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. 14). The Court extended the deadline to oppose this
Motion to September 18, 2018. (R. Doc. 17). Plaintiff did not
file an opposition to the instant Motion within that
deadline. Accordingly, the Motion is unopposed.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery (R.
Doc. 18). It appears that through this motion, Plaintiff
seeks the opportunity to conduct discovery notwithstanding
the arguments raised in Defendants' Motion to Stay
Discovery. While the instant Motion is untimely to the extent
it seeks to oppose Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery,
the Court has nevertheless considered the arguments raised by
December 15, 2017, George Jarrett (“Plaintiff”)
commenced this action, naming as sole defendants Linda
Perkins a/k/a Evelyn Perkins and William Ross
(“Defendants”). (R. Doc. 1,
“Compl.”). Plaintiff seeks recovery under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and state law for alleged breach of
contracts governing his sentence, status as a parolee, and
payment of parole fees.
have filed Motions to Dismiss. (R. Docs. 12, 13). Among other
things, Defendants argue that they are entitled to qualified
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).
of the most salient benefits of qualified immunity is
protection from pretrial discovery, which is costly,
time-consuming, and intrusive[.]” Backe v.
LeBlanc, 691 F.3d 645, 648 (5th Cir. 2012) (citing
Helton v. Clements, 787 F.2d 1016, 1017 (5th Cir.
1986)). Accordingly, the Fifth Circuit “has established
a careful procedure under which a district court may defer
its qualified immunity ruling if further factual development
is necessary to ascertain the availability of that
defense.” Backe, 691 F.3d at 648. Under this
procedure, “a district court must first find
‘that the plaintiff's pleadings assert facts which,
if true, would overcome the defense of qualified
immunity.'” Id. (citing Wicks v. Miss.
State Emp't Servs., 41 F.3d 991, 994-95 (5th Cir.
1995); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79
(2009) (directing that a plaintiff must “state a claim
for relief that is plausible on its face”-excluding
statements that are “no more than conclusions”
which are “not entitled to the assumption of
truth”)). “Thus, a plaintiff seeking to overcome
qualified immunity must plead specific facts that both allow
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the harm he has alleged and that defeat a
qualified immunity defense with equal specificity.”
Backe, 691 F.3d at 648. “After the
district court finds a plaintiff has so pled, if the court
remains ‘unable to rule on the immunity defense without
further clarification of the facts,' it may issue a
discovery order ‘narrowly tailored to uncover only
those facts needed to rule on the immunity claim.'”
Id. (citing Lion Boulos v. Wilson, 834 F.2d
504, 507-08 (5th Cir. 1987)).
reviewed the pleadings, the pending motions to dismiss, and
the arguments of the parties, the Court finds it appropriate
to stay discovery until resolution of the pending motions to
dismiss. Discovery is inappropriate until the district judge
has determined that the Complaint asserts facts which, if
true, would overcome the defense of qualified immunity raised
by Defendants. See Backe, 691 F.3d at 648.
IS ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Stay
Discovery (R. Doc. 14) is GRANTED. Discovery
shall remain STAYED in this action until the
resolution of Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (R. Docs.
12, 13). Should rulings be issued on the pending motions to
dismiss, counsel shall immediately contact the undersigned so
that appropriate action may be taken.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for
Discovery (R. Doc. 18) is DENIED.
in Baton ...