It means all activity in the case is stopped due to some triggering event. The most common triggers are bankruptcy of one of the parties or death of a party. In those cases, the case will be stayed until a bankruptcy trustee is appointed or in case of death until letters of administration are issued to an administrator or letters testamentary are issued to an executor. Once a bankruptcy trustee is appointed, the law firm in the stayed action must make an application to the trustee to be appointed as special counsel to the estate; then the special counsel may make a motion to lift the stay or the stay may be lifted by stipulation. If letters issue to an executor or an administrator, the estate must retain counsel, usually that counsel is the same as it was before the death. The stay may then be lifted by motion or stipulation. While the case is stayed there can be no activity.
I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not intended to be taken as legal advice. These opinions are based on New York practice. I may be contacted at 212-553-9300.
As indicated in Mr. Weitz' response, there maybe several reasons why the case is stayed. You should sit down with your attorney to discuss the particulars of your case.
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I think you need to ask the question of your attorney as he/she is closer to what the case is and what is occurring. Generally, when stayed, a case is suspended for a period of time to await some action. Per stip means by stipulation (agreement between parties).
Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
I couldn't speculate as to the cause because you provide no facts or context. While the stay is in place nothing can be done on the case, but you could ask your attorney the reason as you indicate it might have been by stipulation (agreement).
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