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Myers v. Pulido

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 10, 2017

DALLAS J. MYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
L. PULIDO, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY DISCOVERY (ECF NO. 28) ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO SUBMIT OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR FAILURE TO EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES (ECF NO. 31) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Dallas J. Myers is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         On March 8, 2017, Defendant Pulido filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiff failed to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing suit. (ECF No. 27.) The same day, Defendant filed a motion to stay merits-based discovery pending a decision on the motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 28.) Plaintiff has not filed a response to either motion.

         On April 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for an extension of time to submit an opposition to Defendant's motion for summary judgment for the failure to exhaust administrative remedies.. Defendant has not responded, but the Court finds no response necessary.

         The Court shall now address Defendant's motion to stay discovery, and Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time.

         II.

         MOTION TO STAY

         Defendant argues that merits-based discovery should be stayed in this case pending a decision on the motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. Defendant asserts in support that (1) the pending motion will potentially dispose of the entire case; (2) the Court does not require additional information to decide the pending motion; and (3) the expenditure of resources required to respond to merits-based discovery will be needless if the Court grants Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Defendant also submits a declaration of counsel in support stating that Plaintiff served discovery on or about February 2, 2017 on Defendant which is not related to whether available administrative remedies were exhausted, and Defendant argues that using resources to respond to that discovery at this time would not be efficient.

         The Court is vested with broad discretion to manage discovery. Dichter-Mad Family Partners, LLP v. U.S., 709 F.3d 749, 751 (9th Cir. 2013) (per curiam); Hunt v. Cnty. of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012); Surfvivor Media, Inc. v. Survivor Prods., 406 F.3d 625, 635 (9th Cir. 2005); Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002). Pursuant to Rule 26(c)(1), the Court may, for good cause, issue a protective order forbidding or limiting discovery. The avoidance of undue burden or expense is grounds for the issuance of a protective order, Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), and a stay of discovery pending resolution of potentially dispositive issues furthers the goal of efficiency for the courts and the litigants, Little v. City of Seattle, 863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988) (stay of discovery pending resolution of immunity issue).

         The propriety of delaying discovery on the merits of the plaintiff's claims pending resolution of an exhaustion motion was explicitly recognized by the Ninth Circuit. Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1170-71 (9th Cir. 2014) (en banc), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 403 (2014); see also Gibbs v. Carson, No. C-13-0860 THE (PR), 2014 WL 172187, at *2-3 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2014). The failure to exhaust is an affirmative defense, and Defendants are entitled to move for judgment on the issue. Albino, 747 F.3d at 1166.

         The Court agrees with Defendant that judicial economy is best served by staying merits-based discovery until after the Court rules on the pending motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies. Plaintiff has not opposed the stay, and does not contradict Defendant's representation that the currently-pending discovery requests are unrelated to the exhaustion defense raised here. Accordingly, merits-based discovery will be stayed in this matter. Defendants will be ordered to respond to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories, First Set of Requests for Production, and First Set of Requests for Admission served on or about February 2, 2017, within thirty (30) days after the District Judge issues a ruling on Defendant's motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.

         III.

         MOTION FOR ...


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