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Mendia v. Garcia

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 28, 2017

JOHN M. GARCIA, et al., Defendants.




         Plaintiff Bernardo Mendia ("Plaintiff") filed a Motion to Stay Proceedings. Mot., Dkt. No. 189. Defendants John Garcia, Ching Chang, and the United States of America (collectively, "Defendants") oppose the Motion in part. Opp‘n, Dkt. No. 198. The Court held a hearing on the matter on March 23, 2017. Plaintiff did not appear at the hearing.[1] See Order to Show Cause, Dkt. No. 224. Having considered the parties‘ arguments, the relevant legal authority, and the record in this 2010 case, the Court DENIES Plaintiff‘s Motion.


         This action arises out of a June 2007 immigration detainer that Garcia and Chang (together, the "Federal Defendants"), both ICE agents, allegedly wrongfully placed on Plaintiff while he was held in pretrial detention in Contra Costa County. Plaintiff initiated this action in August 2010.

         As is relevant here, on February 26, 2016, the Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff‘s Motion for Leave to File a TAC. Dkt. No. 107. The Court permitted Plaintiff to amend the SAC to assert (1) Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq., claims against the United States for intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and negligence; and (2) Bivens[3] claims against the Federal Defendants for violations of Plaintiff‘s First Amendment right to free speech, Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure, and Plaintiff‘s Fifth Amendment right to equal protection. Id. at 10-31. The Court found the Federal Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity at that time. Id. at 26-31. The Court did not permit amendment as to Plaintiff‘s proposed (1) Fifth Amendment self-incrimination and substantive due process claims, (2) Eighth Amendment excessive bail claim against the Federal Defendants, (3) declaratory relief claims, and (4) claims against ICE Field Office Director Timothy Aitken. Id. at 31-42. On April 22, 2016, the Federal Defendants appealed this Order. Dkt. No. 134.

         On May 10, 2016, the Court denied the Federal Defendants‘ Motion to Dismiss the TAC, finding, inter alia, the Federal Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Dkt. No. 138. The Federal Defendants appealed this Order as well. Dkt. No. 146.

         In light of the Federal Defendants‘ appeals, Defendants requested the Court stay all discovery until the Ninth Circuit resolved the qualified immunity issue. Jt. Ltr., Dkt. No. 129; Suppl. Jt. Ltr., Dkt. No. 142. Plaintiff opposed such a stay. Id. (both). On June 14, 2016, the Court "partially stay[ed] discovery against [the Federal] Defendants as to the Bivens claims but allow[ed] discovery against them restricted to their roles as witnesses in the FTCA claims against the United States." Dkt. No. 143 at 10. The parties engaged in discovery thereafter and participated in a settlement conference.

         After Plaintiff‘s counsel withdrew from representation on August 25, 2016 (Dkt. No. 170), the Court stayed all proceedings to allow the San Francisco Federal Pro Bono Project an opportunity to try to find Plaintiff counsel for settlement purposes (Dkt. No. 171). Those efforts proved unsuccessful, and on October 31, 2016, the Court determined "the matter must proceed with Plaintiff representing himself pro se for the time being." Dkt. No. 173. It lifted the stay, scheduled a case management conference ("CMC"), and ordered the parties to meet and confer and file a joint CMC statement no later than one week prior to the conference. Id.

         Plaintiff now seeks to stay this action in entirety until the appeals are resolved. See Mot. Defendants oppose a complete stay; rather, they argue the parties should continue to engage in the discovery process that is necessary to prepare for settlement discussions. Opp‘n at 2. A settlement conference is currently scheduled for May 24, 2017. Dkt. No. 227.


         "[D]istrict courts have the inherent authority to manage their dockets and courtrooms with a view toward the efficient and expedient resolution of cases." Dietz v. Bouldin, 136 S.Ct. 1885, 1892 (2016); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 1. This inherent authority includes the power to stay proceedings. Ryan v. Gonzales, 568 U.S. 57, 133 S.Ct. 696, 708 (2013) ("[A] district court may stay a case 'pending before it by virtue of its inherent power to control the progress of the cause so as to maintain the orderly processes of justice‘" (quoting Enelow v. N.Y. Life Ins. Co., 293 U.S. 379, 382 (1935)).

         In determining whether to grant a stay pending an appeal, courts consider four factors: "'(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.‘" Latta v. Otter, 771 F.3d 496, 498 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 426 (2009)). "The first two factors . . . are the most critical." Nken, 556 U.S. at ...

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