United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court stayed the proceedings in this matter as to defendants
Cassie Maloney, Sheree King, Joyce Williams, Benzilla
Anderson, Mildred Patton, Charity Beasley, Shelby Spicer,
Felicia Deshields, Emily Nobles, and the Estate of Steve
Morrison pending resolution of those correctional
officers' motion to dismiss Ms. Foster's amended
complaint. (Doc. 107). The Court lifted the stay when it issued a
memorandum opinion denying the correctional officers'
motion to dismiss. (Doc. 108). The correctional officers seek
to reinstate the stay and extend the stay to all proceedings
pending the officers' appeal of the Court's denial of
their motion to dismiss. (Doc. 113). For the reasons stated
below, the Court denies the correctional officers' motion
to stay “all deadlines and proceedings in this matter
pending the outcome of the pending appeal.” (Doc. 113,
Foster filed her complaint in 2016, and the underlying
conduct occurred in 2014. No. party has taken a deposition in
the case, and witnesses' memories may be fading. Ms.
Foster has sued not only the correctional officers but also
more than one dozen other defendants, all of whom have
answered Ms. Foster's amended complaint. (See
Docs. 61, 64, 65, 73-82). The correctional officers may be
able to limit their participation in discovery and trial if
they succeed on appeal, but they will not escape discovery or
trial because they are witnesses who have relevant
information relating to Ms. Foster's claims against the
other 13 defendants in the case. The officers' version of
the events leading to Ms. Foster's alleged injuries sets
the backdrop for all of Ms. Foster's claims.
Court must balance the interests of the correctional officers
against the interests of all of the other parties in the
case. In Apostol v. Gallion, a decision that the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has cited with approval
when examining motions to stay pending appeal, the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals explained while a stay pending
appeal “protects the interests of the defendants
claiming qualified immunity, ” a stay also:
may injure the legitimate interests of other litigants and
the judicial system. During the appeal memories fade,
attorneys' meters tick, judges' schedules become
chaotic (to the detriment of litigants in other cases).
Plaintiffs' entitlements may be lost or undermined.
Apostol v. Gallion, 870 F.2d 1335, 1338 (7th Cir.
1989), cited with approval in Blinco v. Green Tree
Servicing, LLC, 366 F.3d 1249 (11th Cir. 2004). To
balance these interests, the Court must allow discovery to
proceed, to the extent that discovery does not delve into
immunity issues. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
requires nothing else. As the Court of Appeals stated in
Blinco, during a non-frivolous interlocutory appeal,
a district court “should not exercise control over the
aspects of the case involved in the appeal” -- here the
correctional officers' entitlement to qualified and
state-law immunities. Blinco, 366 F.3d at
1251. The Eleventh Circuit does not require a
blanket stay of all proceedings in a multi-party action.
extent that the correctional officers' efforts to avail
themselves of sovereign immunity give rise to logistical
issues concerning discovery, the parties may propose and the
Court may order limits on discovery that will protect the
correctional officers' interests until their appeal is
Court orders the parties to confer and propose revised
deadlines for an updated scheduling order.
Court asks the Clerk to please TERM Docs. 113, 118, and 122.
 Although the Court allowed the other
parties in the case to engage in paper discovery while the
Court evaluated the defendants' motions to dismiss (Doc.
107), Ms. Foster has indicated that the parties provided
“no discoverable information” after the Court
issued the partial stay. (Doc. 115, p. 2).
 Because there is an independent basis
for denying the motion to stay all proceedings, the Court
need not determine whether the officers' appeal is
frivolous. The Court stands by its memorandum opinion and
will not rehash here the reasons the Court finds that the
correctional officers are not entitled ...