United States District Court, D. Kansas
P. O'Hara U.S. Magistrate Judge.
JoAnn Klaasen, RN, MN, JD, sued in her official capacity as
President of the Kansas State Board of Nursing, and
defendants Adventist Health Mid-America, Inc., Susan Dahlin,
MD, Kathy Gaumer, MD, Laura McMurray, MD, and Lisa Pazdernik,
MD (collectively, “Adventist defendants”) have
filed a joint motion (ECF No. 13) to stay discovery and other
Rule 26 activities pending rulings on their respective
motions to dismiss (ECF Nos. 11 and 15). Plaintiffs oppose
this request. For good cause shown, the motion is granted.
long been the general policy in the District of Kansas not to
stay discovery even if a dispositive motion is
pending. But four exceptions to this policy are
recognized. A discovery stay may be appropriate if: (1) the
case is likely to be finally concluded via the dispositive
motion; (2) the facts sought through discovery would not
affect the resolution of the dispositive motion; (3)
discovery on all issues posed by the complaint would be
wasteful and burdensome; or (4) the dispositive motion raises
issues as to a defendant's immunity from
suit. The decision whether to stay discovery
rests in the sound discretion of the district
court. As a practical matter, this calls for a
court has reviewed the record, the instant motion, and the
pending motions to dismiss. The court concludes that a brief
stay of all pretrial proceedings-including discovery and the
scheduling of deadlines-is warranted until the court resolves
the pending dispositive motions. In their respective motions
to dismiss, defendant Klaasen has asserted the defense of
Eleventh Amendment immunity, and the Adventist defendants
have asserted the defense of qualified immunity. Defendants
are generally entitled to have questions of immunity resolved
before being required to engage in discovery and other
pretrial proceedings. “One of the purposes of immunity,
absolute or qualified, is to spare a defendant not only
unwarranted liability, but unwarranted demands customarily
imposed upon those defending a long drawn out
lawsuit.” The Supreme Court has made it clear that
until the threshold question of immunity is resolved,
discovery should not be allowed. Additionally, the motions to
dismiss, if granted, would dispose of all claims against
defendant Klaasen and the Adventist defendants. No party
suggests that resolution of the dispositive motions is
dependent on information that would be gained through
discovery. Accordingly, discovery at this point is
unnecessary and potentially wasteful.
in light of defendant Janetta Proverbs, MD not having filed
any response to the instant motion to stay, the court infers
she agrees a stay is appropriate, particularly since she has
filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings (ECF No. 20) in
which she asserts a qualified immunity defense. Even if this
inference is incorrect, the court finds that it is in the
interest of judicial economy to stay this matter until all
three pending dispositive motions are decided. That is, as a
practical matter, it would not make much sense for the
parties to proceed with discovery until such time that
it's determined who will be participating as defendants.
consideration of the foregoing, and upon good cause shown, IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Defendants' joint motion to stay (ECF No. 13) is
2. All pretrial proceedings in this case, including discovery
and the scheduling of deadlines, are stayed until further
order of the court.
3. If the dispositive motions (ECF Nos. 11, 15, and 20) are
ultimately denied in whole or in part, then counsel shall
confer and submit a Rule 26(f) planning meeting report to the
undersigned's chambers within 14 days of all three
motions having been decided. The court will then promptly set
a scheduling conference.
 See ECF No. 18, Adventist
defendants' request to join in defendant Klaasen's
motion to stay.
See Wolf v. United States, 157
F.R.D. 494, 495 (D. Kan. 1994).
Id. (citing Kutilek v.
Gannon,132 F.R.D. 296, 297-98 (D. Kan. 1990));
Siegert v. Gilley,500 U.S. 226, 232-33 (1991)
(“‘Until this threshold immunity
question is resolved, discovery should not be
allowed.'” (quoting Harlow v. ...