Powell et al v. Walmart, Inc. et al

Filing 23

ORDER Denying 21 Plaintiffs' Motion to Excuse Plaintiffs from Personally Attending the Early Neutral Evaluation. Signed by Magistrate Judge Linda Lopez on 4/1/2021. (mme)

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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 DEARL POWELL, CHRISTINA GAST, and ELIJHA GONZALEZ, as individuals and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Case No.: 20cv2412-BEN-LL ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO EXCUSE PLAINTIFFS FROM PERSONALLY ATTENDING THE EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION Plaintiffs, 14 15 v. 16 WALMART, INC., et al., [ECF No. 21] Defendants. 17 18 19 Currently before the Court is a motion filed by Plaintiffs requesting that the Court 20 excuse Plaintiffs from personally attending the video conference Early Neutral Evaluation 21 (“ENE”) on April 9, 2021. ECF No. 21. In support, Plaintiffs state that they are hourly 22 workers, and their attendance would impose an “unjustifiable hardship on Plaintiffs and 23 their families.” Id. at 3. Plaintiffs further contend that they are entrusting their counsel to 24 negotiate in the class’s best interest, and if necessary, Plaintiffs will be available by 25 telephone. Id. 26 Although the Court is sympathetic to Plaintiffs’ circumstances, the Court does not 27 find good cause to excuse their personal appearances at the video conference ENE. As the 28 named Plaintiffs initiating this putative class action, Plaintiffs are required to personally 1 20cv2412-BEN-LL 1 attend the ENE. ECF No. 20 at 2 (“All parties, adjusters for insured parties, and other 2 representatives of a party having full and complete authority to enter into a binding 3 settlement, and the principal attorneys responsible for the litigation, must be present on the 4 video conference and legally and factually prepared to discuss settlement of the case.”). 5 The Court’s chambers rules state that “[t]he Court will not grant requests to excuse a 6 required party from personally appearing [at an ENE] absent extraordinary circumstances.” 7 Civil Chambers Rules of the Honorable Linda Lopez Section II.B; see also ECF No. 20 8 at 2. The Court believes that the presence of all parties is critical to the possibility of a 9 successful settlement. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion. 10 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: April 1, 2021 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 20cv2412-BEN-LL

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