Barrilleaux v. Mendicino County et al

Filing 31

ORDER denying 27 Plaintiff's motion to strike affirmative defenses and ORDER requiring declarations re: General Order 56. Declarations and, if appropriate, stipulation and proposed order due by 09/29/14. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 09/17/14. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/17/2014)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 JESSICA BARRILLEAUX, Plaintiff, 7 8 9 10 v. MENDOCINO COUNTY, et al., Defendants. Case No. 14-cv-01373-TEH ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES AND ORDER REQUIRING DECLARATIONS RE: GENERAL ORDER 56 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Jessica Barrilleaux’s motion to 13 strike affirmative defenses from the answer filed by Defendants Superior Court of 14 California, Mendocino County; and Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office 15 of the Courts. The Court finds this matter suitable for resolution without oral argument 16 and hereby VACATES the October 6, 2014 motion hearing. 17 Plaintiff’s motion appears to have some merit, as “every judge in this district to 18 have taken up the issue has concluded that [Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and 19 Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)] apply to the pleading of affirmative 20 defenses,” Hernandez v. Dutch Goose, Inc., Case No. C13-3537 LB, 2013 WL 5781476, at 21 *4 n.2 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 25, 2013) (citing cases from nineteen different judges, including this 22 Court), and the challenged affirmative defenses do not appear to meet the relevant 23 standard. However, the Court finds it premature to rule on Plaintiff’s motion given the 24 stage of these proceedings and the applicability of Northern District of California General 25 Order 56 to this case. As another judge in this district recently explained: Requiring Defendants to re-plead their affirmative defenses now will not further the resolution of Plaintiff’s claims, nor does it impede Plaintiff’s ability to prosecute [her] case. Northern District of California General Order 56 sets in place expedited deadlines and procedures for the resolution of Americans with Disabilities Act access litigation. Paragraph 2 26 27 28 4 of General Order 56 pertains to the parties’ Rule 26 initial disclosures: should a defendant intend to dispute liability, he/she is required to provide all information in his/her control relating to that defense by a particular date. Requiring Defendants to re-plead their affirmative defenses at this juncture will [serve] only to embroil the parties and this Court in needless motion practice, which General Order 56 was designed to avoid. 5 Rodgers v. Claim Jumper Rest., LLC, Case No. 13-CV-5496 YGR, 2014 WL 1760959, at 6 *2 (N.D. Cal. May 1, 2014). This Court fully agrees. Plaintiff’s motion is therefore 7 DENIED without prejudice to re-filing if the parties are unable to settle this case on their 8 own or through mediation. 1 2 3 In addition, although Plaintiff refers to General Order 56 in her motion papers, it is 9 unclear whether the parties have fully complied with the order’s requirements and the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 related scheduling deadlines set forth in the March 26, 2014 scheduling order (“Scheduling 12 Order”). Under the Scheduling Order, the parties were to have completed a joint site 13 inspection no later than July 8, 2014, with initial disclosures due seven days prior, and 14 have met and conferred in person to discuss settlement within 28 business days thereafter. 15 Plaintiff was required to file a notice of need for mediation within 42 days of the joint site 16 inspection, or August 19, 2014, if the parties were unable to resolve the matter. No such 17 filing has been received, and it is possible that the parties have failed to comply with any 18 of the provisions of General Order 56 and the Scheduling Order. Accordingly, the parties are ordered to file, on or before September 29, 2014, 19 20 declarations affirming that they have read and understood the provisions of General Order 21 56 and the Scheduling Order, and discussing whether they have complied with any of 22 those provisions. If they have not complied with all provisions, then the parties shall, by 23 the same date, submit a stipulation and proposed order – or separate statements to the 24 Court if agreement cannot be reached – with new dates to comply with each missed 25 // 26 // 27 // 28 // 2 1 deadline contained in the Scheduling Order. The Court opts not to impose any sanctions at 2 this time but may do so for any future violations. 3 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 6 7 Dated: 09/17/14 _____________________________________ THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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