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Ohio Court Stays Prisoner Suit Pending Supreme Court Action

Ohio state prisoners filed a Section 1983 civil rights class-action case in federal court against the state parole board, alleging reverse discrimination in the granting of parole. The Parole Board moved for and was granted a stay since a case covering an identical issue was currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The sole issue before the Ohio district court was the propriety of the stay. Plaintiff prisoners argued against the granting of the stay, stating that the case had been “pending for nearly three years, and…that substantial prejudice will result from further delay,” according to the opinion. The district court found, however, that federal courts have inherent power to stay cases on their dockets. Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 57 S.Ct. 163, 81 L.Ed. 153 (1936).

In this case, the fact that the case was on appeal to the Supreme court influenced the district court that the factors of judicial economy, public interest, and their perception that prejudice to prisoners was not substantial, favored their decision to grant the stay. According to the court, this stay would, in fact, “expedite any further proceedings.” See: Michael v. Ghee, et al., U.S.D.C. (N.D. Ohio), Case No. 3:01-cv-07436-JGC.

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Related legal case

Michael v. Ghee