Leone v. General Motors LLC, et al
OPINION: IT IS ORDERED that the 28 motion is DENIED. The jury trial remains scheduled for October 16, 2017. Signed by Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle on 7/21/2017. (mmv)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
GENERAL MOTORS LLC, ET AL.
Before the Court is “Plaintiff’s Motion to Continue Trial
Date.” Rec. Doc. 28. This matter arises from a simple motor vehicle
accident that occurred on April 22, 2015. Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 2. Tanya
Leone (“Plaintiff”) originally filed suit in state court on April
21, 2016. Id. Defendant General Motors, LLC removed the case to
this Court on May 23, 2016 (Rec. Doc. 1) and trial was originally
scheduled for May 22, 2017 (Rec. Doc. 18). Pursuant to an unopposed
motion to continue, trial was rescheduled for October 16, 2017.
Rec. Doc. 22.
The revised scheduling order provided that Plaintiff’s expert
reports had to be exchanged no later than June 9, 2017. Rec. Doc.
22 at 2. Yet, on June 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant motion
to continue the trial date, arguing that her second expert required
additional time to conduct discovery and complete his report. Rec.
Doc. 28-1 at 2. Apparently, Plaintiff’s lead expert informed
Plaintiff that it would no longer serve as Plaintiff’s expert and
would not produce a report on Plaintiff’s behalf. Id. Plaintiff
now claims that her second expert “will need more time to do
additional discovery in order to produce a report for Plaintiff as
Lead Expert.” Id. When Defendants refused to agree to extend
Plaintiff’s expert report deadline, she filed the instant motion
to continue the trial date. Id. Plaintiff does not explain why she
did not simply file an opposed motion to extend the expert report
deadline or why, with the expert report deadline set for June 9,
2017, she set the instant motion for submission on July 19, 2017.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4), a
Court’s scheduling order “may be modified only for good cause and
with the judge’s consent.” FED. R. CIV. P. 16(b)(4). “The good cause
standard requires the party seeking relief to show that the
deadlines cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the
party needing the extension.” S&W Enters., L.L.C. v. S. Trust Bank
of Ala., NA, 315 F.3d 533, 535 (5th Cir. 2003) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). The court may consider four factors when
determining if there is good cause: “(1) the explanation for the
failure to timely comply with the scheduling order; (2) the
continuance to cure such prejudice.” Squyres v. Heico Cos., L.L.C.,
782 F.3d 224, 237 (5th Cir. 2015) (citation and modification marks
In response to the instant motion, Defendant General Motors,
LLC explains that Plaintiff has “done nothing to move this case
forward,” and that Plaintiff has not noticed a single deposition
since August of 2016, propounded any discovery interrogatories or
requests for production of documents, or issued any subpoenas for
the production of records. Rec. Doc. 31 at 3. It also explains
that Plaintiff’s lead expert was retained before the suit was
originally filed in April of 2016. Id. at 4. Defendant Budget Rent
Plaintiff’s experts four times during 2015. Rec. Doc. 48 at 3. The
vehicle was subsequently inspected two more times during 2016. Id.
Even though Plaintiff does not admit when her lead expert first
informed her that it would not supply a report, Defendant Budget
Rent a Car System, Inc. notes that the expert’s inspections were
completed in 2015 and that Plaintiff’s second expert was present
at these inspections. Id. at 5.
Both Defendants suggest that Plaintiff’s lead expert refused
to provide her with a report because he was “of the opinion that
a defect in the vehicle did not cause the sudden acceleration event
. . . .” Rec. Doc. 31 at 4; see also Rec. Doc. 48 at 2 (where
Defendant Budget Rent a Car System, Inc. explains that it agreed
to a two-week extension of Plaintiff’s expert report deadline if
Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her claims against it “because the
[remaining] theories of liability espoused by [P]laintiffs are
directed solely to co-defendant, General Motors”).
Plaintiff failed to show that she was unable to meet the
expert report deadline despite due diligence. Inspections were
completed in 2015 and Plaintiff was aware of the June 9, 2017
expert report deadline as early as August 5, 2016. Yet, she waited
to file a motion to continue until two days before that deadline
and she set her motion for submission more than a month later
(despite the availability of at least one earlier submission date
and the possibility of moving for expedited consideration). This
is not a complicated case. The parties had ample time to conduct
discovery and prepare reports. It appears to the Court that
Plaintiff simply wants additional time to find an expert willing
to prepare a report that supports her primary theory of liability.
Under the circumstances, this does not amount to good cause.
IT IS ORDERED that the motion is DENIED. The jury trial
remains scheduled for October 16, 2017.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 21st day of July, 2017.
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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