this matter
against Defendant pending resolution of his criminal case.
Therefore, it is
that “Defendant's Motion for Stay of
Proceedings” (Doc. No. 10) is GRANTED.
This action is STAYED in its entirety
pending resolution of the criminal proceedings against
Defendant Lehmann. Defendant shall file quarterly status
reports, beginning June 30, 2018, and continuing ...