United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING EX PARTE APPLICATION TO STAY DISCOVERY [ECF NO. 26.]
BERNARD G. SKOMAL, Magistrate Judge.
On April 21, 2015, Defendants R. Johnson, R. Boas, D.Webb, L. Calderon, S. Sandoval, A. Miller, V. Cortez, R. Arias and J. Velasquez filed an ex parte application for a stay of discovery until Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment regarding exhaustion of administrative remedies has been decided. [ECF No. 26.] Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment was filed on April 20, 2015. [ECF No. 25.] Plaintiff pro se, has not responded to the ex parte application to stay pending discovery.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
In Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2014), the Ninth Circuit explained: "Exhaustion should be decided, if feasible, before reaching the merits of a prisoner's claim. If discovery is appropriate, the district court may in its discretion limit discovery to evidence concerning exhaustion, leaving until later - if it becomes necessary - discovery directed to the merits of the suit."
Id. at 1170.
Defendants state that Plaintiff has propounded interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions concerning the merits of his civil rights complaint as opposed to discovery regarding exhaustion of administrative remedies. [ECF No. 26 at 2:14-17.] They argue good cause exists to stay the current discovery until the motion for summary judgment, which concerns only exhaustion, is decided in order to preserve the resources of the parties and the Court. Id. at 3:6-11.
The pending motion for summary judgment on exhaustion is potentially dispositive of the entire case. Moreover, the exhaustion issue can be decided without discovery regarding Plaintiff's claims that Defendants violated his rights under the First Amendment, Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment. [ECF No. 1 at 5: 15-18.] In light of the Ninth Circuit's guidance in Albino and the Court's authority to limit the scope of discovery when a dispositive motion is pending, ( GTE Wireless, Inc. v. Qualcomm, Inc., 192 F.R.D. 284, 287, fn. 3 (S.D. Cal. 2000), Defendants' motion to stay discovery is GRANTED. A stay of discovery will promote an efficient use of time and resources for the parties and the Court to focus on exhaustion before concentrating, if necessary, on issues that relate to the merits of Plaintiff's suit.
IV. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
As discussed above, the Court orders as follows:
1. Defendants' ex parte application for a stay of discovery until Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on exhaustion has been decided is GRANTED;
2. Accordingly, discovery regarding topics unrelated to the exhaustion of administrative remedies is STAYED.
3. If Defendants' motion for summary judgment is denied, the stay shall be lifted and discovery shall proceed in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court may adjust the deadlines ...