United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NO.
Y. Pearson, United States District Judge
is Defendants Ryan H. Tennebar and Colin Tennebar's Joint
Motion to Stay Show Cause Hearing, Pending Resolution of
Criminal Investigation (ECF No. 321). For the following
reasons, the Court denies this second motion to stay (ECF
suit originates from Plaintiff's allegations that
Defendants stole Plaintiff's wound-care vacuums and
marketed them as their own. On Plaintiff's Motion to Show
Cause (ECF No. 269), the Court set a Show Cause
Hearing for August 16, 2017. See July 17, 2017
non-document Order. Because Defendant Ryan Tennebar
faced sentencing in a parallel criminal matter, the Court
granted Defendant's first motion to stay the case until
the first week of November, 2017. See ECF No. 317.
Defendant Ryan Tennebar has been sentenced in that criminal
case, United States v. Tennebar, No.
1:17-CR-00176-JRA-1 (N.D. Ohio) On October 18, 2017, to
forty-eight (48) months of incarceration and three years'
supervised release. ECF No. 325 at PageID#: 5594.
Defendants Ryan Tennebar and Colin Tennebar jointly move to
stay the case until the first week of February 2018, based on
the assertion that they are subject to an ongoing
investigation. ECF No. 321. Counsel for the United
States has confirmed that an investigation is ongoing, but no
charges are imminent. See ECF No. 325-1.
in the Constitution “requires a civil action to be
stayed in the face of a pending or impending criminal
indictment[.]” F.T.C. v. E.M.A. Nationwide,
Inc., 767 F.3d 611, 627 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Chao v. Fleming, 498 F.Supp.2d 1034, 1037 (W.D.
Mich. 2007)). “In the absence of substantial prejudice
to the rights of the parties involved, such parallel
proceedings are unobjectionable under [the]
jurisprudence.” Id. at 627 n.10 (citation
omitted). A stay of a civil case “is an extraordinary
remedy” that should be granted only when justice so
requires. Id. at 627.
considering whether a case should be stayed pending parallel
criminal proceedings, a court should consider the following
(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.
Id.(quoting Chao, 498 F.Supp.2d at 1037).
“The most important factor is the balance of
hardships.” Id. at 628 (citing Int'l
Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. AT&T Network Sys., No.
88-3895, 879 F.2d 824, 1989 WL 7812, at *8 (6th Cir. Jul. 17,
1989)). Courts should also consider “the extent to
which the defendant's fifth amendment rights are
implicated.” Id. at 627 (quoting Fed. Sav.
& Loan Ins. Corp. v. Molianro, 889 F.2d 899, 902
(9th Cir. 1989)).
courts have broad discretion in determining whether a stay is
appropriate. Id. (quoting Chao, 498 F.Supp.2d at
1037). The party seeking the stay bears the burden of
demonstrating that there is a “pressing need for delay,
and that neither the other party nor the public will suffer
harm from entry of the order.” Id. at 627-28
(citing Ohio Envtl. Council v. U.S. Dist. Court, Southern
Dist. of Ohio, Eastern Div., 565 F.3d 393, 396 (6th Cir.
case, the factors identified in F.T.C. v. E.M.A.
Nationwide, Inc.do not support the stay. The Court finds
that while the Defendants may be the subject of an ongoing
criminal investigation, their collective posture has improved
since Defendant Ryan H. Tennebar's previous motion to
stay when he had a pending criminal indictment against him.
At present, there are no pending criminal charges or
indictments against either Defendant that would warrant a
stay. And, as counsel for the government has assured, none
are imminent. In other words, the fact of an ongoing criminal
investigation will not obviously implicate Defendants'
Fifth Amendment privilege, if the Court proceeds with the
Show Cause Hearing. Therefore, the first and second factors
do not weigh in favor of a stay.
asserts that the “purpose of the [Show Cause Hearing]
is for [Plaintiff] to be heard about Defendants'
sanctionable discovery abuses, spoliation, and violation of
the Court's various orders . . . .” ECF No. 325
at PageID#: 5602. To the extent the issues in Defendant
Ryan Tennebar's criminal case overlaps with those
presented in this civil case, such issues should not
implicate his Fifth Amendment privilege, especially given
that he is collaterally estopped from denying facts already
set forth in his sworn guilty plea. Id. at PageID#:
5603. As Colin Tennebar is not facing charges, at
present, any forebearance on his behalf would be based on
speculation. Finally, the fifth and sixth factors also do not
weigh in favor of a stay, as the Court's interest in
judicial efficiency, and the public's interest in
conserving resources will not be benefitted as there is no
foregoing reasons, the Court hereby denies Defendants'
Joint Motion to Stay (ECF No. 321). The Show Cause
Hearing shall commence on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 1:00
p.m. Defendant Ryan Tennebar's presence at the Show Cause
Hearing is excused. Defendant Colin Tennebar shall appear
with his counsel.