Lang et al v. Maricopa, County of et al

Filing 23

ORDER denying 20 Motion to Amend/Correct. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 11/16/2015.(DGC, nvo)

Download PDF
    1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Randy D. Lang and Heidi Lang, Plaintiffs, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CIV 15-182-PHX-DGC County of Maricopa, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 The Court held a telephone conference with the parties on November 13, 2015. 16 Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaint on November 9, 2015 (Doc. 20), after 17 the telephone conference was scheduled and almost three months after the deadline for 18 amending pleadings (Doc. 16 at 1). The parties also revealed during the conference that 19 Plaintiffs failed to comply with their expert disclosure deadline of September 25, 2015, 20 and Defendants failed to comply with their expert disclosure deadline of November 9, 21 2015. The Court must decide whether to extend any of these deadlines. 22 Deadlines established in a case management order may “be modified only for 23 good cause and with the judge’s consent.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4); see Johnson v. 24 Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 608 (9th Cir. 1992). “Good cause” exists 25 when a deadline “cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the 26 extension.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 16 Advisory Comm. Notes (1983 Am.). Thus, “Rule 16(b)’s 27 ‘good cause’ standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the 28 amendment.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609; see also Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co., 232 F.3d     1 1271, 1294 (9th Cir. 2000). Where that party has not been diligent, good cause has not 2 been shown and the inquiry ends. Zivkovic v. S. Cal. Edison Co., 302 F.3d 1080, 1087 3 (9th Cir. 2002); Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. 4 Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint on September 18, 2014, and an amended 5 complaint on January 16, 2015. Doc. 1-1. After this case had been assigned to a 6 magistrate judge and one of the parties, on April 16, 2015, declined to consent to 7 magistrate judge jurisdiction (Doc. 9), this Court scheduled a Rule 16 case management 8 conference (Doc. 12). The Court’s order explained that the Court would establish a 9 litigation schedule at the case management conference and provided this direction: “The 10 Court fully intends to enforce the deadlines in the Case Management Order. The parties 11 should plan their litigation activities accordingly.” Doc. 12 at 5. 12 The case management conference was held on June 16, 2016. Doc. 15. During 13 the conference, the Court discussed with the parties several potential defects in Plaintiffs’ 14 amended complaint that were raised by Defendants in the parties’ Rule 26(f) report. See 15 Doc. 13 at 9. To avoid the time and delay of briefing these issues, if possible, the Court 16 instructed Plaintiffs’ counsel to review the issues raised by Defendants and confer with 17 defense counsel “in a week or two.” Court’s Livenote Transcript, 6/16/15. If the 18 disagreements concerned a matter of pleading form, the Court encouraged the parties to 19 stipulate that Plaintiffs could re-plead their claims to avoid the pleading problems, 20 thereby avoiding the need for a motion to dismiss followed by further amendments. If 21 the parties could not reach agreement, the Court directed the parties to schedule a 22 conference call with the Court, explaining that the Court would set a briefing schedule to 23 resolve these matters in “short order.” Id. The Court then set a litigation schedule which 24 provided that “[t]he deadline for joining parties, amending pleadings, and filing 25 supplemental pleadings is 60 days from the date of this Order.” Doc. 16, ¶ 2 (emphasis 26 in original). 27 Plaintiffs did not follow the Court’s direction. It appears that Plaintiffs’ counsel 28 made no effort to discuss these issues with defense counsel within “a week or two” as the ‐ 2 ‐      1 Court had directed. Instead, as defense counsel explained during the November 13, 2015 2 conference call, Plaintiffs’ counsel first sent Defendants a proposed second amended 3 complaint on August 26, after the 60-day deadline for amending pleadings had passed. 4 Plaintiffs never contacted the Court for a conference as directed, but instead waited until 5 November 9, 2015 to file their motion to amend. This not only was almost three months 6 after the amendment deadline, it was more than a month after Plaintiffs’ unsatisfied 7 deadline for serving expert reports. 8 Plaintiffs’ counsel stated during the conference call that the delay was due to post 9 traumatic stress suffered by his client. But Plaintiff did not raise this issue with the Court 10 before the amendment deadline passed, provided no support for this assertion, and failed 11 to explain how the client’s stress interfered with the ability of Plaintiffs’ counsel to 12 address the primarily legal issues identified during the case management conference. 13 The Court concludes that the amendment deadline, which fell some 11 months 14 after this case was filed, could have been met through reasonable diligence. In addition 15 to the fact that Plaintiffs have already amended their complaint once, Plaintiffs knew of 16 the pleading issues after the case management conference in June, were specifically 17 directed by the Court to address them promptly, disregarded the Court’s direction, and 18 waited until almost three months after the amendment deadline before seeking leave to 19 file a second amended complaint. Plaintiffs have failed to show that they were diligent 20 and therefore have failed to show good cause for an extension of the amendment date. 21 Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. Plaintiffs’ motion to amend will be denied. Their amended 22 complaint remains the operative pleading in this case. 23 Plaintiffs likewise have not shown good cause for failing to comply with their 24 expert disclosure deadline. The September 25, 2015 deadline was proposed by the 25 parties. See Doc. 13 at 8. The Court’s case management order adopted the parties’ 26 proposed expert schedule and specifically stated that Plaintiffs were required to provide 27 “full and complete expert disclosures” by this date. 28 emphasized, as had the order setting the case management conference, that this deadline ‐ 3 ‐  Doc. 16, ¶ 5(a). The order     1 was real and would be enforced by the Court. See Doc. 16, ¶ 9. Plaintiffs have not 2 shown that they were unable to meet this deadline through reasonable diligence. Because 3 the date fell more than a year after the filing of this case and the need for expert reports 4 has been clear from the beginning, the Court concludes that the deadline could have been 5 satisfied through reasonable diligence. Plaintiffs therefore have failed to show good 6 cause and the deadline will not be extended. Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4). Plaintiffs have 7 missed their opportunity to serve initial expert reports. 8 Defendants have also missed their expert deadline, but their situation is different. 9 The November 13 conference call was scheduled on November 5, 2015, before 10 Defendants’ deadline had arrived. Doc. 19. In addition, Defendants explained during the 11 conference call that they did not receive Plaintiffs’ medical records until one week before 12 the call. Because Defendants could not have prepared expert reports before receiving the 13 medical records, and they sought relief from the Court before their expert deadline 14 passed, Defendants have shown good cause and the Court will extend their expert 15 deadline to December 22, 2015. 16 January 21, 2016. Expert depositions shall be completed by February 26, 2016. All 17 other terms of the Court’s case management order (Doc. 16) remain in effect. Rebuttal expert reports will be due on 18 IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend (Doc. 20) is denied. 19 Dated this 16th day of November, 2015. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ‐ 4 ‐ 

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?