United States District Court, D. Kansas
JED R. CLAASSEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
MONSANTO CO., et al., Defendants.
P. O'HARA U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jed R. Claassen, individually and as a representative of what
he refers to as “Claassen Farms, ” filed this
putative, nationwide, class-action lawsuit alleging
defendants “jointly collaborated to develop and release
a defective and unreasonably dangerous
‘dicamba-tolerant [crop] system, ' which has
directly resulted in massive harm to crops in Kansas,
Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and other
states.” Currently before the undersigned U.S.
Magistrate Judge, James P. O'Hara, is defendants'
motion to stay discovery (ECF No. 38) pending the court's
rulings on motions to dismiss the complaint filed by BASF
Corporation and BASF Plant Science LP,  and separately by
Monsanto Company. Because the court finds no reason to stray
from the general rule that discovery is not stayed simply
because a dispositive motion has been filed, the motion to
stay is denied.
decision whether to stay discovery rests in the sound
discretion of the court. The Tenth Circuit has stated, however,
that “‘the right to proceeding in court should
not be denied except under the most extreme
circumstances.'” Thus, as a general rule, discovery is
not stayed in this district based merely on the pendency of
dispositive motions. The court has recognized that there may be
exceptions to this rule, such as where (1) the case is likely
to be finally concluded via a dispositive motion, (2) the
facts sought through discovery would not affect the
resolution of the dispositive motion, or (3) discovery on all
issues posed by the complaint would be wasteful and
court does not find this to be one of the rare instances in
which staying discovery is justified. Considering the first
exception, the undersigned has reviewed the motions to
dismiss and their accompanying briefs, and cannot say that
this action is likely to be concluded via a ruling
on the motions. Although defendants direct the court to a
dicamba case pending in the Eastern District of Missouri in
support of their arguments that plaintiff's claims will
be dismissed,  plaintiff cites rulings in a separate
dicamba case also pending in the Eastern District of Missouri
in support of its argument that its claims will survive the
motions to dismiss. The undersigned certainly does not presume
to predict how the presiding U.S. District Judge, J. Thomas
Marten, will view or rule the motions pending in
this case-indeed, he may grant the
motions-but this is not a case in which the likely outcomes
of the motions are clear.
the undersigned is not clearly convinced that facts learned
in discovery would not affect the resolution of the motions
to dismiss. The parties do not address this exception. Given
the general rule disfavoring the stay of discovery,
“out of an abundance of caution, and in its discretion,
the court will not stay discovery in the present case simply
because the pending motion to dismiss may not need further
the undersigned does not find that moving forward with
discovery will be burdensome. Dicamba litigation is currently
pending against defendants in a number of cases across the
country, and as plaintiffs note, much of the information they
will seek has likely already been gathered by defendants and
produced in those cases. Thus, the burden on defendants in
responding to discovery in this case should not be
extraordinary. To the extent defendants fear the discovery
sought will not be proportional to the needs of this case,
the court will address that concern if and when it
no clear exception applies that would warrant it, the
undersigned declines to stay discovery pending resolution of
the dispositive motions.
THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants' motion to stay
discovery is denied.
ECF No. 1 at 1.
ECF No. 28.
ECF No. 32.
Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S.
681, 706 (1997) (“The District Court has broad
discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power to
control its own docket.”); Bank of Blue Valley v.
Lasker Kim & Co., No. 15-9303-CM, 2016 WL 6604065,
at *1 (D. Kan. March 29, 2016) (citing Kutilek v.
Gannon, 132 F.R.D. 296, 297-98 (D. Kan. 1990) and