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Hernandez v. United States Postal Service

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 17, 2019

EDWARD HERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Teresa J. James U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is the United States' Motion to Stay Discovery (ECF No. 30). Defendant United States Postal Service (“USPS”) asks this Court to stay all discovery until the Court rules on its pending motion to dismiss (ECF No. 28). USPS filed its motion on September 17, 2019. To date, pro se Plaintiff Edward Hernandez has not filed a response, and his time to do so has passed.[1] Therefore, the Court considers USPS's motion as an uncontested motion.[2] Although the Court could choose to “grant the motion without further notice, ”[3] it still considers the merits of the motion, and for the reasons discussed below, grants the motion.

         I. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed this case on January 14, 2019 alleging employment discrimination following an injury he allegedly suffered on the job in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. His request to proceed in forma pauperis was denied,[4] but Plaintiff paid the filing fee and issued summons. All defendants have now been served except for two: Karen Ramcharan and American Postal Workers Union. Plaintiff has been ordered to show cause why service of the summons and complaint in this case was not made upon these defendants.[5] The remaining defendants are split into two groups, with each group having filed a motion to dismiss.[6]

         Plaintiff originally failed to file a response to the first motion to dismiss, but after receiving an extension of time from the Court, Plaintiff did file a response on September 20, 2019. Plaintiff has yet to file a response to the second motion to dismiss, filed September 17, 2019.

         Defendant USPS asks discovery in this case be stayed pending ruling on its dispositive motion because this case will likely be concluded as a result of the ruling on the motion, and discovery would not uncover new or additional facts that would affect the resolution of the motion.[7]

         II. Legal Standard

         The decision to stay discovery and other pretrial proceedings is firmly vested in the sound discretion of the trial court.[8] The Tenth Circuit, however, has held that “the right to proceed in court should not be denied except under the most extreme circumstances.”[9] Therefore, the general policy in the District of Kansas is to not stay discovery even when dispositive motions are pending.[10]

         However, there are exceptions to this general policy, including “where the case is likely to be finally concluded as a result of the ruling thereon; where the facts sought through uncompleted discovery would not affect the resolution of the motion; or where discovery on all issues of the broad complaint would be wasteful and burdensome.”[11]

         III. Analysis

         In considering the above factors, the Court finds a stay of discovery is appropriate here. After reviewing the two pending motions to dismiss, it appears likely that they will be granted at least in part. Should they be granted in their entirety, this case would be finally concluded except with regard to the two defendants who have yet to be served. However, unless Plaintiff is able to show good cause as to why they have not been served ten months after Plaintiff filed his complaint, the case will be dismissed as to those defendants as well.

         USPS argues discovery would not affect the resolution of its motion to dismiss, and without a response arguing otherwise from Plaintiff, the Court agrees. The Court finds discovery at this point would be wasteful and burdensome and not in the interest of judicial economy or efficiency. Therefore, the Court grants the motion and stays all discovery in this case pending ruling on the dispositive motions.

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT that the United States' Motion to Stay Discovery (ECF No. 30) is granted. Discovery and all Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 parties' planning and scheduling requirements are hereby stayed until such time as the District Judge rules on the pending dispositive motions (ECF Nos. 23 and 28).

         IT ...


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