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Bush v. Nationsbank

April 8, 1999

MICHELLE B. BUSH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATIONSBANK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Deborah A. Robinson, United States Magistrate Judge

CKK/DAR

ORDER

This action was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for discovery. By a Civil Notice prepared by the Clerk of the Court on March 18, 1999, the undersigned scheduled a hearing on the pending motions which concerned the conduct of discovery for 3:00 p.m. on March 25, 1999. By that date, seven motions were pending, including plaintiff's motions for sanctions (Docket Nos. 37 and 82), to compel discovery (Docket No. 28) and for other relief, including a stay of discovery (Docket Nos. 69 and 86); non-party Manpower International, Inc.'s Motion for Protective Order (Docket No. 54); and Defendant's Motion for a Briefing Schedule or for a Protective Order or for a Competency Hearing (Docket No. 64). In addition, a discovery request docketed as a motion (Docket No. 80) appeared on the civil docket. Finally, at least 25 documents which included discovery requests, or arguments regarding the sufficiency of the responses to her requests, had been filed by plaintiff prior to March 25 (Docket Nos. 33, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 50, 51, 52, 53, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 65, 67, 74, 76 and 83).

Counsel for defendant and counsel for non-party movant Manpower appeared for the March 25 hearing; however, plaintiff did not appear. The undersigned, sua sponte, continued the

Bush v. NationsBank 2 hearing to 3:00 p.m. on April 6, 1999. In a written order filed and transmitted to plaintiff by facsimile on March 25, the undersigned ordered plaintiff to file her written opposition to Defendant's Motion for a Briefing Schedule or for a Protective Order or for a Competency Hearing by April 1, 1999, and to serve the opposition upon counsel for defendant. See March 25, 1999 Order (Docket No. 88) at 1. In addition, the undersigned advised plaintiff of her obligation as a pro se litigant to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules and orders of this Court, including the Scheduling Order entered on March 25. See March 25, 1999 Supplemental Order (Docket No. 87) at 1-4.

Prior to 3:00 p.m. on April 6, plaintiff filed a "Response" to the Supplemental Order entered on March 25 (Docket No. 91), and a "Request for a Review of the Supplemental Order" (Docket No. 92). Plaintiff also filed two motions for continuance of the April 6 hearing (Docket Nos. 93 and 98), each of which was denied by a written order (Docket Nos. 96 and 99) transmitted to plaintiff by facsimile. *fn1 Plaintiff did not file an opposition or other response to

Bush v. NationsBank 3

Defendant's Motion for a Briefing Schedule or for a Protective Order or for a Competency Hearing. See March 25, 1999 Scheduling Order at 1; Supplemental Order at 4.

Counsel for defendant and counsel for non-party movant Manpower appeared for the April 6 hearing, but plaintiff again failed to appear. The undersigned heard the arguments of counsel for defendant in support of Defendant's Motion for a Briefing Schedule or for a Protective Order or for a Competency Hearing. With respect to the first of the three options proposed by defendant--resolution of the case on the basis of summary judgment briefs, affidavits, interrogatories and documents produced to date--counsel for defendant offered as an exhibit a two and one-half inch binder which contained a copy of the discovery responses defendant had served to date. *fn2 Counsel for defendant agreed that should any issues remain after determination of its motion for summary judgment, this court could then resolve the extant disputes concerning the conduct of discovery. Counsel for defendant consented to the denial without prejudice of the other two motions proposed by defendant in its motion. Counsel for defendant also consented to the entry of an order setting an earlier date for the filing of its motion for summary judgment. *fn3

Bush v. NationsBank 4

The undersigned also heard the arguments of counsel for non-party movant Manpower in support of Manpower's Motion for Protective Order. Counsel for Manpower maintained that for the reasons set forth in the memorandum in support of its motion, discovery of Manpower should be limited, if not stayed. *fn4

Upon consideration of the memoranda in support of the two motions as to which the undersigned heard argument on April 6; defendant's Hearing Exhibit 1, offered and received into evidence; the arguments of counsel for defendant and of counsel for non-party movant Manpower; the written submissions of plaintiff *fn5 and the entire record herein, the undersigned will stay further discovery pending determination of defendant's dispositive motion, and, with defendant's consent, shorten the time in which its dispositive motion must be filed. Defendant has answered at least 23 interrogatories, produced at least 75 pages of documents, and responded to at least 51 requests for admissions. Upon review of the responses, and consideration of the authorities on which defendant relies in support of its request, the undersigned finds that no further discovery is needed to permit the parties to support or oppose defendant's dispositive motion. *fn6 The discretion of a court to stay discovery in such circumstances is well-settled:

Bush v. NationsBank 5

It is within the sound discretion of the Court to postpone discovery of issues relating to the merits of a case pending resolution ...


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