United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
D.R., as a minor through parent and next friend, Dawn Richardson, et al., Plaintiffs,
Michigan Department of Education, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR STAY OF
PROCEEDINGS [64, 65, 68]; DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
J. TARNOW SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 16, 2017, all Defendants filed notices of appeal of
the Court's Order  denying in part Defendants'
motions to dismiss. [Dkt. #55, 57, 59]. On October 23, 2017,
Defendant Michigan Department of Education filed a Motion for
Stay of Proceedings  and a Corrected Motion for Stay of
Proceedings . On October 24, 2017, Defendant Genesee
Intermediate School District filed a Response ,
concurring in Defendant Michigan Department of
Education's Motion for Stay and objecting to the
Court's October 3, 2017 [sic] scheduling order. Also on
October 24, 2017, Defendant Flint Community Schools filed a
Motion to Suspend Pretrial Proceedings, Stay Proceedings, or
Adjourn Hearing .
Court held a Status Conference on October 26, 2017. On
October 27, 2017, Defendant Michigan Department of Education
filed a Motion to Adjourn Dates . On October 30, 2017,
Flint Community Schools filed a Notice of Joinder in Motion
to Adjourn Dates . Plaintiffs filed a Response  to
Defendants' motions on October 30, 2017. On October 31,
2017, Defendant Michigan Department of Education filed a
Notice of Joinder/Concurrence in Motion to Adjourn Dates
. Defendant Michigan Department of Education filed a
Reply  on November 1, 2017.
reasons stated below, the Court DENIES
Defendants' motions for stay of proceedings. The Court
also DENIES Defendants' motion to
are school-age children who are at risk of developing
disabilities as a result of elevated levels of lead in the
drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Plaintiffs bring claims of
systemic violations of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) against all Defendants.
September 29, 2017, the Court entered an Order , which,
among other things, denied Defendants' motion to dismiss
for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the
IDEA. On October 2, 2017, the Court held a Status Conference.
Following discussions at the Status Conference, the Court
scheduled a hearing for December 4, 2017 on Plaintiffs'
Motion for Preliminary Injunction .
October 16, 2017, all Defendants filed Notices of Appeal of
the Court's Order . [Dkt. #55, 57, 59]. Defendants
seek to appeal the Court's ruling that excuses
Plaintiffs' failure to exhaust because they have alleged
systemic violations of the IDEA.
submit that the Court's Order  denying
Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust
under the IDEA is immediately appealable because it
constitutes a final order under the collateral-order
doctrine. Defendants further submit that because filing a
notice of appeal divests the district court of jurisdiction,
the Court must stay the proceedings pending appeal.
Alternatively, should this Court find that it has
jurisdiction, Defendants argue that the Court should, in its
discretion, grant Defendants' motions for stay or adjourn
the hearing scheduled for December 4, 2017.
maintain that the Court's Order  denying
Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust
under the IDEA is not a final order and is therefore
non-appealable. Plaintiffs further maintain that the Court
need not stay the proceedings because the filing of a notice
of appeal of a non-appealable order does not divest the
district court of jurisdiction. Additionally, Plaintiffs
argue that the Court should find that neither a stay nor an
adjournment of the hearing is warranted.
Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction over final decisions of the
district courts. 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Generally, the filing
of a notice of appeal divests the district court of
jurisdiction of aspects of the case involved in the appeal.
Griggs v. Provident Consumers Discount Co., 459 U.S.
56, 58 (1982). However, “. . . the district court
retains jurisdiction over an action when . . . an appeal [is]
from a non-appealable non-final order . . . .”
Lewis v. Alexander, 987 F.2d 392, 394-95 (6th Cir.
1993). The purpose of this rule is to prevent litigants from
“. . . temporarily depriv[ing] the court of
jurisdiction at any and every critical juncture merely by
filing a notice of appeal from any non-appealable order
entered in district court.” Cochran v. Birkel,
651 F.2d 1219, 1222 (6th Cir. 1981) (internal quotation marks
to the collateral-order doctrine, courts of appeals have
jurisdiction over a small class of non-final orders. See
Will v. Hallock, 546 U.S. 345, 345-46 (2006) (noting
that the “small class” includes orders rejecting
absolute, qualified, or Eleventh Amendment immunity). To fall
within the doctrine, the order must: “(1) conclusively
determine the disputed question [;] (2) resolve an important
issue completely separate from the merits [;] and (3) be
effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final
judgment.” Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted). The party seeking invocation of the doctrine bears
the burden of demonstrating that all three prongs are
satisfied. See Swanson v. DeSantis, 606 F.3d 829,
833 (6th Cir. 2010). “The justification for immediate
appeal must therefore be sufficiently strong to overcome the
usual benefits of deferring appeal until litigation
concludes.” Mohawk Industries, Inc. v.
Carpenter, 558 U.S. 100, 107 (2009).
Defendants' application for appeal does not
automatically stay the proceedings in this Court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) (emphasis added).
Nonetheless, a district court may, in its discretion, grant a
stay upon consideration of four factors:
(1) [T]he likelihood that the party seeking the stay will
prevail on the merits of the appeal; (2) the likelihood that
the moving party will be irreparably harmed absent a stay;
(3) the prospect that others will be harmed if the court