Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Party’s Motion for a Stay Pending a Decision in Another Case to Which It Is Not a Party Is a Motion for an Indefinite Stay — Standards for Indefinite Stay

Red River Coal Co. v. United States, 2012 U.S. Claims LEXIS 32 (Fed. Cl. Jan. 31, 2012):

When determining whether to issue an indefinite stay, the Court must (1) "identify a pressing need for the stay" and (2) "balance interests favoring a stay against interests frustrated by the action." Cherokee Nation of Okla., 124 F.3d at 1416.

Footnote 1. Plaintiff seems to argue that the stay it requests is for a definite period of time-until the Supreme Court resolves a possible circuit split. Accordingly, plaintiff proposes to apply the standard used when a court is assessing a motion to stay an order or judgment. Br. in Supp. of Pl.'s Mot. to Continue Stay of Proceedings 14-17. Although plaintiff requests a stay that would end upon the occurrence of certain specific events, case law indicates that the stay plaintiff requests-one pending the outcome of another case with which the plaintiff is not currently involved-is an indefinite stay. See Cherokee Nation of Okla., 124 F.3d at 1414 (vacating an "indefinite" stay that was to remain "pending the prosecution of quiet title actions in a separate forum"); CTI-Container Leasing Corp. v. Uiterwyk Corp., 685 F.2d 1284, 1288 (11th Cir. 1982) (noting that a district court's stay was for an indefinite period when it was issued pending the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal's determination as to its jurisdiction over the defendant's third-party claims); Hines v. D'Artois, 531 F.2d 726, 731-32 (5th Cir. 1976) (assessing the propriety of an "indefinite" stay that would have remained in effect for a period of time between eighteen months and five years pending the initiation and subsequent outcome of administrative proceedings); cf. In Re Sacramento Mun. Util. Dist., 395 F. App'x 684, 688 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (finding that a stay was not "indefinite" when it was issued pending a single action that the plaintiff could control because the plaintiff was directly involved). Notably, Judges Futey and Bush found that the similar stays requested by the plaintiffs in their cases are stays of indefinite duration. See Clinchfield Coal Co., 2011 WL 6369768, at *3; Consolidation Coal Co., 2011 WL 6098276, at *4. This Court sees no basis for a different finding in this case.

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