stay

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Stay

The act of temporarily stopping a judicial proceeding through the order of a court.

A stay is a suspension of a case or a suspension of a particular proceeding within a case. A judge may grant a stay on the motion of a party to the case or issue a stay sua sponte, without the request of a party. Courts will grant a stay in a case when it is necessary to secure the rights of a party.

There are two main types of stays: a stay of execution and a stay of proceedings. A stay of execution postpones the enforcement of a judgment against a litigant who has lost a case, called the Judgment Debtor. In other words, if a civil litigant wins money damages or some other form of relief, he may not collect the damages or receive the relief if the court issues a stay. Under rule 62 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, every civil judgment is stayed for ten days after it is rendered. An additional stay of execution lasts only for a limited period. It usually is granted when the judgment debtor appeals the case, but a court may grant a stay of execution in any case in which the court feels the stay is necessary to secure or protect the rights of the judgment debtor.

The term stay of execution may also refer to a halt in the execution of a death penalty. This kind of stay of execution normally is granted when a court decides to allow an additional appeal by a condemned prisoner. Such stays of execution may be granted by executives, such as governors or the president of the United States, or by appeals courts.

A stay of proceedings is the stoppage of an entire case or a specific proceeding within a case. This type of stay is issued to postpone a case until a party complies with a court order or procedure. For example, if a party is required to deposit collateral with the court before a case begins, the court may order the proceedings stayed for a certain period of time or until the money or property is delivered to the court. If the party fails to deposit the collateral, the court may cite the party for Contempt of court and impose a fine or order incarceration.

A court may stay a proceeding for a number of reasons. One common reason is that another action is under way that may affect the case or the rights of the parties in the case. For instance, assume that a defendant faces lawsuits from the same plaintiffs in two separate cases involving closely related facts. One case is filed in federal court, and the other case is filed in state court. In this situation one of the courts may issue a stay in deference to the other court. The stay enables the defendant to concentrate on one case at a time.

The term stay may also be used to describe any number of legal measures taken by a legislature to provide temporary relief to debtors. For example, under section 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor who files for bankruptcy receives an automatic stay immediately upon filing a voluntary bankruptcy petition. Used in this sense, the term stay refers to the right of the debtor to keep creditors at bay during the resolution of the bankruptcy case.

Further readings

Hazard, Geoffrey C., Jr., Colin C. Tait, and William A. Fletcher. 1994. Cases and Materials on Pleading and Procedure: State and Federal. 7th ed. Westbury, N.Y.: Foundation Press.

Cross-references

Capital Punishment.

stay

n. a court-ordered short-term delay in judicial proceedings to give a losing defendant time to arrange for payment of the judgment or move out of the premises in an unlawful detainer case. (See: stay of execution)

stay

noun abeyance, abeyancy, bar, cessation, check, curb, delay, desistance, discontinuance, halt, hindrance, mansio, obstacle, obstruction, prevention, respite, restraint, stop, stoppage, suspension, wait
Associated concepts: judicial stay, stay of enforcement, stay of execution, stay of proceedings, stay pending appeal

stay

(Halt), verb arrest, bar, block, check, cohibere, constrain, curb, delay, demorari, desist, detain, deter, detinere, discontinue, forbid, foreclose, forestall, frustrate, hamper, hinder, hold, impede, intercept, interrupt, obviate, preclude, prevent, prohibit, put an end to, quell, reprieve, respite, restrain, stem, stop, stymie, suppress, thwart
Associated concepts: permanent injunction, stay enforceeent, stay of execution, stay order, stay proceedings, temmorary injunction, temporary restraining order

stay

(Continue), verb endure, extend, keep on, last, persevere, persist, prolong, remain, subsist
Associated concepts: stay in occupancy

stay

(Rest), verb await, be anchored, be dormant, be fixed, be immobile, be inert, be inmovable, be motionless, be riveted, be sedentary, be stationary, be transfixed, halt, lodge, park, pause, remain, repose, stand, stop, wait
See also: abeyance, adhere, adjourn, adjournment, arrest, balk, ban, bar, barrier, block, cease, cessation, check, clog, cloture, cohere, constrict, continuance, continue, curb, defer, delay, desist, detain, dwell, encumbrance, endure, estop, exist, extension, forestall, halt, hinder, impede, inhabit, inhabitation, inhibit, keep, last, lodge, lull, mainstay, obstruct, occupy, pause, persevere, persist, postpone, preclude, prevent, prohibit, prohibition, remain, remission, repress, reprieve, reside, resist, respite, rest, restrain, restraint, stem, stop, subsist, suspend, toll, uphold, withstand
References in classic literature ?
Brooke, my tutor, doesn't stay here, you know, and I have no one to go about with me, so I just stop at home and get on as I can.
I will stay here, if you wish it, with pleasure -- I will stay here to-night, for your sake.
If your own mind is set upon going home--go--the way is open to you; the many ships that followed you from Mycene stand ranged upon the seashore; but the rest of us stay here till we have sacked Troy.
The Thorpes spent the last evening of Catherine's stay in Pulteney Street, and nothing passed between the lovers to excite her uneasiness, or make her quit them in apprehension.
He's the right kind an' we stay by him, don't we, girls?
We had a big barn where the farmers could put up their teams, and their womenfolk more often accompanied them, now that they could stay with us for dinner, and rest and set their bonnets right before they went shopping.
You'll stay on with me, and we shall both be all right, and I WILL tell you--I WILL.
And he never had the heart to refuse them when they asked if they could stay with him.
There is a little room there,' said the Princess, 'and if I could get a man to stay in it from ten o'clock till midnight for three nights on end I should be freed from the spell.
The sea is for the most part rough, and the winds tempestuous; we had here our rigging somewhat damaged by a storm of lightning, which when we had repaired, we sailed forward to Mosambique, where we were to stay some time.
Bingley and his sister pressed them to stay longer, she could spare them very well.
But I can stay here all to- day, if your mother would like me; and her heart seemed inclined towards me last night.