Crouse v. Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, Inc. et al

Filing 28

ORDER denying 27 Motion for Extension of Time to Complete Discovery. Signed by Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo on 8/14/2014. (av1)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 PATRICIA CROUSE, v. Plaintiff, LOWE’S HOME IMPROVEMENT WAREHOUSE, INC., et al., Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Civil No. 13-CV-1274-JM (WVG) ORDER DENYING JOINT MOTION TO EXTEND DATE FOR COMPLETION OF DEPOSITIONS OF DEFENDANT’S EXPERTS [DOC. NO. 27] 18 19 Pending before the Court is the parties’ Joint Motion to Extend the Date for 20 Completion of Depositions of Defendant’s Experts. (Doc. No. 27.) Finding no good cause 21 to grant the extension request, the Court hereby DENIES the parties’ Joint Motion. 22 I. BACKGROUND 23 On June 9, 2014, the parties filed a Joint Motion to Continue the Mandatory 24 Settlement Conference (“MSC”) and Expert Disclosure Date. (Doc. No. 25.) In their June 25 9, 2014, Joint Motion, the parties requested that the Court continue the MSC so that they 26 could complete the depositions of Plaintiff’s non-retained and treating surgeon, Dr. Eric 27 Stark, and Defendant’s retained expert, Dr. Christopher Behr. Id. at 2. The parties noted that 28 the “testimony of Dr. Stark and Dr. Behr are crucial to the parties’ abilities to evaluate and 1 13CV1274 1 understand the causal connection between Plaintiff’s knee replacement surgery and the 2 injuries sustained as a result of the subject incident. Completion of the depositions of Dr. 3 Stark and Dr. Behr will allow the parties to determine their respective positions pertaining 4 to the disputed knee replacement surgery, which will promote more meaningful settlement 5 discussions at the settlement conference.” Id. at 2-3. The Court granted the parties’ request 6 to continue the MSC. (Doc. No. 26 at 1-2.) 7 The Court also stated that, because it granted the parties’ request to continue the MSC, 8 they would have ample time to complete the depositions of their experts prior to the MSC. 9 (Doc. No. 26 at 2.) Therefore, the Court denied the parties’ request to continue the deadline 10 11 to exchange expert reports. Id. II. RELEVANT LAW 12 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 16(b)(3), a district court is 13 required to enter a pretrial scheduling order that “must limit the time to join other parties, 14 amend the pleadings, complete discovery, and file motions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(3)(A). The 15 scheduling order “controls the course of the action unless the court modifies it[ ]” and Rule 16 “16 is to be taken seriously.” Rule 16(d); Janicki Logging Co. v. Mateer, 42 F.3d 561, 566 17 (9th Cir.1994). As the Eastern District of California has stated, parties must “diligently 18 attempt to adhere to [the court’s] schedule throughout the subsequent course of the 19 litigation.” Jackson v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 607 (E.D.Cal.1999). “A scheduling 20 order ‘is not a frivolous piece of paper, idly entered, which can be cavalierly disregarded 21 without peril.’” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 610 (9th Cir.1992) 22 (quoting Gestetner Corp. v. Case Equip. Co., 108 F.R.D. 138, 141 (D.Me.1985)). 23 Rule 16(b)(4) “provides that a district court’s scheduling order may be modified upon 24 a showing of ‘good cause,’ an inquiry which focuses on the reasonable diligence of the 25 moving party.” Noyes v. Kelly Servs., 488 F.3d 1163, 1174 n. 6 (9th Cir.2007); citing 26 Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. In Johnson, the Ninth circuit explained, 27 28 ... Rule 16(b)’s “good cause” standard primarily concerns the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. The district court may modify the pretrial schedule “if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.” Fed .R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee’s notes (1983 2 13CV1274 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 amendment) ... [T]he focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party’s reasons for seeking modification.... If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end. Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. In part, the “good cause” standard requires the parties to demonstrate that “noncompliance with a Rule 16 deadline occurred or will occur, notwithstanding her diligent efforts to comply, because of the development of matters which could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated at the time of the Rule 16 Scheduling conference ...” Jackson, 186 F.R.D. at 608, emphasis added. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 III. RULING The Court finds that the parties’ Joint Motion fails to demonstrate any good cause for granting an extension of the expert discovery cutoff date. The only reason provided to the Court in support of the extension request is that Plaintiff would like to defer the costs associated with deposing all defense experts prior to the MSC. (Doc. No. 27 at 2.) As this Court stated in its June 10, 2014, Order, the Court appreciates that the parties seek to avoid certain litigation costs. (Doc. No. 26 at 2.) However, the Court granted the parties’ June 9, 2014, Joint Motion, in an effort to assist the parties in avoiding the costs associated with attending the MSC without a full assessment of the connection between Plaintiff’s injuries and her knee replacement surgery. (Doc. No. 26 at 2; citing Doc. No. 25 at 3.) Plaintiff filed this lawsuit and must be prepared to fully litigate her case, and to adhere to the Court’s scheduling order. Therefore, because the parties have not demonstrated good cause to grant the extension request, the Court hereby DENIES the parties’ Joint Motion. 22 23 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: August 14, 2014 25 26 Hon. William V. Gallo U.S. Magistrate Judge 27 28 3 13CV1274

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