United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael J. McShane United States District Judge.
April 29, 2019, this Court issued a preliminary injunction
stopping the implementation of certain rules (the
“Final Rule”) that would alter the family
planning program established by Title X of the Public Health
Services Act, 42 U.S.C. § 300 et seq.
Defendants appealed, and now move this Court to stay any
district court proceedings pending appellate review of the
injunction. Plaintiffs oppose the motion, pointing out that
district courts are generally discouraged from staying
matters pending appeal.
case presents unique circumstances that warrant a stay.
First, the Ninth Circuit has indicated that it will hear the
merits of the injunction at oral argument on September 23,
2019- just one week away-and proceed
“expeditiously.” Second, the issues presented in
this case are almost entirely legal in nature. An opinion
from the Ninth Circuit will most certainly provide guidance
for this Court moving forward. Finally, the threat of
extended harm to plaintiffs at this point, following a stay
of this court's injunction by the Ninth Circuit panel,
does not outweigh judicial efficiency.
these reasons, Defendants' Motion for Stay of Proceedings
Pending Appeal of this Court's Preliminary Injunction,
ECF No. 176, is GRANTED.
Supreme Court has long recognized a “power inherent in
every court to control the disposition of the causes on its
docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for
counsel, and for litigants.” Landis v. North
American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). The Ninth
Where it is proposed that a pending proceeding be stayed, the
competing interests which will be affected by the granting or
refusal to grant a stay must be weighed. Among these
competing interests are the possible damage which may result
from the granting of a stay, the hardship or inequity which a
party may suffer in being required to go forward, and the
orderly course of justice measured in terms of the
simplifying or complicating of issues, proof, and questions
of law which could be expected to result from a stay. See
Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-255, 57
S.Ct. 163, 81 L.Ed. 153.
CMAX, Inc. v. Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir.
claims against defendants involve multiple violations of the
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A)-(D),
as well as constitutional challenges to the Final Rule.
See Pls.' Compl. 92-102, ECF No. 1. With a fully
developed administrative record and virtually no issues of
fact, both parties agree that the issues in this case are
legal in nature. Because the Ninth Circuit has indicated it
will hear the merits of the injunction at an oral argument
scheduled next week, its opinion will almost certainly inform
or bind this Court moving forward on those same legal issues.
This is an expedited appeal that will not be protracted over
the course of years. The interest of judicial economy
outweighs the threat of extended harm to plaintiffs in favor
of allowing a stay.
argue that the Ninth Circuit rehearing en banc will only
address the three-judge panel's stay of the district
courts' injunctions. Plts.' Resp. in Opp'n to
Mot. 12, ECF No. 181. Despite the Ninth Circuit instructing
the parties to “be prepared to discuss at oral argument
the district courts' preliminary injunction orders on the
merits, ” Plaintiffs argue that a decision on the
merits is only a mere possibility. 9th Cir. Order 2, Aug. 1,
2019, ECF No. 180.
assuming that the en banc court does not reach the merits of
the preliminary injunction, the reality is that the merits of
the preliminary injunction are baked into the three-judge
panel's order staying the injunction. The three-judge
panel that granted defendants' motions for stay of the
preliminary injunctions had to consider the merits of the
injunctions themselves. 9th Cir. Order on Mots. for Stay,
June 20, 2019, ECF No. 165. Thus, when the en banc court
rehears the merits of defendants' motions for stay, it is
reasonable to assume the en banc court will also consider the
merits of the injunctions themselves.
the potential harm to plaintiffs does not outweigh the
judicial efficiency of allowing a brief stay pending
“expeditious” appellate review of almost entirely
legal issues. Plaintiffs argue that severe and extended harm
will result if the case does not proceed expeditiously to
final judgment. See Plts.' Resp. in Opp'n to
Mot. 1-2, ECF No. 181; Plts.' Mem. In Opp'n to Mot.
2, ECF No. 183. This Court has already agreed with the
Plaintiffs that the harm to the public that will result from
the Final Rule was such that it required immediate injunctive
relief. That finding was squarely rejected on appeal. Op.
& Order, ECF No. 142. Allowing a brief stay in litigation
while the Ninth Circuit expeditiously considers the stay of
the injunction, and likely the merits of the injunction
itself, will ultimately benefit both parties and this Court
rely on the Ninth Circuit's recent decision in
California v. Azar, 911 F.3d 558, 583 (9th Cir.
2018) to support the usual disfavor of district courts
“delay[ing] trial preparation to await an interim
ruling on a preliminary injunction.” The Ninth Circuit
explained that “because the fully developed factual
record may be materially different from that initially before
the district court, our disposition of appeals from most