United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO STAY
This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendants UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. (“UPS SCS”) and Jeremy Fletcher (collectively “Defendants”) requesting that the Court enter a stay (“Motion to Stay”) (DN 45) of the Settlement Conference Report and Order (“Settlement Conference Report and Order”) (DN 38) entered by the Court on March 27, 2015. Plaintiff Bruce Holly (“Plaintiff”) has filed a response (“Response”) (DN 47) to the Motion to Stay,  and Defendants have filed a reply (“Reply”). (DN 50.) This matter is now ripe for review.
1. The Settlement Conference and Subsequent Report and Order
The Court conducted a settlement conference in this matter on March 23, 2015. The parties did not reach an agreement. On March 27, 2015, the Court issued the Settlement Conference Report and Order. The Court found that Defendants and their counsel violated, in two ways, an Order of the Court (DN 36) that set requirements for the parties’ participation in the settlement conference: Defendants (1) sent for participation in the settlement conference a client representative who lacked full settlement authority; and (2) permitted at least one other UPS SCS-affiliated individual to participate telephonically in the settlement conference. (See generally DN 38 (discussing violations of DN 36, Order for Settlement Conference).) The Court further found that Defendants and their counsel were “substantially unprepared to participate – or d[id] not participate in good faith – in the conference, ” and that they “fail[ed] to obey a scheduling or other pretrial order, ” in violation of Rule 16(f)(1)(B) and (C) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id. at 7-8.)
The Court ordered Plaintiff to file documentation of his attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses incurred in preparing for and participating in the settlement conference, as well as any income lost by Plaintiff as a result of attending the settlement conference. (DN 38 at 9.) The Court ordered Defendants or their counsel, within ten days Plaintiff’s filing of such documentation, to (1) pay Plaintiff the amount requested; or (2) file with the Court any objections they have to Plaintiff’s reported attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses. (Id.) The Court ordered that any such objections were “to be limited to the reasonableness of the amounts claimed.” (Id.)
2. Subsequent Filings
The parties submitted a number of motions and other filings following the entry of the Settlement Conference Report and Order. On March 30, 2015, Defendants filed a motion to seal the Settlement Conference Report and Order. (DN 40.) On April 3, 2015, Plaintiff filed a statement of his attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses in relation to the March 23, 2015 settlement conference (“Bill of Costs”). (DN 42.) On April 9, 2015, Defendants filed the following: (1) a motion to seal their objections (DN 43) to the Settlement Conference Report and Order; (2) objections (“Objections”) (DN 44 (filed under seal)) to the Settlement Conference Report and Order; and (3) the Motion to Stay. (DN 45.) On April 17, 2015, Plaintiff filed his Response. (DN 47.) On May 1, 2015, Defendants filed their Reply. (DN 50.) The instant Memorandum Opinion and Order addresses only the Motion to Stay. (DN 45.)
3. Defendants’ Motion to Stay (DN 45)
Defendants and their counsel request that the Court “stay the execution” of the Settlement Conference Report and Order “until such time as the district judge has an opportunity to rule upon th[eir] objections.” (DN 45-1 at 1.) A substantial portion of the Motion to Stay (DN 45) is devoted to a discussion of the standards of review applied by District Court judges when reviewing objections to magistrate judges’ rulings on dispositive and nondispositive matters. Defendants cite two decisions for the proposition that the Sixth Circuit “has not definitively resolved the circumstances under which a magistrate judge’s [order issuing sanctions] constitutes a dispositive or nondispositive matter.” (DN 45-1 at 2, 2 n.1 (citing Massey v. City of Ferndale, 7 F.3d 506, 509-10 (6th Cir. 1993); Bennett v. General Caster Service of N. Gordon Co., Inc., 976 F.2d 995 (6th Cir. 1992)).) Defendants urge the Court to “stay the execution of the [Settlement Conference Report and Order] in this case irrespective of its characterization” of the order as dispositive or nondispositive. (Id. at 2.)
4. Plaintiff’s Response (DN 47)
As noted above, Plaintiff’s Response (DN 47) addresses multiple motions filed by Defendants. The Response includes a lengthy discussion of the events of the March 23, 2015 settlement conference, the Settlement Conference Report and Order, Defendants’ motions to seal, and Defendants’ Objections. With respect to the Motion to Stay, Plaintiff’s position is that the Court should not enter a stay. Plaintiff argues that Massey v. City of Ferndale, 7 F.3d 506, 509-10 (6th Cir. 1993), cited by Defendants in support of a stay, is inapposite as it involved a post-judgment order for sanctions pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, whereas this case involves a pretrial matter. (DN 47 at 7-8.)
5. Defendants’ Reply (DN 50)
On May 1, 2015, Defendants filed a Reply (DN 50) in support of their Motion to Stay. The bulk of the Reply concentrates on Defendants’ arguments in support of their Objections and two motions to seal. With respect to the Motion to Stay, Defendants simply request that the motion be granted “during the pendency of the Court’s ...