United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
Benson District Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
M. WARNER CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Judge Dee Benson referred this case to Chief Magistrate Judge
Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Before the court is Plaintiff Richard
Dutcher's (“Dutcher”) motion to lift
stay. The court has carefully reviewed the
written memoranda submitted by the parties. Pursuant to Civil
Rule 7-1(f) of the Rules of Practice for the United States
District Court for the District of Utah, the court has
concluded that oral argument is not necessary and will decide
the motion on the basis of the written memoranda.
See DUCivR 7-1(f).
September 6, 2018, one of the named defendants in this case,
Open Road Films, LLC (“Open Road”), filed a
petition for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court
for the District of Delaware. The same day, Open Road filed a
notice of bankruptcy filing in this case.As a result of
that notice, this case was stayed. On October 14, 2018,
Dutcher filed the motion to lift stay currently before the
court seeking to lift the stay as to all named defendants in
this case other than Open Road (collectively, the
“Non-Bankruptcy Defendants”). The Non-Bankruptcy
Defendants oppose Dutcher's motion.
power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent
in every court to control the disposition of the causes on
its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for
counsel, and for litigants.” Landis v. N. Am.
Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936); see also TravelPass
Grp., LLC v. Benjamin & Bros., LLC, No.
2:17-cv-00247-JNP-PMW, 2017 WL 2841221, at *2 (D. Utah July
3, 2017). “The granting of [a] stay ordinarily lies
within the discretion of the district court.” Pet
Milk Co. v. Ritter, 323 F.2d 586, 588 (10th Cir. 1963)
(per curiam); see also Trustees of Utah Carpenters'
& Cement Masons' Pension Tr. v. Perry Olsen Family
P'ship, No. 2:11-CV-593-TC-PMW, 2012 WL 1981522, at
*3 (D. Utah June 1, 2012). When deciding to exercise its
inherent power to stay, the court considers: “(1)
whether the stay would promote judicial economy; (2) whether
the stay would avoid possible inconsistent results; and (3)
whether the stay would not work undue hardship or prejudice
against the plaintiff.” United States ex rel. Cache
Valley Elec. Co. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of
Am., No. 2:13-cv-01120-DN, 2015 WL 164064, at *3 (D.
Utah Jan. 13, 2015) (quotations and citation omitted);
see also TravelPass Grp., LLC, 2017 WL 2841221, at
case, lifting the stay as to the Non-Bankruptcy Defendants
would not promote judicial economy and has the potential of
leading to inconsistent results. The Non-Bankruptcy
Defendants assert that the central issue in this case is the
same with respect to both the Non-Bankruptcy Defendants and
Open Road. The Non-Bankruptcy Defendants further assert that
they and Open Road will rely upon the same witnesses,
experts, and documents. Importantly, Dutcher does not dispute
either of those assertions. If the court were to lift the
stay as to the Non-Bankruptcy Defendants, it could lead to
two trials in this case, one involving the Non-Bankruptcy
Defendants, and one involving Open Road. Such a result would
lead to unnecessary duplication of efforts for both the
parties and the court and has the potential of leading to
Non-Bankruptcy Defendants also correctly note that there are
three pending motions in this case concerning the exclusion
of experts. The Non-Bankruptcy Defendants argue that
the court should not decide those motions prior to lifting
the stay as to Open Road because each of those motions
involve and directly impact the interests of Open Road. In
response, Dutcher contends that the court could decide those
motions as to only the Non-Bankruptcy Defendants. Although
not explicitly stated, it appears that Dutcher believes that
the court could decide those motions as to the Non-Bankruptcy
Defendants and reserve a decision on them as to Open Road for
a later date. Again, such an approach would lead to an
unnecessary duplication of efforts for both the parties and
the court, as well as the risk of inconsistent results.
court concludes that the first two factors weigh heavily in
favor of keeping the stay in place. As to the final factor,
the court acknowledges that leaving the stay in place imposes
some inconvenience upon Dutcher, but the court is not
persuaded that it amounts to undue hardship or prejudice.
Dutcher obviously has an interest in moving this case
forward, but interests of judicial economy and the risk of
inconsistent results hold greater importance to the court.
reached the conclusion that the stay should remain in place,
the court must vacate the deadlines in the current pretrial
scheduling order, the final pretrial conference, and the
trial date. A new pretrial scheduling order will be entered
if and when the stay in this case is lifted.
summary, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Dutcher's motion to lift stay is DENIED.
2. All deadlines in the current pretrial scheduling
order are VACATED.
3. The final pretrial conference scheduled for November 15,
2018, at 2:30 p.m. and the ten-day jury trial scheduled for