United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery (R.
Doc. 23) filed on May 31, 2018. The motion is opposed. (R.
about February 9, 2018, Shawn Drewery, on behalf of Shaqualia
Felder (“Plaintiff”) filed this civil rights
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging, among other
things, excessive force, malicious arrest, unnecessary
imprisonment, and unreasonable search and seizure. (R. Doc.
1-3 at 2-6). The Petition names as defendants Sid Gautreaux,
the Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish, and Leroy Griffin, a
deputy sheriff (collectively, “Defendants”). (R.
Doc. 1-3 at 2).
removed the action on April 5, 2018. (R. Doc. 1).
April 18, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss,
asserting, in part, that they are entitled to qualified
immunity. (R. Doc. 4). The motion remains pending before the
now seek a stay of discovery in light of their assertions of
qualified immunity in their motion to dismiss. (R. Doc. 23).
Plaintiff primarily argues that the motion should be denied
because Defendants' defense of qualified immunity will
not succeed on the merits. (R. Doc. 26).
26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the
court to issue a protective order after a showing of good
cause “to protect a party or person from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Rule 26(c)'s “good
cause” requirement indicates that the party seeking a
protective order has the burden “to show the necessity
of its issuance, which contemplates a particular and specific
demonstration of fact as distinguished from stereotyped and
conclusory statements.” In re Terra Int'l,
Inc., 134 F.3d 302, 306 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting
United States v. Garrett, 571 F.2d 1323, 1326 n.3
(5th Cir. 1978)).
courts possess broad discretion to supervise
discovery.” Landry v. Air Line Pilots Ass'n
Int'l AFL-CIO, 901 F.2d 404, 436 n.114 (5th Cir.
1990) (citation omitted). “A trial court has broad
discretion and inherent power to stay discovery until
preliminary questions that may dispose of the case are
determined.” Petrus v. Bowen, 833 F.2d 581,
583 (5th Cir. 1987).
qualified immunity defense affords government officials not
just immunity from liability, but immunity from suit.”
Vander Zee v. Reno, 73 F.3d 1365, 1368 (5th Cir.
1996) (citing Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511,
525-26 (1985)). Qualified immunity shields government
officials from individual liability for performing
discretionary functions, unless their conduct violates
clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of
which a reasonable person would have known. Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982).
Fifth Circuit has long held that an assertion of qualified
immunity shields a government official from discovery that is
“avoidable or overly broad.” Lion Boulos v.
Wilson, 834 F.2d 504, 507 (5th Cir. 1987). As
clarification, the Court explained that it is only when the
district court “is unable to rule on the immunity
defense without further clarification of the facts” and
when the discovery order is “narrowly tailored to
uncover only those facts needed to rule on the immunity
claim, ” that an order allowing limited discovery is
neither avoidable nor overly broad. Lion Boulos, 834
F.2d at 507-08. However, discovery on the issue of qualified
immunity “must not proceed until the district court
first finds that the plaintiff's pleadings
assert facts which, if true, would overcome the defense of
qualified immunity.” Wicks v. Miss. State Emp't
Servs., 41 F.3d 991, 994 (5th Cir. 1995); Brown v.
Texas A & M Univ., 804 F.2d 327, 333 (5th Cir. 1986)
(“[T]he issue of qualified immunity is a threshold
question, and until this threshold immunity question is
resolved, discovery should not be allowed.”). This
heightened pleading standard requires the plaintiff “to
allege the particular facts forming the basis of his claim,
including those preventing [the individual defendant] from
successfully maintaining a qualified immunity defense.”
Wicks, 41 F.3d 994-995. “To overcome the
immunity defense, the complaint must allege facts that, if
proven, would demonstrate that [the individual defendant]
violated clearly established statutory or constitutional
rights.” Id. at 995.
the foregoing, Plaintiff has not raised a substantive basis
for denying the relief sought in the instant motion. The
Court concludes that a stay of discovery in this action is
warranted in light of Defendants' asserted qualified
IS ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Stay
Discovery (R. Doc. 23) is GRANTED. The
parties are to contact the undersigned within 7
days of the district judge's ruling on the
pending motion to dismiss (R. Doc. 4), so that a status