Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mark D. Dehainaut v. California University of Pennsylvania and

August 29, 2011

MARK D. DEHAINAUT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA AND , THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terrence F. McVerry United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER OF COURT

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff‟s MOTION FOR STAY OF ORDER PENDING APPEAL, Doc. No. 38, with brief in support, Doc. No. 39, Defendants‟ response in opposition, Doc. No. 41, and Plaintiff‟s reply brief, Doc. No. 42. Plaintiff is seeking a stay of the July 21, 2011 Order of Court filed in the above captioned action on the basis that he has appealed this Court‟s grant of Defendants‟ Motion to Enforce Settlement. See Memorandum Opinion and Order at Doc. No. 36. In granting that motion, the Court found that at the conclusion of the mediation session that occurred on March 4, 2011 before Kenneth Benson, Esquire, the parties had reached a settlement agreement, the essential terms of which were reduced to writing in a handwritten document signed by the parties and their respective attorneys. See Doc. No. 36. The written document, entitled "Memo of Agreement", stated the following:

MEMO OF AGREEMENT 3/4/2011

(1) BACK WAGES SINCE 9/2007 -- DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEN STEP IN GRADE AND STEP IN GRADE OF FULL PROFESSOR -- PAYMENT MADE IN LUMP SUM TO DEHAINAUT AT NEXT AVAILABLE PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING EFFECTIVE DATE OF AGREEMENT -- LUMP SUM SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATE DEDUCTIONS -- SUBSEQUENT PAY WILL BE AT STEP IN GRADE AS IF PROMOTED TO FULL PROFESSOR IN 9/2007.

(2) CALIFORNIA AGREES TO COOPERATE WITH DEHAINAUT APPLICATION FOR DISABILITY RETIREMENT.

(3) PARTIES AGREE TO EXECUTE FULL RELEASE AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

(4) DEHAINAUT AGREES TO FULL RELEASE INCLUDING ANY OUTSTANDING GRIEVANCES.

(5) DEHAINAUT WILL NOT APPLY FOR SUMMER COURSE AND ACCEPTS HIS EMPLOYMENT WILL TERMINATE EFFECTIVE THE FINAL PAYROLL PAYMENT FOR THE 2010-2011 ACADEMIC YEAR.

(6) CALIFORNIA AGREES TO PAY 100% OF MEDIATION FEE.

See Doc. No. 36; see also Doc. No. 32 at exhib. 1. On August 11, 2011, Plaintiff filed his notice of appeal as to the order which granted the motion to enforce the settlement. Doc. No. 37. On that same day, Plaintiff moved for the stay now pending. The motion is ripe for disposition.

"[T]he power to stay any proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with the economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants." Texaco, Inc. v. Borda, 383 F.2d 607, 608 (3d Cir.1967) (quoting Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55, 57 S.Ct. 163, 81 L.Ed. 153 (1936)). A stay is an extraordinary measure, United States v. Breyer, 41 F.3d 884, 893 (3d Cir.1994), and calls for a court to exercise judgment and weigh competing interests. Texaco, 383 F.2d at 608.

In terms of determining whether to grant stay pending an appeal, different Rules of Procedure govern the power of district courts and courts of appeals to do so. See Fed.Rule Civ.Proc. 62(c); Fed.Rule App.Proc. 8(a). Under both Rules, however, the factors regulating the issuance of a stay are generally the same: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies. Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776, 107 S.Ct. 2113, 2119, 95 L.Ed.2d 724 (1987); see also, 11 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2904 (1973). Since these traditional stay factors contemplate individualized judgments in each case, the formula cannot be reduced to a single set of rules. Id. Plaintiff has moved, pursuant to Rule 62(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for a stay of this Court‟s July 21, 2011 Order that granted Defendant‟s motion to enforce the settlement agreement. As such, the Court will consider Plaintiff‟s motion in view of the above described Hilton factors.

The Court begins with a consideration of whether Plaintiff has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits. Although these are the same factors the Court considers in deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction, an applicant seeking a stay has, relatively speaking, more difficulty establishing the first factor, likelihood of success on the merits, due to the difference in procedural posture. "...[A] party seeking a stay must ordinarily demonstrate to a reviewing court that there is a likelihood of reversal." Michigan Coalition of Radioactive Material Users, Inc. v. Griepentrog, 945 F.2d 150, 153-54 (6th Cir. 1991). As such, "the [applicant] is always required to demonstrate more than the mere "possibility‟ of success on the merits." Id. In other words, "...even if an [applicant] demonstrates irreparable harm that decidedly outweighs any potential harm to the [adverse party] if a stay is granted, he is still required to show, at a minimum, serious questions going to the merits." Id. (internal quotations omitted).Because the burden of meeting this standard is a heavy one for the moving party, more commonly stay requests will not meet this standard and will be denied. 11 Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2904, pp. 503-505 (1995).

Plaintiff has argued that he must only show some likelihood of success on the merits. Doc. No. 39. "Some likelihood" is not the standard. Rather, as noted above, Plaintiff must make a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits, and must, at a minimum, demonstrate the existence of "serious questions going to the merits." He does not. Instead, Plaintiff essentially challenges the factual findings of the Court by advancing several of the same arguments that he did in his opposition to Defendant‟s motion to enforce the settlement agreement, such as contending that he did not "knowingly and intelligently" release his claims, and arguing that the post-mediation conduct of the parties supports the notion that no agreement had been reached. Compare Doc. No. 33, Plaintiff‟s brief in opposition to the motion to enforce, at § II, with Doc. No. 39, Plaintiff‟s motion to stay. Plaintiff also contends that his dissatisfaction of the monetary amount derived from application of the formula used to determine his lump sum payment demonstrated uncertainty within the negotiations, and that the overall process remained "in flux" following the mediation session. Doc. No. 39 at p. 9. Although the parties had disparate estimates regarding the potential amount of the lump sum payment cited in paragraph one (1) of the Memo of Agreement, they clearly agreed to the formula by which the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.