CULLIVER v. BP EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION INC et al
ORDER denying 30 Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Exceed CMO Discovery Limits. Signed by MAGISTRATE JUDGE GARY R JONES on 09/16/22. (grj)
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE No. 3:21-cv-4942-MCR-GRJ
BP EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION
INC. and BP AMERICA PRODUCTION
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Exceed
CMO Discovery Limits. ECF No. 30. Defendants have filed a response in
opposition, ECF No. 37, and, therefore, this matter is ripe for consideration.
Without specifying what additional information Plaintiff needs, Plaintiff
requests leave to serve twenty-five (25) additional interrogatories and thirtyfive (35) additional requests for production. Plaintiff says that the additional
discovery requests will not be unreasonably cumulative or duplicative.
According to Plaintiff, the additional discovery would not only be applicable
to Plaintiff, but also to other class member plaintiffs, and non-class
members, who allege medical claims against the Defendants arising from
the Deepwater Horizon Incident. Other than that description Plaintiff’s
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motion is devoid of any hint as to the nature or relevancy of the additional
Early on in February 2021 the Court set the parameters for discovery
in the Court’s Case Management Order (“CMO”). Master docket ECF No.
138. The CMO was filed in this case on December 30, 2021, ECF No. 15,
and since then has controlled case management issues, including the limits
on serving interrogatories and requests for production. In the CMO the
Court limited each party to 25 interrogatories and 35 requests for
production. The limit was established as a case management tool so the
parties could fairly and efficiently litigate the claims in approximately 500
cases that were transferred to this district. The limit was not arbitrary or
without purpose but rather recognized the limited issues that remained to
be litigated after these cases were transferred to this district.
Case management and scheduling orders are not meant to be
advisory or aspirational. That is why the law requires a party to show “good
cause” for modifying a scheduling order. Under Rule 16 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, “A schedule may be modified only for good cause
and with the judge’s consent.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4). “This good cause
standard precludes modification unless the schedule cannot be met despite
the diligence of the party seeking the extension.” Sosa v. Airprint Sys.,
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Inc., 133 F.3d 1417, 1418 (11th Cir.1998) (citations and internal quotation
While the Court fully appreciates that Plaintiff’s counsel may want to
expand the limits on written discovery, the fundamental problem with
Plaintiff’s motion is that Plaintiff fails to specify what additional relevant
information is sought that is necessary. And without identifying what
additional information Plaintiff seeks it is impossible for the Court to
determine whether the additional discovery is information Plaintiff could not
already have obtained either in this case or in one of the many other
pending BELO cases. In the complete absence of any specificity identifying
what additional areas of discovery are necessary and why those areas of
additional discovery are needed the Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate good
cause for expanding the Court’s well thought out limits on discovery
contained in the CMO.
Where, as here, a party fails to identify the additional relevant
discovery that is needed courts have not been reluctant to deny such openended requests for unidentified discovery. See, Rhoads v. Boehringer
Ingelheim Pharms., Case No. 3:19cv3254-MCR/EMT, 2020 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 151197 *5 (N.D. Fla. May 6, 2020); Mitchell v. Ford Motor Credit
Co., Case No. 3:96-cv-447-J-32HTS, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123949 *6-6
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(M.D. Fla. Feb. 23, 2009)(denying motion for additional discovery because
the request did not delineate very specific limited areas of inquiry). The
same applies here. In the absence of identifying what additional relevant
information Plaintiff seeks, Plaintiff’s open-ended motion to expand
arbitrarily written discovery limits on interrogatories and requests to
produce is due to be denied for failing to demonstrate good cause.
Accordingly, upon due consideration, it is ORDERED:
Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Exceed CMO Discovery Limits, ECF
No. 30, is DENIED.
DONE AND ORDERED this 16th day of September 2022.
s/Gary R. Jones
GARY R. JONES
United States Magistrate Judge
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