United States District Court, D. Kansas
SCOTT B. SULLIVAN, Plaintiff,
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS HOSPITAL AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. JAMES U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant United States'
Motion to Stay Discovery (ECF No. 104). In its motion,
Defendant United States of America asks the undersigned
Magistrate Judge to enter a stay of discovery pending the
presiding District Judge's ruling on its Motion to
Dismiss (ECF No. 102). Plaintiff opposes the requested stay.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the motion.
claims arise out of his April 8, 2014 visit to the Emergency
Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where
he went for treatment of what he later learned is Tarlov Cyst
Disease, and subsequent encounters with other Defendants.
Plaintiff, who is pro se, has filed an amended complaint
asserting claims against twenty Defendants, including claims
alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
Rehabilitation Act, Kansas Consumer Protection Act, breach of
contract, and a number of intentional torts. Plaintiff also
asserts the United States Department of Justice should
investigate and enforce the Civil Rights Act. All but one of
the Defendants have filed motions to dismiss the amended
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) and (6), asserting lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.
undersigned Magistrate Judge advised the parties that this
motion would be addressed during the August 6, 2019
Scheduling Conference. Plaintiff filed a response and
requested oral argument. The Court granted the request and
listened to Plaintiff's lengthy arguments during the
scheduling conference. The Court took the motion under
advisement and now issues this order.
Legal Standard for Motion to Stay Discovery
decision to stay discovery and other pretrial proceedings is
firmly vested in the sound discretion of the trial
court. The Tenth Circuit, however, has held that
“the right to proceed in court should not be denied
except under the most extreme
circumstances.” Therefore, as a general rule, the District
of Kansas does not favor staying discovery pending a ruling
on a dispositive motion. A stay is not favored because it can
delay a timely resolution of the matter.
Although, upon a showing of good cause, the court may . . .
stay or limit the scope of discovery to protect a party from
annoyance, embarrassment, oppression or undue burden or
expense, bare assertions that discovery will be unduly
burdensome or that it should be stayed because pending
dispositive motions will probably be sustained, are
insufficient to justify the entry of an order staying
a stay pending a ruling on a dispositive motion is
appropriate where the case is likely to be finally
concluded as a result of the ruling, where the facts sought
through the remaining discovery would not affect the ruling
on the pending motion, or where discovery on all issues in
the case would be wasteful and burdensome.
seeking a stay of discovery has the burden to clearly show a
compelling reason for the court to issue a
The Parties' Arguments
United States argues all discovery should be stayed pending a
ruling on its motion to dismiss because the motion is very
likely to be completely dispositive, the facts sought through
discovery would not affect the ruling on the motion,
discovery would not reveal new or additional facts that would
affect the ruling on its motion to dismiss, and discovery
would be wasteful and burdensome to Defendant. Even if the
amended complaint is not dismissed in its entirety, Defendant
argues that staying discovery until the motion is ruled will
allow the parties to focus on the issues as narrowed.
objects to the stay of discovery with a lengthy response that
focuses on his medical issues. In his written response,
Plaintiff does not address the legal standard for ruling on a
motion to stay. Plaintiff focuses on his medical condition
and posits his understanding of what the Department of
Justice should do in response to his request for an
Application of the Standard to This Case
on the wide-ranging amended complaint, discovery in this case
may prove burdensome to all parties. The Court finds that
Plaintiffs arguments do not address the relevant legal
standards. On balance, the Court finds discovery should be
stayed. The inconvenience of a temporary stay pending rulings