One more federal court has come out against proceeding with expensive and potentially unnecessary class discovery pending the resolution of dispositive motions.
The facts are straightforward: In Silva v. Connected Investors, No. 7:21-CV-74-BO, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176184 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 16, 2021), defendant filed a motion to stay discovery while its motion for judgment on the pleadings in a putative TCPA class action was pending. Defendant highlighted that the motion, if successful, had the potential to dispose of the entire case, which would moot the need for class discovery. Defendant also pointed to the broad-reaching class discovery Plaintiff had requested, and highlighted the burden involved in responding to that discovery.
Although Plaintiff opposed, claiming four months into the litigation was too late for the request and arguing potential prejudice via the loss of evidence from third parties, the Court found for defendant. It agreed that defendant’s motion could terminate the entire litigation, and observed that discovery was not necessary to resolve the motion for judgment on the pleadings. As for any prejudice to Plaintiff, the Court found that this prejudice was outweighed by the prejudice to defendant if it were forced to engage in costly and broad-reaching class discovery.
Notably, the Court granted defendant’s motion even after a scheduling order was entered, and after defendant’s discovery responses were due. Silva affirms the important point that there is no reason to proceed with costly class discovery while dispositive motions that could dispose of the entire case are pending – especially where there is a significant burden in responding to that discovery