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Glen Halliday, et al v. Kent R. Spjute

December 17, 2012

GLEN HALLIDAY, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
KENT R. SPJUTE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO STAY (Document 129)

INTRODUCTION*fn1

Relevant Procedural Background On November 16, 2012, Plaintiffs Glen Halliday, Ashley M. Ioane, Michael S. Ioane, Jr., Michael S. Ioane, Sr., and Shelly J. Ioane filed a Motion to Stay this matter. (Doc. 129.)

On November 21, 2012, the Government filed its opposition to the motion. (Doc. 132.) On December 7, 2012, the undersigned issued a minute order, vacating the hearing on the motion and taking the matter under submission pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). (Doc. 134.) For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.*fn2

The Parties' Positions

Plaintiffs assert as follows in support of their motion for a stay of these proceedings: (1) Michael Scott Ioane Sr. "is now in prison and can't take part in the prosecution" of this action; (2) Defendants will not be prejudiced in their defense of the action by a stay pending the outcome of Ioane's criminal appeal; and (3) it is in the interests of justice to stay the matter. (Doc. 129-2.)*fn3 Defendant United States of America, on behalf of all federal defendants, contends that a stay of these proceedings is unnecessary. More particularly, the Government points out that Plaintiffs have not addressed the factors to be considered by the Court when presented with a motion or request for stay, nor have they explained or supported the assertions they do make in the motion. (Doc. 132.)

DISCUSSION

Applicable Legal Standards A district court's "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. How this can best be done calls for the exercise of judgment, which must weigh competing interests and maintain an even balance." Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-255, 57 S.Ct. 163, 81 L.Ed. 153 (1936). "The power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to schedule disposition of the cases on its docket so as to promote fair and efficient adjudication. How this can best be done is a decision properly vested in the trial courts." Gold v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp., 723 F.2d 1068, 1077 (3rd Cir. 1983).

Factors "regulating the issuance of a stay" include: "(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies." Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776, 107 S.Ct. 2113, 95 L.Ed.2d 724 (1987). Nonetheless, "[s]ince the traditional stay factors contemplate individualized judgments in each case, the formula cannot be reduced to a set of rigid rules." Hilton, 481 U.S. at 777, 107 S.Ct. 2113, 95 L.Ed.2d 724.

In Keating v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 45 F.3d 322 (9th Cir. 1994), the Ninth Circuit stated that, in addition to considering a defendant's Fifth Amendment rights, courts should consider the following factors when determining whether to impose a stay of civil proceedings pending the outcome of criminal proceedings:

(1) the interest of the plaintiffs in proceeding expeditiously with this litigation or any particular aspect of it, and the potential prejudice to plaintiffs of a delay; (2) the burden which any particular aspect of the proceedings may impose on defendants; (3) the convenience of the court in the management of its cases, and the efficient use of judicial resources; (4) the interests of persons not parties to the civil litigation; and (5) the interest of the public in the pending civil and criminal litigation.

Keating, at 325, quoting Federal Sav. & Loan Ins. Corp. v. Molinaro, 889 F.2d 899, 902 (9th Cir. 1989).

Analysis

Ioane's Fifth ...


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