United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
MYERSCOUGH, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on the Motion to Stay All
Proceedings (d/e 20) filed by Defendants Boars Nest Bar &
Grill, Inc. and Darrin Fritz. The Motion is GRANTED IN PART,
and the Court will enter a stay of discovery directed to
Fritz only. By imposing only a partial stay, the Court can
support Plaintiff’s interest in proceeding
expeditiously in her lawsuit and the public’s interest
in prompt adjudication of civil litigation while protecting
Fritz from making the difficult choice regarding his Fifth
Amendment privilege and ensuring that the criminal
proceedings proceed untainted by the civil proceedings.
2018, Plaintiff Ashley Jackson filed a Complaint (d/e 1)
against Boars Nest alleging sex discrimination and sexual
harassment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964. In November 2018, Plaintiff was granted leave to
file an amended complaint, although the First Amended
Complaint (d/e 23) was not actually filed until September
2019. The First Amended Complaint added an
Illinois Human Rights Act claim against Darrin Fritz.
First Amended Complaint contains the following allegations.
Boars Nest is a restaurant located in Menard County,
Illinois. Fritz is the proprietor and the manager of the
Boars Nest.Jackson was employed as a server, and Fritz
was her immediate supervisor. On October 27, 2017, Fritz
sexually assaulted Plaintiff. Plaintiff resigned her
position. She alleges her resignation constituted a
constructive discharge because the resignation was
“forced owing to what Fritz did to her[.]” Compl.
I, the Title VII claim brought against Boars Nest, alleges
that Fritz’s action constituted gender discrimination
because his conduct created a hostile working environment due
to Plaintiff’s gender and constituted hostile
environment sexual harassment. Count II, the Illinois Human
Rights Act claim brought against Fritz, alleges that, as
owner and manager of Boars Nest, Fritz is individually liable
for sexual harassment under the Act.
31, 2019, Defendants filed their Motion to Stay All
Proceedings. Defendants assert that, on July 30, 2019, a
six-count criminal information was filed against Fritz in
Menard County, Case No. 2019-CF-30. See Ex. A,
Information (d/e 20-1) (charging three counts of aggravated
criminal sexual assault and three counts of criminal sexual
assault). Fritz was taken into custody that same day and has
since posted bail. The criminal action involves the exact
same subject matter as this civil case, namely the alleged
sexual assault on October 27, 2017. A review of the Menard
County Circuit Court website shows that a trial is set for
November 18, 2019. See
(last visited September 25, 2019).
argue that the special circumstances of this matter,
including the similarity of the parties and the issues, the
relevant facts, the significance of the pending criminal
case, and the need to avoid substantial and irreparable
prejudice to the parties, favor a stay of the civil
proceedings at this time. Defendants seek a stay until the
conclusion of the Menard County criminal case.
the Constitution does not require a stay of civil proceedings
pending the outcome of criminal proceedings, a court may, in
its discretion, stay the civil litigation if the interests of
justice require a stay. See United States v. Kordel,
397 U.S. 1, 12 n.27 (1970); Jones v. City of
Indianapolis, 216 F.R.D. 440, 450-51 (S.D. Ind. 2003).
Whether to grant a stay due to parallel civil and criminal
proceedings requires balancing the interests of the
plaintiff, the defendants, and the public. Chagolla v.
City of Chicago, 529 F.Supp.2d 941, 945 (N.D. Ill.
2008). The factors for determining whether to grant a stay
include: (1) whether the civil and criminal matters involve
the same subject matter, (2) the posture of the criminal
proceedings, (3) the effect of a stay on the public interest,
(4) the burden that any particular aspect of the civil case
may impose on the defendant if the stay is denied, (5)
whether the government is involved in both cases, and (6) the
civil plaintiff’s interest in proceeding expeditiously.
argue the Motion to Stay should be granted because the
pending criminal prosecution and the civil case involve the
same subject matter. Defendants assert the public has a
significant interest in ensuring that Fritz’s
constitutional rights are protected and that the criminal
process is untainted by the civil litigation. Finally,
Defendants assert the burden on Fritz is significant in light
of his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
responds that the Court can protect Fritz’s interest
and allow Plaintiff to-at least to an extent-move forward
with her civil lawsuit. Plaintiff requests that the Court:
(1) allow Plaintiff to take third-party discovery, seek
discovery on Boars Nest, and submit production requests upon
Fritz; (2) enter a temporary protective order precluding
Plaintiff from taking Fritz’s deposition, submitting
interrogatories to Fritz, or submitting requests to admit on
Fritz; and (3) enter an order setting a status conference in
approximately 90 days so the Court and the parties can remain
abreast of the developments in the criminal proceedings.
Court finds that a stay is warranted, but only against Fritz.
The civil and criminal matters involve the same subject
matter, the alleged sexual assault of Plaintiff on October
27, 2017. Generally, absent bad faith or malicious government
tactics, the strongest case for staying civil proceedings is
when a party is indicted for a serious criminal offense
involving the same matter as the civil case. Sec. &
Exch. Comm’n v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 628 F.2d
1368, 1375-76 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (noting that the failure to
defer the civil proceeding may undermine a party’s
Fifth Amendment privilege, expand rights of criminal
discovery beyond the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,
expose the criminal defendant’s defense to the
prosecution prior to the criminal trial, or otherwise
prejudice the case). The posture of the case also supports a
stay, as Fritz has been indicted and the case is currently
set for trial in November 2019.
addition, without a stay, Fritz would have to choose between
testifying and responding to discovery in the civil case- and
risk that the responses will be used in the criminal case-or
invoking the Fifth Amendment in the civil case and risking an
adverse inference. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425
U.S. 308, 318 (1976) (“[T]he Fifth Amendment does not
forbid adverse inferences against parties to civil actions
when they refuse to testify in response to probative evidence
offered against them.”); Chagolla, 529
F.Supp.2d at 945 (discussing the choice a defendant faces
regarding the Fifth Amendment privilege in a civil case).
Although it is not unconstitutional to force Fritz to make
this choice, the risk to Fritz’s Fifth Amendment rights
in this case is severe, given the charges and the factual
overlap between the civil case and the criminal prosecution.
See Doe v. City of Chicago, 360 F.Supp.3d 880,
881-82 (N.D. Ill. 2005) (granting ...