United States District Court, D. Kansas
P. O'HARA, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26, defendants James Fleetwood, Chief
District Judge, Eighteenth Judicial District (Sedgwick
County), Jeff Dewey, District Judge, Eighteenth Judicial
District, Seth Rundle, District Judge, Eighteenth Judicial
District, Carl Wheeler, Sedgwick County Court Trustee, and
Bernie Lumbreras, District Court Clerk, Eighteenth Judicial
District (collectively, “state defendants”) have
filed a motion to stay discovery (ECF No. 16) pending a
ruling on their motion to dismiss the complaint (ECF No. 14).
Plaintiff does not oppose a two-month stay of discovery
(though he plans “to seek injunctive relief and remedy
against any and all defendants in [the
interim]”). The remaining defendants have not filed a
response to the motion to stay. 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 motion 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 motion. The state defendants assert
the defenses of judicial, qualified and Eleventh Amendment
immunity in their motion to dismiss. 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 motion to
dismiss, if granted, would dispose of all claims against the
state defendants. No. party suggests that resolution of the
dispositive motion is dependent on information that would be
gained through discovery. Accordingly, discovery at this
point is unnecessary and potentially wasteful.
in light of defendants The Board of County Commissioners of
Sedgwick County, Jeff Easter, and Melinda Slater not having
filed any response to the instant motion to stay, the court
infers they agree a stay is appropriate, particularly since
they have filed motions to dismiss (ECF No. 19 and 20)
asserting arguments similar to those asserted by the state
defendants. 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
consideration of the foregoing, and upon good cause shown, IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED:
Defendants' motion to stay (ECF No. 16) is granted.
pretrial proceedings in this case, including discovery and
the scheduling of deadlines, are stayed until further order
of the court.
the dispositive motions (ECF Nos. 14, 19, 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.
 ECF No. 21 at 2.
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. ...