United States District Court, D. Colorado
VIVA REALTY GROUP & INVESTMENTS LLC, a Colorado corporation, Plaintiff,
AUTO-OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY, a Michigan corporation, Defendant.
ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
Y. Wang United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the court on the Parties' Joint
Motion to Stay Proceedings and Vacate Scheduling Conference
(the “Motion”), filed October 2, 2018. [#18]. The
undersigned considers the Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b) and the Memorandum dated October 2, 2018 [#19]. Having
considered the Motion, the applicable law, and the entire
docket, this court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN
PART the Motion and respectfully
RECOMMENDS that the presiding judge, the
Honorable Christine M. Arguello, administratively close this
matter subject to reopening for good cause.
Viva Realty Group and Investments LLC
(“Plaintiff”) initiated this matter on July 27,
2018. [#1]. Plaintiff asserts claims against Defendant
Auto-Owners Insurance Company (“Defendant”) for
breach of contract, violations of Colo. Rev. Stat.
§§ 10-3-1115, -1116 for unreasonable denial or
delay of payment of insurance benefits, and breach of the
appraisal provision of an insurance contract. [#7]. The
dispute between the Parties stems from hail damage sustained
to a property owned by Plaintiff and Plaintiff's
insurance claim for the value of repairs made to the property
due to the hail damage. See generally
this matter was directly assigned to the undersigned pursuant
to D.C.COLO.LCivR 40.1(c). This court issued an Order to Show
Cause as to why this matter should not be dismissed for want
of federal subject matter jurisdiction, given that Plaintiff
did not identify the citizenship of its LLC-members.
See [#6]. Once satisfied that diversity jurisdiction
existed, this court set the Parties for an October 17, 2018
Scheduling Conference. See [#10]. The Parties then
filed their non-consent to the exercise of jurisdiction by a
magistrate judge, and this matter was redrawn to Judge
Arguello [#14; #16] who has since referred this matter to the
undersigned magistrate judge for pretrial purposes,
Parties now seek to vacate the October 17 Scheduling
Conference and to stay this action because they have agreed
to proceed with the appraisal process contemplated by the
underlying insurance contract despite Defendant's
previous denial of Plaintiff's demand for appraisal.
See [#18 at 1-2]; see also [#7 at
¶¶ 35-38]. The Parties suggest that the appraisal
process should resolve the breach of contract claim and, at
the least, will limit the scope of the issues in this matter
if not resolve the matter entirely. [#18 at 2]. Hence the
Parties' request for a stay in the interim.
to stay a matter is left to the sound discretion of the trial
court. Wang v. Hsu, 919 F.2d 130, 130 (10th Cir.
1990); Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55
(1936) (recognizing that the power to stay “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.” (citing Kansas City S. Ry. Co. v.
United States, 282 U.S. 760, 763 (1931))). Although
courts in this District generally disfavor stays, a stay may
be appropriate under the circumstances. See Wason Ranch
Corporation v. Hecla Mining Co., No.
07-cv-00267-EWN-MEH, 2007 WL 1655362, at *1 (D. Colo. June 6,
2007). In determining the prudence of a stay, courts weigh
the following factors: (1) the plaintiff's interests in
expeditiously litigating this 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. 1:02-CV-01934-LTB-PAC, 2006 WL
894955, at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 30, 2006).
administrative closure pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCivR 41.2 may be
appropriate when a case would otherwise be stayed for an
indefinite amount of time, subject to reopening for good
cause. See, e.g., Mauchlin v. Zhon, No.
12-cv-01449-RM-BNB, 2015 WL 479042, at *1 (D. Colo. Feb. 3,
2015) (administratively closing case “subject to
reopening for good cause subsequent to Plaintiff's vision
problems being addressed”). Indeed, administrative
closure is construed as “the practical equivalent of a
stay.” Quinn v. CGR, 828 F.2d 1463, 1465 n.2
(10th Cir. 1987). And it is a way for the court to manage its
docket by “shelv[ing] pending, but dormant,
cases” without a final adjudication. See Lehman
v. Revolution Portfolio LLC, 166 F.3d 389, 392 (1st Cir.
this court agrees that vacating the October 17 Scheduling
Conference is warranted under the circumstances. Thus, this
court GRANTS the Motion in this regard.
given that the Parties do not represent when the appraisal
process will commence or conclude, this court believes an
indefinite stay of this matter is unwarranted. Rather, this
court concludes that administrative closure of this matter
subject to reopening for good cause is the more efficient
course of action-one that will preserve judicial resources.
See Patterson v. Santini, 631 Fed.Appx. 531, 534
(10th Cir. 2015) (“In the District of Colorado, a
district court ‘may order the clerk to close a civil
action administratively subject to reopening for good
cause.' D. Colo. Civ. R. 41.2. Therefore, in the District
of Colorado, a party seeking to reopen a case that has been
administratively closed must demonstrate good cause. But
courts have not viewed this good cause standard as an onerous
one. Instead, good cause to reopen a case exists where
“‘the parties wish to litigate the remaining
issues that have become ripe for review.'”).
“Indeed, courts in this District have recognized that
an administrative stay may be appropriate where the parties
are directed to, or agree to participate in, a process by
which independent appraisers will determine any unpaid amount
of loss.” Robinwood Condo. Ass'n, Inc. v.
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London, No.
16-CV-01576-WJM-NYW, 2016 WL 9344075, at *1 (D. Colo. Aug. 8,
2016) (citation omitted). Accordingly, this court
respectfully RECOMMENDS that this matter be
administratively closed, subject to reopening for good cause
under D.C.COLO.LCivR 41.2, pending the outcome of the
reasons stated herein, the court ORDERS
(1) The Parties' Motion [#18] is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART, and the October 17, 2018