Lewis et al v. Silvertree Mohave Homeowners' Association, Inc., et al

Filing 72

ORDER DENYING AS MOOT MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION, SETTING NEW SCHEDULE FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION BRIEFING, AND AWARDING ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS Motions due by 5/18/2017. Motion Hearing set for 6/22/2017 08:00 AM in Courtroom 8, 19th Floor, San Francisco before Hon. William Alsup.. Signed by Judge Alsup on 4/26/17. (whalc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/26/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 DOMENICA LEWIS, et al., 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 No. C 16-03581 WHA Plaintiffs, v. SILVERTREE MOHAVE HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants. / ORDER DENYING AS MOOT MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION, SETTING NEW SCHEDULE FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION BRIEFING, AND AWARDING ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS 16 17 In November 2016, plaintiffs served discovery requests seeking information concerning 18 the identities of residents at the condominium complex at issue herein and information 19 disseminated to residents regarding the “no sports play” rules challenged in this action. 20 Defendants produced documents reflecting this information as of 2016, but averred no other 21 information was available. This statement later proved false. 22 At a settlement conference in April, after plaintiffs filed their motion for class 23 certification (interim class counsel had already been appointed for the purpose of settlement 24 negotiations), it was revealed that other documents reflecting information from earlier years 25 existed. In the ensuing weeks, defense counsel produced more than five thousand responsive 26 documents that plaintiffs’ counsel had previously been informed did not exist, and which may 27 bear on the motion for class certification. 28 Plaintiffs now ask to be allowed to refile their motion, accounting for new evidence, or to allow them to file reply declarations addressing the new evidence and raise new arguments. 1 They further ask that defendants be precluded from opposing class certification or that they be 2 precluded from making certain arguments. Plaintiffs also seek their reasonable attorney’s fees 3 and costs. 4 Defendants admit error, and state the incomplete production resulted from 5 miscommunication between two of defendants’ offices. They do not oppose plaintiffs’ request 6 to file a new motion for class certification, but they do oppose the request to limit their response 7 to the motion. 8 Plainly, plaintiffs deserve a full opportunity to make their case for class certification. 9 The currently-pending motion is DENIED AS MOOT. A new motion is due by MAY 11, to be noticed on the normal 35-day calendar. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 This order does not find it appropriate to limit defendants in their ability to oppose class 12 certification; however, this order leaves open the possibility that preclusion or adverse 13 inferences may be warranted once the motion is fully briefed, upon a further showing by 14 plaintiffs that defendants’ delay in producing responsive discovery was prejudicial. Restricting 15 defendants’ ability to oppose the motion is particularly inappropriate inasmuch as the 16 requirements of Rule 23 do not only protect defendants from inappropriate classwide litigation 17 but also protect absent class members by ensuring their case is appropriate for adjudication by a 18 representative. 19 Defendants shall also pay plaintiffs’ reasonable attorney’s fees and costs as a result of 20 this snafu, as follows: By MAY 18, plaintiffs’ counsel shall file a sworn declaration setting forth 21 the reasonable attorney’s fees (with detailed description of the hours worked and the applicable 22 rate) and costs incurred in bringing the instant motion, refiling their motion for class 23 certification, and in preparing the declaration setting forth these fees and costs. Defendants 24 shall pay that amount by MAY 25 AT NOON. IT IS SO ORDERED. 25 26 27 Dated: April 26, 2017. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 28 2

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