Emerson et al v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America

Filing 35

ORDER RE 34 JOINT STIPULATED MOTION TO AMEND THE CASE SCHEDULE AND TO CONTINUE THE TRIAL DATE. All pretrial and trial dates except mediation deadline extended by 63 days. Resulting trial date 11/18/2024. Signed by Judge William Alsup. (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/5/2024)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 7 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 11 FRANK EMERSON and MARIA EMERSON, by her guardian ad litem, FRANK EMERSON, 12 Plaintiffs, 13 14 15 16 v. THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, No. C 23-02158 WHA ORDER RE JOINT STIPULATED MOTION TO AMEND THE CASE SCHEDULE AND TO CONTINUE THE TRIAL DATE Defendant. 17 18 Parties jointly stipulate and move to amend the case schedule and to continue the trial 19 date from September 16, 2024 to March 17, 2025 (Br. 2). This is parties’ fourth request to 20 amend the schedule (Stip. ¶ 14). They promise it is their last (id. ¶ 16). In sum, parties 21 propose not changing the mediation date, advancing all pretrial dates by up to 104 days, and 22 advancing the trial dates by 182 days (including the final pretrial conference) (see Br. 2–3). 23 Good cause is shown to grant parties’ request, but only partway. 24 “A schedule may be modified” under Rule 16(b)(4) “only for good cause and with the 25 judge’s consent.” “‘[G]ood cause’ means scheduling deadlines cannot be met despite 26 [requesting parties’] diligence.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 27 (9th Cir. 1992). “Although . . . prejudice to the party opposing the modification might supply 28 additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party’s 1 reasons for seeking modification.” Ibid. Here, both parties move for modification, putting 2 prejudice beyond the scope of inquiry. “If [requesting parties were] not diligent, the inquiry 3 should end.” Ibid. Parties in sum provide two reasons for amending the case schedule: 4 First, parties point to new evidence. When a January 2024 test of Maria Emerson 5 showed results that surprised Prudential, parties agreed to two more Rule 35(b)(6) independent 6 medical examinations (Stip. ¶ 1, 4). The reports from those exams were received in April and 7 May 2024 (id. ¶¶ 5–6) — prompting new discovery and expert preparation impossible within 8 the case calendar (id. ¶¶ 7–15). Sounds good so far. United States District Court Northern District of California 9 Some of the above developments, however, were not all that new: Parties knew or 10 should have known about the complications flowing from Mrs. Emerson’s results when they 11 previously requested to amend the case schedule. Parties’ third request, for instance, came 12 after the surprising test result, after both additional examinations, and after the first exam 13 report was received (compare id. ¶¶ 3–6, with id. ¶ 14). Moreover, some of the delays 14 purportedly flowing from those developments do not flow from them at all. “Parties and their 15 witnesses, percipient and expert,” wish to take “various summer holidays” (id. ¶ 13). Please 16 do. But parties already should have planned for those summer holidays to meet the existing 17 schedule — which, like a steer through a chute, runs straight through summer. 18 Second, parties point to Prudential’s convenience: After accounting for the new discovery 19 and other pretrial needs, “Prudential [then] offered the earliest available date for trial which 20 does not conflict with existing trial obligations (March 17, 2025)” (Br. 2; see also Stip. ¶ 15). 21 In short, after proposing a 105-day extension to pretrial dates, Prudential proposed an extra 77- 22 day extension to the trial date. Prudential is a large insurance company. Its outside counsel, 23 Dentons, LLP, is a large law firm with over 1,000 lawyers and professionals in the United 24 States. That none of its diligent lawyers — not even its junior ones (see Dkt. No. 25 ¶ 8) — 25 can be found to present its case any sooner strains credulity. Imprudent to swear otherwise. 26 Finally, without pointing to any reason: Parties propose extending various pretrial dates 27 various amounts: all by up to 105 days, but some by 105 days, some by 84 days, and some by 28 2 1 74 days (see Br. 2–3). These varied extensions would result in varying the order of scheduled 2 events. Parties provide no cause for doing so. 3 4 For all the above reasons, good cause is shown to keep the mediation date and to advance all other dates by 63 days, as follows: United States District Court Northern District of California 5 6 Event Prior Requested ORDERED 7 Deadline to Mediate July 1 July 1 July 1, 2024 8 Expert Reports: Opening May 31 Sept. 13 August 2, 2024 9 Expert Reports: Reply June 14 Sept. 27 August 16, 2024 10 Expert Reports: Rebuttal June 21 Oct. 4 August 23, 2024 11 Fact Cutoff July 1 Sept. 13 September 2, 2024 12 Expert Cutoff July 5 Oct. 18 September 6, 2024 13 Last Day: Dispositive Motions July 11 Oct. 3 September 12, 2024 14 Final Pretrial Conference Sept. 4 Mar. 5 (2025) November 6, 2024 15 Trial Sept. 16 Mar. 17 (2025) November 18, 2024 16 17 If the new dates do not work for counsel, we will stick with the original dates. 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 21 Dated: June 5, 2024. 22 23 WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 26 27 28 3

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