United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
EDGARDO RAMOS, U.S.D.J.
Franks (“Franks”) and Theodor Treasure
(“Treasure”) (together, “Plaintiffs”)
bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and
1988, alleging claims for unreasonable search and seizure,
false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, and
malicious prosecution. Doc. 9 (“Am. Compl.”) at
1. Before the Court is the City of New
York's (“Defendant”) motion to stay
the action until the criminal prosecution of third-party
Dashawn Johnson (“Johnson”) and a Civilian
Complaint Review Board (“CCRB”) investigation of
one of the defendants conclude. Doc. 10 (“Mot. to
Stay”) at 1. For the reasons stated below, the motion
is DENIED without prejudice
filed this § 1983 action based on three incidents with
the police: an arrest on October 20, 2016, a stop on December
24, 2016, and a stop on March 7th, 2017. Am. Compl. at 4-5.
October 20th, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Plaintiffs were in
Treasure's car which was stopped at the side of the road
near 225th St. and Schefflien Avenue in the Bronx, New York.
Id. at 4. Police officers approached in an unmarked
car, and Treasure drove the car around the corner where
Plaintiffs were subsequently stopped, searched, and arrested
for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, in
violation of N.Y. State Penal Law Section 265.03.
Id. The police found no weapons in Plaintiffs'
possession. Id. Plaintiffs allege that there was no
probable cause for this stop, that Treasure's car was
subjected to a warrantless search, and that they were
subjected to excessive force near the car, at the 47th
precinct, and at central booking. Id.
maintains that another individual, Johnson, who was
separately apprehended for possession of two firearms, fled
from Treasure's car when the officers approached. Mot. to
Stay at 1. The Plaintiffs aver that Johnson was not in the
car at the time of their arrest. Am. Compl. at 5. Johnson was
indicted for criminal possession of the two firearms and the
charges against him are currently pending. Mot. to Stay at 1.
Bronx District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute
the Plaintiffs due to insufficient evidence to support the
weapons charge as to them. Doc. 12 (“Pls.'
Opp'n”) at 6. As to the remaining incidents alleged
in the Complaint, it is undisputed that Johnson was not with
the Plaintiffs on December 24th, 2016 or March 7th, 2017. Am.
Compl. at 5. Plaintiffs allege that on both of these dates,
Officer Vega (“Vega”) stopped Treasure's car
and harassed them. Id.
there is an ongoing CCRB investigation into Plaintiffs'
claims that Vega harassed them on December 24, 2016 in
violation of N.Y.P.D. rules and regulations. Mot. to Stay at
question before the Court is whether to stay the instant case
while the non-parallel criminal action against Johnson
proceeds. It is well settled that federal district courts
have discretion to stay civil matters pending a parallel
criminal case, United States v. Kordel, 397 U.S. 1,
12 n.27 (1970), and courts in this circuit have held that the
civil and criminal cases do not need to be completely
parallel to warrant a stay. See United States v. Banco
Cafetero Int'l, 107 F.R.D. 361, 365 (S.D.N.Y. 1985)
(noting that the identity of the parties and issues addressed
in the civil and criminal cases need not be identical)
aff'd, 797 F.2d 1154, 1163 (2d Cir. 1986).
Nevertheless, a stay of a civil case is an extraordinary
remedy, Jackson v. Johnson, 985 F.Supp. 422, 424
(S.D.N.Y. 1997), and the strongest case for a stay is when
the party under criminal indictment is also the party
defending a civil suit arising from the same set of facts.
Volmar Distribs., Inc. v. New York Post Co., 152
F.R.D. 36, 39 (S.D.N.Y. 1993).
party moving for a stay “bears the burden of
establishing its need.” Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A
v. LY USA Inc., 676 F.3d 83, 97 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting
Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708 (1997)). If the
moving party cannot establish that it will suffer undue
prejudice or that its constitutional rights will be violated,
the non-moving party should not be delayed in its efforts to
diligently proceed to sustain its claim. Transatlantic
Reinsurance Co. v. Salatore Ditrapani, Int'l, No. 90
Civ. 3884 (JMC), 1991 WL 12135, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 28,
1991) (quoting Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis Inc.
v. Malon S. Andrus, Inc., 486 F.Supp. 1118, 1119
determining whether to grant a stay, the court balances the
following factors: “1) the extent to which the issues
in the criminal case overlap with those presented in the
civil case; 2) the status of the case, including whether the
defendants have been indicted; 3) the private interests of
the plaintiffs in proceeding expeditiously weighed against
the prejudice to plaintiffs caused by the delay; 4) the
private interests of and burden on the defendants; 5) the
interests of the courts; and 6) the public interest.”
Trs. of the Plumbers & Pipefitters Nat'l Pension
Fund v. Transworld Mech., 886 F.Supp. 1134, 1139