United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Adrianna Shannon and Bonnie M. Smith, SHANNON LAW, LLC, for
4Brava, LLC, and LeDuc Gifts & Specialty Products, LLC.
William R. Skolnick, Andrew H. Bardwell, and Samuel M.
Johnson, SKOLNICK & JOYCE, P.A., for Daniel Sachs, DSC
Products, Inc., and DSC Products Holding, LLC.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
two related cases involve an abandoned business venture that
sought to sell plastic tumblers to large retailers. Daniel
Sachs and his companies DSC Products, Inc. (“DSC
Products”), and DSC Products Holding, LLC
(collectively, “Defendants”), were on one side of
the deal; the LeDuc family and its companies, LeDuc Gifts
& Speciality Products, LLC and 4Brava, LLC, were on the
other side (collectively, “Plaintiffs”). These
cases are set for trial later this year.
firm of Skolnick & Joyce, P.A., and attorneys William R.
Skolnick, Andrew H. Bardwell, and Samuel M. Johnson
(collectively, “Counsel”) are Defendants'
current counsel of record. In both cases, Counsel filed a
Motion to Withdraw as Counsel of Record Without Substitution.
(No. 15-2743, Mot. to Withdraw, Nov. 17, 2017, Docket No.
303; No. 15-2744, Mot. to Withdraw, Nov. 17, 2017, Docket No.
331.) United States Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz denied
Counsel's motion. (No. 15-2743, Order, Dec. 27, 2017,
Docket No. 314; No. 15-2744, Order, Dec. 27, 2017, Docket No.
343.) The Court overruled Counsel's Objections to the
Magistrate Judge's Order. (No. 15-2743, Order, Jan. 17,
2018, Docket No. 359; No. 15- 2744, Order, Jan. 17, 2018,
Docket No. 386.) Counsel's interlocutory appeal to the
Eighth Circuit is pending.
parties submitted to the Magistrate Judge their positions on
whether the Court should stay these matters pending
Counsel's appeal. Counsel asks that the Court issue a
stay, and 4Brava opposes a stay. (No. 15-2743, Counsel's
Letter, Feb. 1, 2018, Docket No. 363; No. 15-2743, Pls.'
Letter, Feb. 2, 2018, Docket No. 364; No. 15-2744,
Counsel's Letter, Feb. 1, 2018, Docket No. 392; No.
15-2744, Pls.' Letter, Feb. 2, 2018, Docket No. 393.) The
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”), recommending the Court deny
Counsel's request. (No. 15-2743, R&R, Feb. 14, 2018,
Docket No. 371; No. 15-2744, R&R, Feb. 14, 2018, Docket
No. 399.) Because the Magistrate Judge's recommendation
is not clearly erroneous or contrary to law, the Court will
overrule Counsel's objections and deny Counsel's
district court's review of a magistrate judge's
decision on nondispositive matters is “extremely
deferential.” See Roble v. Celestica Corp.,
627 F.Supp.2d 1008, 1014 (D. Minn. 2007). The Court will
reverse such a decision only if it is clearly erroneous or
contrary to law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A);
D. Minn. LR 72.2(a). For a decision to be clearly erroneous,
the Court must have a “definite and firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed.” Lisdahl v. Mayo
Found., 633 F.3d 712, 717 (8th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, 470 U.S.
564, 573 (1985)).
Court has the inherent power to stay proceedings of an action
to control its docket, to conserve judicial resources, and to
ensure that each matter is handled “with economy of
time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for
litigants.” Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S.
248, 254 (1936); Lunde v. Helms, 898 F.2d 1343, 1345
(8th Cir. 1990) (noting that power to stay
proceedings is incidental to court's power to manage its
docket); Kemp v. Tyson Seafood Grp., Inc., 19
F.Supp.2d 961, 964 (D. Minn. 1998). The party requesting
“a stay has the burden of showing specific hardship or
inequity if he or she is required to go forward.”
Jones v. Clinton, 72 F.3d 1354, 1364 (8th
Cir. 1996) (citing Landis, 299 U.S. at 254-56),
aff'd, 520 U.S. 681 (1997). The Court will also
“weigh the competing interests of the parties, and the
hardship or inequity a party may suffer if a stay is
granted.” In re Hanson, No. 13-2991, 2013 WL
6571594, at *1 (D. Minn. Dec. 13, 2013) (quoting Robinson
v. Bank of Am., N.A., No. 11-2284, 2012 WL 2885587, at
*1 (D. Minn. July 13, 2012)).
requests a stay of the proceedings pending their appeal of
the Court's denial of their motion to withdraw as
counsel. The Magistrate Judge - after determining that
“whether a stay must or should issue when the denial of
a motion to withdraw is appealed under the collateral order
doctrine is one of first impression in this district”
-concluded that, here, a stay was neither mandatory nor
recommended. (R&R at 6, 12.) That conclusion is neither
clearly erroneous nor contrary to law. Whether a stay is
mandatory here is unclear given the case law on interlocutory
appeals in analogous areas of law, such as sovereign immunity
and compelling arbitration; and the Magistrate Judge did not
clearly err in concluding that a stay here is discretionary.
(R&R at 6-8.) Moreover, the Magistrate Judge did not
clearly err in concluding that the Court should not stay the
proceedings under the four-factor analysis from Hilton v.
Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776 (1987). In particular,
granting a stay here would further delay this case, thereby
causing 4Brava additional concrete harm. (R&R at 11.)
on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings
herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Counsel's Objections [No. 15-2743, Docket No. 375; No.
15-2744, Docket No. 402] are OVERRULED, the
Report & Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge [No.
15-2743, Docket No. 371; No. 15-2744, Docket No. 399] is
ADOPTED, and Counsel's Request to Stay