United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
MIRANDO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon review of the United
States and Scottrade, Inc.'s (“Scottrade”)
Joint Motion for Stay of Discovery and for Pretrial Relief
from Related Case Order and Track Two Notice with Local Rule
3.01(g) Certification of Counsel (Doc. 52) filed on November
24, 2017. On May 22, 2017, Plaintiff, who is proceeding
pro se, filed a Complaint against various Defendants
including certain United States officials in their individual
and official capacities. Doc. 1. On September 1, 2017,
Defendant Scottrade filed a motion to compel arbitration and
to stay or dismiss the proceedings against it pending
arbitration. Doc. 20. On October 11, 2017, the United States,
as the real party in interest, filed a Motion to Dismiss.
Doc. 26. On November 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed a response to
the motion to dismiss, which includes a request for limited
jurisdictional discovery. Doc. 50.
and the United States seek to stay discovery and a case
management conference pending judicial resolution of the
motion to dismiss and the motion to compel arbitration
because they assert Plaintiff's claims are based on the
frivolous argument that the federal income tax system is
voluntary. Doc. 52 at 1. Plaintiff opposes staying discovery,
but does not oppose staying a case management conference.
Id. at 8.
Eleventh Circuit has noted that “[f]acial challenges to
the legal sufficiency of a claim or defense, such as a motion
to dismiss based on failure to state a claim for relief,
should . . . be resolved before discovery begins.”
Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1367
(11th Cir. 1997). “[N]either the parties nor the court
have any need for discovery before the court rules on the
motion” because the dispute is purely legal and
involves no issues of fact. Id.; Horsley v. Feldt,
304 F.3d 1125, 1131 n.2 (11th Cir. 2002). Chudasama
does not stand, however, for the proposition that all
discovery in every circumstance 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, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 19, 2009). “Instead,
Chudasama and its progeny ‘stand for the much
narrower proposition that courts should not delay ruling on a
likely meritorious motion to dismiss while undue discovery
costs mount.'” Id. (citing In re Winn
Dixie Stores, Inc., No. 3:04-cv-194-J-33MCR, 2007 WL
1877887, at *1 (M.D. Fla. June 28, 2007)).
request to stay discovery pending a resolution of a motion is
rarely appropriate unless resolution of the motion will
dispose of the entire case.” McCabe v. Foley,
233 F.R.D. 683, 685 (M.D. Fla. 2006) (citation omitted). To
this end, the court must take a “preliminary
peek” at the merits of the dispositive motion to see if
it “appears to be clearly meritorious and truly case
dispositive.” Id. (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). This does not require the Court to
decide on a pending dispositive motion. Feldman v.
Flood, 176 F.R.D. 651, 652 (M.D. Fla. 1997). The Court
also must balance the harm produced by a delay in discovery
against the possibility the motion will be granted and
entirely eliminate the need for such discovery, which
involves “weighing the likely costs and burdens of
proceeding with discovery.” McCabe, 233 F.R.D.
at 685 (citation and quotation marks omitted). The Court has
broad discretion to stay discovery pending resolution of a
dispositive motion. Hovermale v. Sch. Bd. of Hillsborough
Cty Fla., 128 F.R.D. 287, 289 (M.D. Fla. 1989).
after taking a “preliminary peek” at the motion
to dismiss and the motion to compel arbitration, the Court
finds them meritorious and will stay discovery and a case
management conference until judicial resolution of these
motions. See McCabe, 233 F.R.D. at 685. Furthermore,
at this early stage of proceedings, staying discovery and a
case management conference will not cause any prejudice to
the parties. See Id. Accordingly, the Court will
grant the present motion to stay and deny without prejudice
Plaintiff's request for limited jurisdictional discovery.
it is hereby
1. The United States and Scottrade, Inc.'s Joint Motion
for Stay of Discovery and for Pretrial Relief from Related
Case Order and Track Two Notice with Local Rule 3.01(g)
Certification of Counsel (Doc. 52) is
2. Plaintiffs Request for Limited Jurisdictional Discovery
(Doc. 50) is DENIED without prejudice.
2. Discovery is STAYED pending judicial
resolution of the motion to compel arbitration (Doc. 20) and
the motion to dismiss (Doc. 26).
3. The parties shall hold a case management conference and
file a case management report within FOURTEEN (14)
DAYS from the latter of the Court's ruling on
the motion to compel arbitration (Doc. 20) or the motion to
dismiss (Doc. 26).