United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Central States Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Fund; Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund; and Charles A. Whobrey, Trustee; Plaintiffs,
Lakeville Transportation, Inc.; Wren Corporation; Summit Renovation and Design, Inc.; LME, Inc.; Wren Equipment, LLC; Terminal Properties, LLC; Superior Properties Management, Inc.; Wren Enterprises, LLC; R&L Cartage Properties, LLC; Lakeville Logistics, Inc.; Iowa Terminal Properties, LLC; Rock Island Properties, LLC; JMW Properties, LLC; Omaha Properties, LLC; Turk Trust, LLC; Roger Wilsey; Shari Taylor Wilsey; and Finish Line Express, LLC; Defendants.
Katherine Menendez United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court following the withdrawal of
counsel for LME, Inc., and Wren Equipment, LLC, and the
Assignment for Benefit of Creditors of the same two
defendants to Alliance Management, LLC. The Court recently
held a status conference to discuss this matter and sought
input from all parties regarding whether to enter a complete
or partial stay. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
orders that this matter be STAYED in most respects. The
deadlines currently contained in the Pretrial Scheduling
Order (ECF 107) are suspended. Formal discovery is suspended
as well. The Court will hold a status conference in 60 days
to discuss whether the stay should continue to remain in
effect, should be lifted, or should be altered in some way.
determining whether to grant a stay, the Court considers the
(1) whether a stay would unduly prejudice or present a clear
tactical disadvantage to the non-moving party; (2) whether a
stay will simplify the issues in question and trial of the
case; and (3) whether discovery is complete and whether a
trial date has been set.
Card Tech. Corp. v. DataCard Corp., No. 05-cv-2546
(MJD/SRN), 2007 WL 551615 at *3 (D. Minn. Feb. 21, 2007). The
Court has substantial discretion to weigh these factors in
light of the unique circumstances of the case before it and
to decide whether a stay is appropriate using its inherent
power to manage litigation. See Honeywell Intern., Inv.
V. Furuno Elec. Co. Ltd., No. 09-cv-3601 (MJD/AJB), 2010
WL 3023529 at *2 (D. Minn. July 30, 2010) (citations
this legal backdrop, the Court finds that a stay for at least
the next 60 days is appropriate for two reasons. First, two
of the lead defendants are now unrepresented, and
corporations may not appear pro se in federal court.
Antioch Co. v. Scrapbook Borders, Inc., 210 F.R.D.
645, 647 (D. Minn. 2002); see also Rowland v. California
Men's Colony, 506 U.S. 194, 202 (1993). Unless those
defendants are able to obtain counsel, they will be found in
default, precluding a ruling on the merits. See Forsythe
v. Hales, 255 F.3d 487, 490 (8th Cir. 2001);
Antioch, 210 F.R.D. at 647 n.1. Second, these two
lead defendants have significant amounts of discovery that
will need to be produced in order to resolve this litigation.
However, due to the receivership, they cannot readily provide
that discovery, whether they are treated as defendants or as
third parties. This reality will render discovery very
difficult, if not impossible, in the near term.
the status conference, some defendants suggested that this
matter should be stayed except as to settlement discussions.
The Court agrees with this course of action. The Court is
willing to schedule this matter for a settlement conference
for the remaining defendants if the parties first undertake
sincere efforts to resolve the litigation through direct
negotiations. Therefore, during the next 60 days, the
remaining defendants and plaintiffs should engage in focused
settlement discussions with their respective clients and with
one another. These discussions must include the exchange of
specific offers and demands and must involve a sincere effort
to resolve the litigation without further expense and without
further intervention of the Court. A telephonic status
conference to discuss next steps in this matter will be
scheduled for Tuesday, November 12, 2019. One week prior to
the telephonic status conference, counsel for each party must
email the Court a confidential communication to update the
Court regarding the status of these negotiations. In
addition, counsel for the receiver is invited to participate
in this call and to submit any communication it believes
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
above matter is STAYED for 60 days.
parties are ordered to engage in meaningful settlement
or before November 5, 2019, counsel for each party must email
the Court a confidential communication to update the Court
regarding the status of the settlement negotiations. Emails
should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The Court declines to determine
whether the receivership at issue, entered in accordance with
Minnesota Statutes chapters 576 and 577, requires a stay as a
matter of law, a point about which the parties disagree.
Because the Court determines that a stay is appropriate
whether it is mandatory or ...