NATIONAL VETERANS LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM et al v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Filing 58

RESPONSE re 57 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply filed by ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE, NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER, NATIONAL VETERANS LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM. (Gupta, Deepak)

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Case 1:16-cv-00745-ESH Document 58 Filed 09/13/17 Page 1 of 4 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NATIONAL VETERANS LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM, NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER, and ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE, for themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, Case No. 16-745-ESH v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT’S EXTENSION REQUEST Five days before its deadline, the government seeks a 60-day extension of the time in which to file its opposition to the plaintiffs’ summary-judgment motion. ECF No. 57. Although our practice is to routinely consent to all reasonable extension requests, plaintiffs’ counsel regret that we cannot consent to this request in full because it is, in our view, unreasonable. The government has known for at least eight months that it would need to file an opposition to our summary-judgment motion, which raises only one legal issue—the same discrete statutory-interpretation issue that has been the focus of this case from the very beginning, as both parties recognized at the class-certification hearing on January 18, 2017. See Tr. 21–23. The summary-judgment briefing schedule has been set for months: The Court’s January 24 order (ECF No. 24) made clear that the government would receive 20 days to respond. The sole reason for the 30-day extension to file the summary-judgment motion was “to provide the government with additional time” to produce long-requested basic factual information that should not have reasonably taken so long to produce—not because the plaintiffs needed any more time. ECF No. 48. The plaintiffs made the request, in other words, as a courtesy to the government’s 1 Case 1:16-cv-00745-ESH Document 58 Filed 09/13/17 Page 2 of 4 counsel, who “cited competing scheduling obligations and the need to coordinate with clients as the basis for the [government’s] delay.” Id. Now the government again cites yet more competing scheduling obligations as justification for further delay, while asserting that the size of the summary-judgment filings (including exhibits and amicus briefs) necessitates a lengthy extension. ECF No. 57. We cannot agree. The exhibits are no surprise; they are mainly copies of documents already cited in the complaint and previous briefing, or documents produced by the government itself. The actual argument section of the motion, moreover, is less than ten pages. And, while the amicus briefs certainly offer context and insight on the practical and constitutional implications of this litigation, the government identifies no distinct legal arguments that should require an extensive response. At the same time, we recognize that the government’s counsel have other obligations, and we are willing to accommodate those obligations within reason (despite the fact that the government’s due date has been known since July 5). For that reason, the plaintiffs consent to a 30-day extension. A 30-day extension should afford the federal government more than enough time to brief the one straightforward legal issue now before the Court. But nothing has happened since the scheduling order that would warrant a two-month extension. Respectfully submitted, /s/ Deepak Gupta Deepak Gupta (D.C. Bar No. 495451) Jonathan E. Taylor (D.C. Bar No. 1015713) GUPTA WESSLER PLLC 1900 L Street, NW, Suite 312 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 888-1741 2 Case 1:16-cv-00745-ESH Document 58 Filed 09/13/17 Page 3 of 4 William H. Narwold (D.C. Bar No. 502352) Elizabeth Smith Meghan S.B. Oliver William Tinkler MOTLEY RICE LLC 401 9th Street, NW, Suite 1001 Washington, DC 20004 (202) 232-5504 Attorneys for Plaintiffs September 13, 2017 3 Case 1:16-cv-00745-ESH Document 58 Filed 09/13/17 Page 4 of 4 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that on September 13, 2017, I filed this response to the defendant’s extension request through this Court’s CM/ECF system, which will send a notice of electronic filing to all counsel required to be served. /s/ Deepak Gupta Deepak Gupta

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