United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
OHIO VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION, INC., SIERRA CLUB, WEST VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS CONSERVANCY, INC. and VIRGINIA RIVERS COALITION, Plaintiffs,
ANDREW WHEELER, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency and CECIL RODRIGUES, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Hold This Case
in Abeyance and Alternative Motion to Extend Deadline for
Supplemental Filing. ECF No. 120. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Motion to Hold This Case in Abeyance is
DENIED, and the Alternative Motion to Extend
Deadlines for Supplemental Filing is
Motion to Hold this Case in Abeyance
power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent
in every court to control the disposition of the causes on
its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for
counsel, and for litigants.” Landis v. N. Am.
Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). “The party seeking
a stay must justify it by clear and convincing circumstances
outweighing potential harm to the party against whom it is
operative.” Williford v. Armstrong World Indus.,
Inc., 715 F.2d 124, 127 (4th Cir. 1983) (citing
Landis, 299 U.S. at 255).
sole rationale offered by Defendants to stay the case is the
pending appeal of Sanitary Board of the City of
Charleston v. Wheeler, et al., No. 18-2385, in the
Fourth Circuit. Mem. Supp. Mot. Stay., at 2, ECF No.
121. Defendants argue that staying these proceedings shall
conserve judicial resources and ensure a ruling in-line with
a potential future precedent.
basing a motion to stay on the outcome of similar pending
litigation is generally insufficient. “Only in rare
circumstances will a litigant in one cause be compelled to
stand aside while a litigant in another settles the rule of
law that will define the rights of both.”
Landis, 299 U.S. at 255. Though Defendants claim
that such deferment is routine, they neglect to offer any
supporting caselaw. Defs.' Reply, p. 1, ECF No.
Defendants fail to offer justification as to why any
potential harm to them would outweigh that of the Plaintiffs.
Instead, they only attack the prejudice of delay as
“illogical, unduly speculative, and potentially
prejudicial to others, ” but do not expound upon that
assertion. Id. at 2. As a matter of course, this
Court shall not postpone the administration of justice on the
speculative outcome of a separate case, as delay is
inherently prejudicial to all parties wishing to settle a
Defendants' absence of any rationale on the matter,
Plaintiffs claim that a delay in these matters runs counter
to the equitable administration of justice stands unopposed.
Here, Plaintiffs are entitled to a timely decision of their
request for attorney's fees and costs, regardless of the
pendency of other similarly situated litigation. Because
Defendants have not met their burden, the Court
DENIES the motion.
Alternative Motion to Extend Deadlines
ruling on a motion to extend deadlines, a district court
“may, with good cause, ” grant the requested
extension. Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1); see also Lujan v.
Nat' l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 896 (1990)
(requiring a showing of cause). In their original motion,
Defendants offer no rationale as to why an extension is
warranted here. It is not until the reply brief that
Defendants' counsel asserts the pressure of “other
federal court cases . . ., as well as family
commitments.” Defs.' Reply, at 3.
Defendants ask “only that [they] be afforded the full
two-week period in the Court's original order.”
Defs.' Reply, at 3. The Court is not
unsympathetic, the Court notes that Defendants were permitted
the full two-week period, which began on May 10, 2019.
However, Defendants' request does not appear to be
dilatory, thus the Court GRANTS the
alternative motion. Defendants shall submit their
supplemental brief no later than June 7,
2019. Plaintiffs may file a response to this
supplemental brief no later than June 14,
Court DIRECTS the Clerk to send a certified
copy of this Order to all counsel of record, ...