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Vazquez v. County of Kern

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 21, 2018

SAMANTHA VAZQUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF KERN, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STAY (DOC. 114)

          Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Samantha Vazquez “seeks an immediate stay of all proceedings in this matter pending a decision on her appeal” to the Ninth Circuit. (Doc. 114) Defendants oppose the stay, asserting Plaintiff is not entitled to a stay. (Doc. 115) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's request for a stay is DENIED.

         I. Relevant Background

         On December 18, 2017, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this action. (Doc. 96, 97) Judgment was entered in favor of the Defendants on December 29, 2017 (Doc. 105), after which Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal. (Doc. 106)

         Defendants each filed Bills of Costs on January 12, 2018. (Docs. 108, 110) Plaintiff now seeks a stay of the proceedings in light of her appeal pending before the Ninth Circuit, proposing “that the case be frozen in its present configuration while the appeal is pending, ” requesting the Bills of Costs not be evaluated by the Court at this time. (Doc. 114)

         II. Legal Standards

         The Supreme Court explained the “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. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-255 (1936). To evaluate whether to stay an action, the Court must the weigh competing interests that will be affected by the grant or refusal to grant a stay. CMAX, Inc. v. Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir. 1962).

         In general, Rule 62(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the Court's authority to stay an action pending an appeal. Applying this Rule, the Ninth Circuit determined that when evaluating a request for a stay due to a pending appeal, courts must consider: “(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 (1987) (citations omitted); see also Maner v. County of Stanislaus, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149964 at *14-15 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 28, 2016) (finding Rule 62 “govern[s] the court's authority to issue a stay pending an appeal, ” and applying its standards to a request for “a stay of the taxing of costs pending appeal”).

         The party seeking a stay “bears the burden of establishing its need.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708 (1997) (citing Landis, 299 U.S. at 255). The Supreme Court explained, “If there is even a fair possibility that the stay . . . will work damage to some one else, ” the party seeking the stay “must make out a clear case of hardship or inequity.” Landis, 299 U.S. at 255. The decision whether to grant or deny a stay is committed to the Court's discretion. Dependable Highway Express, Inc. v. Navigators Ins. Co., 498 F.3d 1059, 1066 (9th Cir. 2007).

         III. Discussion and Analysis

         Plaintiff argues that “the Court should exercise its discretion to impose a stay, ” because “[t]here is no reason to litigate costs now.” (Doc. 114 at 4) Plaintiff observes:

If Defendants prevail on their appeal, then they will doubtless seek (and Plaintiff will oppose) costs in connection with their appeal. Since a new round of briefs and argument will be required in that situation anyway, both sets of costs can be more efficiently handled together at that time. Meanwhile, if Plaintiff prevails on her appeal, then Defendants will no longer be conserved the “prevailing party” and there will be no issue to litigate.

(Id.) Plaintiff contends judicial resources would be preserved through the entry of a stay, because she intends to file “objections and opposition” to the defendants' requests, including objecting on the grounds that the imposition of costs “would be disruptive and a hardship, ” such that no costs should be awarded by the Court. (Id. at 5-6) Further, Plaintiff asserts that “no prejudice that would accrue to any party in the event of an immediate stay, ” and it “will not adversely affect any other issue in the case.” (Id. at 7-8)

         On the other hand, Defendants assert Plaintiff fails to address the Hilton factors addressing whether a stay should be entered. (See Doc. 115) For example, Defendants observe Plaintiff fails “to make any kind of showing that she is likely to ...


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