Page v. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.
ORDER AND REASONS denying 11 Motion to Continue Trial. For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that defendant's motion to continue trial is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's expert reports shall be due no later than April 9, 2018, and defendant's expert reports shall be due no later than May 9, 2018. Any motions in limine regarding the admissibility of expert testimony shall be filed and served in sufficient time to permit hearing thereon no later than May 30, 2018. All other deadlines set out in the Court's scheduling order remain unchanged. Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance on 3/9/2018. (cg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
DEEPWATER DRILLING, INC.
SECTION “R” (5)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is defendant’s unopposed motion to continue trial. 1
For the following reasons, the Court denies the motion.
This case arises out of an alleged accident on Defendant Transocean
Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc.’s vessel, the M/V DEEPWATER
ASGARD. 2 Plaintiff Chad Page asserts that, while employed on defendant’s
vessel in August 2015, he experienced an accident that resulted in serious
injuries to his back and other parts of his body. 3 On May 8, 2017, plaintiff
filed a seaman’s complaint for damages. 4 Plaintiff alleges that defendant
R. Doc. 11.
R. Doc. 1 at 2.
Id. at 1.
failed to provide a reasonably safe place to work and engaged in other acts of
negligence.5 Plaintiff seeks maintenance and cure benefits, damages, and
The Court entered a scheduling order in this case that
established a discovery deadline of May 8, 2018, and a trial date of June 18,
2018.7 Defendant now moves to continue trial and pretrial deadlines.8
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) provides that “[a] schedule 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 Enterprises, LLC. v. SouthTrust Bank
of Ala., NA, 315 F.3d 533, 535 (5th Cir. 2003) (internal citations omitted).
Whether to grant or deny a continuance is within the sound discretion of the
trial court. United States v. Alix, 86 F.3d 429, 434 (5th Cir. 1996). In
deciding whether to grant a continuance, the Court’s “judgment range is
exceedingly wide,” for it “must consider not only the facts of the particular
Id. at 2.
Id. at 3-4.
R. Doc. 8 at 2-3.
R. Doc. 11.
case but also all of the demands on counsel’s time and the court’s.” Streber
v. Hunter, 221 F.3d 701, 736 (5th Cir. 2000) (quoting HC Gun & Knife
Shows, Inc. v. City of Houston, 201 F.3d 544, 549-50 (5th Cir. 2000)).
Defendant first argues that trial should be continued for 90 days
because plaintiff is not at maximum medical improvement.9 Plaintiff’s
alleged accident occurred in August 2015, over two and a half years ago. 10
Defendant represents that plaintiff’s treating physician’s assistant recently
stated that additional lumbar surgery may be necessary. 11 But defendant
offers no evidence to suggest that plaintiff’s medical condition is likely to
change substantially within 90 days of the current trial date, and instead
acknowledges that it is unknown when plaintiff will reach maximum medical
improvement. 12 Given the length of time since plaintiff’s accident, the Court
declines to continue trial based on the mere possibility that additional
surgery may be necessary at an unknown future date.
Defendant further contends that trial should be continued because the
parties need additional time to depose fact witnesses and plaintiff’s treating
R. Doc. 11 at 1.
R. Doc. 1; R. Doc. 11-1 at 1.
R. Doc. 11-1 at 3.
physicians. 13 Defendant states that some of the fact witnesses work offshore,
are no longer employed by defendant, or live out of state.14 Several of
plaintiff’s treating physicians are also located out of state. 15 But defendant
does not explain why the parties did not begin trying to schedule these
depositions earlier. Additionally, the discovery deadline in this case is May
8, 2018. 16 The Court finds that the parties have sufficient time to take these
depositions within the next two months.
Finally, defendant argues that the parties need additional time to
prepare expert reports. 17 Plaintiff’s expert reports are due March 9, 2018,
and defendant’s expert reports are due April 9, 2018.18 The Court finds that
a short extension of these deadlines is warranted. Each party shall have an
additional 30 days to complete their expert reports. Any motions in limine
regarding the admissibility of expert testimony shall be filed and served in
sufficient time to permit hearing thereon no later than May 30, 2018.
Id. at 4.
R. Doc. 8 at 2.
R. Doc. 11-1 at 5.
R. Doc. 8 at 2.
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that defendant’s motion to
continue trial is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s expert reports shall be due
no later than April 9, 2018, and defendant’s expert reports shall be due no
later than May 9, 2018. Any motions in limine regarding the admissibility
of expert testimony shall be filed and served in sufficient time to permit
hearing thereon no later than May 30, 2018. All other deadlines set out in
the Court’s scheduling order remain unchanged.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this _____ day of March, 2018.
SARAH S. VANCE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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