United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
JOSEPH TIGER D. PRINCE, Plaintiff,
OFFICER KNIGHT and OFFICER STROUD, Defendants.
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate at Augusta State Medical Prison
(“ASMP”) in Grovetown, Georgia, filed this civil
rights case in the Northern District of Georgia and has paid
the $400.00 filing fee. United States District Judge Thomas
W. Thrash, Jr., dismissed one Defendant and transferred the
case to the Southern District of Georgia because the five
other Defendants were located in this District, and the
events giving rise to Plaintiff's claims against them
also occurred here. (See doc. nos. 11, 13.) Chief
United States District Judge J. Randal Hall dismissed three
of those five Defendants. (Doc. no. 24.) Chief Judge Hall
also denied a prior motion to amend the second amended
complaint because Plaintiff's attempts to add time-barred
claims and claims about his medical treatment were futile.
(Id. at 4-5.) The only two Defendants who remain are
Officers Knight and Stroud, individuals who are alleged to
have used excessive force against Plaintiff on August 8,
2017, upon his return to ASMP after neck surgery.
(See doc. no. 10.)
March 28, 2018, Defendants filed a pre-answer motion to
dismiss and a motion to stay discovery. (Doc. nos. 29, 30.)
Plaintiff requested and received an extension of time until
April 30, 2018, to file his opposition. Plaintiff responded
with a “Motion for Leave of Court to File an Expanded
Document, ” which consists of a seventy-one page
affidavit and fifty-four exhibits totaling over 200 pages.
(Doc. no. 37.) The Court GRANTS IN PART this
motion. To the extent this filing can be liberally construed
as a request to file briefing in excess of the twenty-six
pages allowed by Local Rule 7.1, the Court will consider the
relevant portions of the voluminous filing, including any
arguments made in opposition to the motion to stay, as well
as the motion to dismiss. However, as discussed in detail
below, any arguments unrelated to the pending civil rights
claim against Defendants Knight and Stroud are irrelevant to
the issues before this Court and shall be disregarded.
Motion to Stay
request a stay of discovery pending resolution of their
pre-answer motion to dismiss, in which they seek dismissal of
the case in its entirety based on Plaintiff's alleged
failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Plaintiff
requests that merits discovery proceed, but he does not claim
he needs any discovery to contest the motion to dismiss.
(Doc. no. 37, pp. 65, 68.) For the reasons set forth below,
the Court GRANTS the motion to stay. (Doc.
“[C]ourt has broad inherent power to stay discovery
until preliminary issues can be settled which may be
dispositive of some important aspect of the case.”
Feldman v. Flood, 176 F.R.D. 651, 652 (M.D. Fla.
1997). Before deciding to stay discovery, the Court should:
balance the harm produced by a delay in discovery against the
possibility that the motion will be granted and entirely
eliminate the need for such discovery. This involves weighing
the likely costs and burdens of proceeding with discovery. It
may be helpful to take a preliminary peek at the merits of
the allegedly dispositive motion to see if on its face there
appears to be an immediate and clear possibility that it will
Id. (internal citation and quotation omitted).
requested and received an extension of time to respond to the
motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff has responded with a nearly
300-page filing. He does not contend that he cannot properly
oppose the motion to dismiss in the absence of discovery.
Indeed, Plaintiff has provided detailed argument and exhibits
regarding exhaustion. (See, e.g., doc. no. 37, pp.
53-67 & Ex. 46.) Plaintiff's opposition to the motion
to stay is based on his desire to conduct merits discovery,
including some discovery unrelated to the only claim
remaining in this case concerning use of force on August 8,
2017. (Id. at 65, 68.) Based on a preliminary peek
at the defense motion to dismiss, the Court finds an
immediate and clear possibility of a ruling that would
potentially dispose of the entire case.
balancing the costs and burdens to the parties, the Court
concludes discovery should be stayed pending resolution of
the motion to dismiss. See Chudasama v. Mazda Motor
Corp., 123 F.3d 1353, 1367 (11th Cir. 1997)
(“Facial 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, however, be resolved before
discovery begins.” (footnote omitted)); see also
Moore v. Potter, 141 Fed.Appx. 803, 807-08 (11th Cir.
2005) (“[D]elaying a ruling on the motion to dismiss
‘encourages abusive discovery and, if the court
ultimately dismisses the claim, imposes unnecessary costs. .
. . [A]ny legally unsupported claim that would unduly enlarge
the scope of discovery should be eliminated before the
discovery stage, if possible.'”).
the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to
stay, (doc. no. 30), and STAYS all discovery
in this action pending final resolution of Defendants'
motion to dismiss.
Miscellaneous Information and Requests Contained Within
Response to Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Stay
his response to Defendants' motion to dismiss and motion
to stay discovery, Plaintiff has provided the Court with all
manner of information unrelated to this civil rights
complaint pending against Defendants Knight and Stroud.
Plaintiff has provided detailed information and exhibits
concerning his underlying conviction, alleged problems with
his sentence, and prior federal habeas corpus proceedings in
the Middle District of Georgia. (See, e.g., doc. no.
37, pp. 3-50, Exs. 1-34.) Plaintiff also describes his
citizenship and status as a Special Attorney General of The
Nation of New Zion. (See, e.g., id. at
51-53, Exs. 43-45.) In the closing of his affidavit,
Plaintiff requests not only that Defendants' motions to
dismiss and stay discovery be denied, but also that this
Court make rulings about the validity of his underlying
criminal conviction, as well as “revisit” and
“amend” his previously denied motion for
injunctive relief, (see doc. nos. 22, 23, 25, 27).
civil rights case about the actions of two individuals at
ASMP on August 8, 2017, is not an open forum for Plaintiff to
air every grievance he has against prison officials as they
occur, or to seek habeas corpus relief for his underlying
conviction. Nor may Plaintiff “amend” or
“revisit” a motion for injunctive relief that has
already been disposed of by simply announcing he is
incorporating by reference ...