United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
I.C., a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian, SUZANNE RIHA, Plaintiff,
POLK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, a Florida Governmental Entity; the SCHOOL BOARD OF POLK COUNTY, a Florida Governmental Entity; OUR CHILDREN'S ACADEMY, Defendants.
ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Stay of Discovery and for Protective Order (Doc. 51),
Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Protective Order (Doc.
60), and Defendants' responses thereto (Docs. 52, 54,
I.C., is a minor child who attended Defendant Our
Children's Academy (“OCA”),  a Florida charter
school for special needs children. Plaintiff is on the autism
spectrum and has behavioral and emotional disabilities
related to autism. On April 3, 2017, Plaintiff, through his
mother, Suzanne Riha, brought suit against Defendants Polk
County School District (“School District”), the
School Board of Polk County (“School Board”), and
OCA. (Doc. 1). Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint
(Docs. 22, 29), and Plaintiff filed a proposed order
dismissing the Complaint with leave to amend (Doc. 28), which
the Court construed as a motion for leave to amend. The Court
granted leave to amend, and Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint on May 31, 2017. (Docs. 30, 37).
response to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Defendants
again filed motions to dismiss (Doc. 43, 47), which the Court
granted and dismissed the action without prejudice (Doc. 50).
Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on August 3, 2017,
against the School Board and OCA. (Doc. 55). Defendants again
filed Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint. (Docs. 56, 58).
August 1, 2017, after the Court granted Defendants'
Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, but
before Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff filed this Motion for Stay of Discovery and for
Protective Order. (Doc. 51). On August 3, 2017, Defendants
filed their response in opposition to that motion. (Doc. 52).
On August 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Motion for a
Protective Order, clarifying the relief sought in the initial
motion. (Doc. 60). That same day, Defendants filed a response
to the Amended Motion for a Protective Order. (Doc. 62).
August 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Settlement as to
the claims against Defendant OCA. (Doc. 67). The Court has
not been notified of any agreements (related to discovery or
otherwise) between Plaintiff and Defendant School Board.
seeks a protective order in response to Defendant OCA's
Notice of Taking Deposition of I.C. (Doc. 60). In addition,
Plaintiff seeks a general stay of discovery pending
resolution of any motions to dismiss. (Doc. 51).
Plaintiff's Request for Stay of Discovery
ruling on motions to stay discovery, Courts in this District
have held that “[m]otions to [s]tay discovery may be
granted pursuant to Rule 26(c), Fed. R. Civ. P., and the
moving party bears the burden of showing good cause and
reasonableness.” Feldman v. Flood, 176 F.R.D.
651, 652 (M.D. Fla. 1997) (citations omitted). A party shows
good cause for a stay of discovery when disposition of a
motion could entirely eliminate the need for such discovery.
McCabe v. Foley, 233 F.R.D. 683, 685 (M.D. Fla.
support of the request for a stay pending resolution of
Defendants' motions to dismiss, Plaintiff cites to
Chudasama v. Mazda Corporation, 123 F.3d 1353, 1367
(11th Cir. 1997) for the general proposition that discovery
should be stayed until a pending motion to dismiss is
resolved. Chudasama, however, states:
“[f]acial challenges based on the failure to state a
claim for relief, should, however, be resolved before
discovery begins.” Id. at 1368.
Chudasama does not dictate that all discovery should
be stayed pending a decision on a motion to dismiss.
Koock v. Sugar & Felsenthal, LLP, No.
8:09-cv-609-T-17EAJ, 2009 WL 2579307 *2 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 19,
2009). Instead, Chudasama “stand[s] for the
much narrower proposition that courts should not delay ruling
on a likely meritorious motion to dismiss while undue
discovery costs mount.” Schreiber v. Kite
King's Lake, LLC, No. 8:09-cv-609-T-17EAJ, 2010 WL
3909717 *1 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 1, 2010); Koock, 2009 WL
2579307 at * 2; In re Winn Dixie Stores, Inc., No.
3:04-cv-194-J-33MCR, 2007 WL 1877887 * 1 (M.D. Fla. June 28,
even after the settlement-in-principle between Plaintiff and
OCA, Defendant School Board's motion to dismiss remains
pending for adjudication. (Doc. 58). More specifically, there
remains a dispute between Plaintiff and Defendant School
Board as to whether Plaintiff has adequately pleaded both
federal and state claims against the School Board. Not only
is this dispute not an unusual circumstance justifying a stay
of discovery, but Plaintiff has not made a specific showing
of prejudice or undue burden if the discovery period
continues in compliance with the Court's Case Management
and Scheduling Order (Doc. 26). Thus, Plaintiff's request
for a general stay of discovery is denied.
Plaintiff's Request ...