Moeller et al v. Taco Bell Corp.

Filing 654

ORDER re 648 MOTION Briefing Schedule Plaintiffs' Administrative Motion for Briefing Schedule filed by Edward Muegge, Francie E. Moeller, Katherine Corbett, Craig Thomas Yates. Signed by Judge Hamilton on 11/28/2011. (pjhlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/28/2011)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 FRANCIE E. MOELLER, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 9 v. ORDER TACO BELL CORP., 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 No. C 02-5849 PJH Defendant. _______________________________/ 12 13 On September 21, 2011, the court issued an order granting plaintiffs’ motion for a 14 continuance of the December 12, 2011 damages trial date, stating that a new trial date 15 would be set after the ruling on the parties’ motions regarding class certification issues. 16 The order added that once the court had issued the findings regarding the trial as to the 17 exemplar store, “the parties can submit a stipulation re scheduling.” 18 The findings were issued on October 5, 2011. On November 16, 2011, plaintiffs filed 19 an administrative motion seeking an order setting a briefing schedule. Plaintiffs claim they 20 have attempted to meet and confer with Taco Bell regarding scheduling, but that Taco Bell 21 refuses to cooperate. Plaintiffs also allude to certain concerns regarding discovery issues. 22 In its response, Taco Bell accuses plaintiffs of attempting an “end-run” around 23 Magistrate Judge Cousins’ November 9, 2011 order concerning certain discovery motions, 24 claiming that plaintiffs are seeking to bring a discovery dispute before this court in the guise 25 of a request for a briefing schedule. 26 The court is distressed to learn that its confidence in the parties’ ability to settle on a 27 briefing schedule was so misplaced. At present, there are no deadlines set in this case – 28 no discovery cut-off date, no motion briefing or hearing deadlines, no trial date. The parties 1 are also engaged in class-related discovery, and in damages-related discovery. It appears 2 that notwithstanding any dates the court might set, the parties’ discovery difficulties will take 3 precedence, and the dates will require further revision. 4 Accordingly, because of the seeming impossibility of separating the discovery issues 5 from the other scheduling issues, the court hereby refers this case to Magistrate Judge 6 Cousins to persuade the parties, by any means necessary, to come to an agreement 7 regarding discovery scheduling and limits. Whether this will take the form of holding a 8 hearing, or of confining the parties in a room until they come to an agreement, or of taking 9 some other approach, is up to the Magistrate Judge. In addition, Taco Bell has filed a motion to decertify the class, and plaintiffs have 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 filed a motion to amend the class definition and have also filed an opposition to Taco Bell’s 12 motion. The parties need to schedule dates for Taco Bell’s opposition to plaintiffs’ motion, 13 and for plaintiffs’ reply to Taco Bell’s opposition, and also for Taco Bell’s reply to plaintiffs’ 14 opposition to Taco Bell’s motion.1 Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Cousins shall also 15 persuade the parties to come to an agreement regarding the above-described scheduling. 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 Dated: November 28, 2011 ______________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The court has already advised that it will set the hearing date once the motions are fully briefed. 2

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