United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
THOMAS JONES, et al., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated PLAINTIFFS
SINGING RIVER HEALTH SYSTEM, et al. DEFENDANTS
ORDER DENYING OBJECTORS' MOTION TO STAY
GUIROLA, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is the Motion to Stay Proceedings 
filed by the Objectors in these consolidated class action
lawsuits. After reviewing the Motion, the record in this
matter, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the
Motion to Stay Proceedings should be denied.
27, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit entered an opinion vacating and remanding this
Court's Order and Final Judgment  approving the
settlement of these consolidated class action lawsuits. The
Fifth Circuit did “not hold that the settlement should
not be approved, or cannot be approved as modified, ”
but remanded the case for further consideration of certain
issues. Jones v. Singing River Health Servs. Found.,
865 F.3d 285, 303 (5th Cir. 2017). The Objectors to the
settlement filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc, seeking
reconsideration of certain findings made by the Fifth
Circuit, including its determination that the release of
Jackson County, Mississippi, pursuant to the proposed
settlement agreement would not render the settlement
agreement inadequate. On September 6, 2017, the Fifth Circuit
denied the Petition for Rehearing En Banc, because
“[n]o member of the panel nor judge in regular active
service of the court . . . requested that the court be polled
on Rehearing En Banc.” Jones v. Singing River
Health Servs. Found., No. 16-60550 (5th Cir. Sept. 6,
2017). The Judgment and Mandate were issued on September 14,
to the Mandate and the Fifth Circuit's opinion, this
Court entered an Order Scheduling a Pretrial Status
Conference for September 25, 2017. The Objectors filed the
present Motion to Stay Proceedings, stating “Objectors
have ninety (90) days from the denial of the Petition, or
until December 5, 2017, to file their Petition for Certiorari
to the United States Supreme Court, and aver that the
certiorari petition shall present a substantial question,
showing good cause for a stay in this proceeding.” No
additional argument was included in the Motion and no legal
authority was cited in the Motion.
Fifth Circuit's mandate provided this Court with
jurisdiction to conduct further proceedings in this matter.
See BHTT Entm't, Inc. v. Brickhouse Café
& Lounge, LLC, 858 F.3d 310, 312-13 (5th
Cir. 2017) (“The list of cases in which this court
states unequivocally that the district court re-assumes
jurisdiction once the mandate issues is long.”). The
Fifth Circuit has explained:
The mandate rule requires a district court on remand to
effect our mandate and to do nothing else. . . . Further, on
remand the district court must implement both the letter and
the spirit of the appellate court's mandate and may not
disregard the explicit directives of that court. . . . In
implementing the mandate, the district court must take into
account the appellate court's opinion and the
circumstances it embraces.
Gen. Universal Sys., Inc. v. HAL, Inc., 500 F.3d
444, 453 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). “It is well established that an
inferior court has no power or authority to deviate from the
mandate issued by an appellate court.” In re Time
Warner Cable, Inc., 470 F. App'x 389, 390 (5th Cir.
are two avenues by which a party may obtain a stay of a
mandate: . . . 28 U.S.C. § 2101(f) and Federal Rule of
Appellate Procedure 41(d)(2)(A).” Campbell
Harrison & Dagley, L.L.P. v. Hill, No.
3:12cv4599-L, 2015 WL 3541576, at *1 (N.D. Tex. June 3,
2015). Neither of these avenues provide a means by which a
district court can grant a stay of a mandate issued by a
court of appeals. Even if there is a means by which a
district court can grant a stay after a court of appeals has
issued a mandate, the standard of review for such a motion to
stay should be no less than a motion to stay filed pursuant
to Fed. R. App. P. 41(d)(2)(A) or 28 U.S.C. § 2101(f).
Therefore, the Court will analyze the Objectors' Motion
under both of these standards.
Fed. R. App. P. 41(d)(2)(A)
App. P. 41(d)(2)(A) provides: “A party may move to stay
the mandate pending the filing of a writ of certiorari in the
Supreme Court. The motion must be served on all parties and
must show that the certiorari petition would present a
substantial question and that there is good cause for a
stay.” The Fifth Circuit considers the likelihood that
the Supreme Court will grant certiorari when determining
whether a certiorari petition would raise a substantial
question. See Scott v. Sclesinger, 498 F.2d 1093,
1095-96 (5th Cir. 1974).
explained previously, the Objectors should have filed their
Motion for a Stay with the Fifth Circuit prior to issuance of
the mandate, but they failed to do so. See Campbell
Harrison & Dagley, L.L.P., 2015 WL 3541576, at *2.
Even if this Court were permitted to issue a stay pursuant to
Fed. R. App. P. 41(d)(2)(A), the Objectors' conclusory
assertion that their petition for a writ of certiorari will
raise a substantial question is insufficient grounds for
granting a stay. The Objectors have not stated the grounds
that will be the basis for their petition, so they have not
shown that the petition would present a substantial question.
Nevertheless, the Court will assume that the Objectors intend
to raise the following issues that were raised in their
Petition for a Rehearing En Banc:
1) Was it the burden of proof on [sic] the Objectors to
provide definitive legal authority holding that a Mississippi
county is responsible for the debts of its
“independent” entity, the absence of which
resulted in the Panel dismissing the argument?
2) Did the [O]bjectors waive the objection to the
unsolicited, post-hearing letter from class counsel regarding
the release of Jackson County, despite properly objecting to
the submission of the letter in the District Court through a
Rule 59 ...