Williams v. Magnolia Cafe et al
RULING AND ORDER denying as untimely 134 Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Respond to Outstanding Discovery and Request for Sanctions. To the extent Defendants seek to have Plaintiff held in contempt for failure to comply with the 9/29/2020 Ruling and Order or any other order of this Court, they shall file a motion for contempt by no later than 7/20/2021. Signed by Magistrate Judge Erin Wilder-Doomes on 7/16/2021. (EDC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CIVIL ACTION NO.
MAGNOLIA CAFÉ, ET AL.
RULING AND ORDER
Before the Court is a Third Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Respond to Outstanding
Discovery and Request for Sanctions 1 (“Third Motion to Compel”), filed by Magnolia Café, Inc.,
Robin Marshall, Skye Willis, and Mary Daniel (“Defendants”). As the Motion is untimely, it will
Plaintiff filed suit on November 16, 2018 against Defendants alleging that she was
discriminated against based on her race and that she was subjected to a hostile work environment
while employed at Magnolia Café. 2 A scheduling conference was conducted on March 14, 2019,
following which a scheduling order was entered. 3 Due to Plaintiff’s pro se status, the original
scheduling order was amended to permit her an opportunity to obtain counsel. 4 Over the course
of the litigation, discovery and other disputes have arisen which have caused Plaintiff and
Defendants to seek relief from the Court. On September 29, 2020, the Court granted in part
motions to compel filed by each side and established a deadline of October 15, 2020 for the parties
to provide the additional information ordered in the Ruling. 5 Pursuant to a motion for extension
of time filed by Plaintiff, she was given until November 5, 2020 to provide supplemental responses
to Defendants’ discovery requests. 6
Because supplemental responses and production were
R. Doc. 134.
R. Doc. 1.
R. Docs. 18 and 19.
R. Docs. 29 and 32. To date, Plaintiff has not retained counsel, nor has she filed the necessary information to ask
the Court to request representation for her, despite that the Court has provided the required form to her as a courtesy.
See R. Docs. 119 and 122.
R. Doc. 84.
R. Docs. 91 and 92.
ordered, an amended scheduling order was also issued. 7
That amended scheduling order
established a November 24, 2020 fact discovery deadline. Every subsequent request to further
continue the amended scheduling order deadlines was denied by the Court, either because the
requests did not comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Civil Rules of
this Court or because good cause was not shown for the continuance. 8 Although a pretrial order
was due July 9, 2021, it has not been filed and Defendants have objected to the fact that Plaintiff
has not participated in the drafting of the pretrial order. 9 Along with their objection to the lack of
a pretrial order, Defendants have also filed the Third Motion to Compel, which seeks to compel
Plaintiff to provide the responses as ordered by the Court in September 2020, as well as sanctions
for Plaintiff’s noncompliance.
Defendants have not sought to extend the November 24, 2020 deadline to complete fact
discovery and file discovery motions, nor have defendants shown excusable neglect for failure to
comply with the deadline. Plaintiff was given an extension to November 5, 2020 to comply with
the September 29, 2020 Ruling and Order to supplement her discovery responses. Thus, her
responses were due, at the latest, almost three weeks before the deadline to file discovery motions.
While the Third Motion to Compel references Defendants’ attempts to contact Plaintiff in May
2021, it does not explain the failure to seek earlier relief from the Court if Plaintiff was
noncompliant with the discovery order. As excusable neglect has not been shown for a delay of
over seven months in seeking to compel Plaintiff’s discovery responses, the Third Motion to
Compel is denied. To the extent Defendants seek to have Plaintiff held in contempt for failure to
R. Doc. 85.
See R. Docs. 113, 119 and 122.
R. Doc. 131.
comply with the September 29, 2020 Ruling and Order or any other order of this Court, they shall
file a motion for contempt by no later than July 20, 2021. 10
IT IS ORDERED that the Third Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Respond to Outstanding
Discovery and Request for Sanctions, 11 filed by Magnolia Café, Inc., Robin Marshall, Skye Willis,
and Mary Daniel is DENIED as untimely.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that to the extent Defendants seek to have Plaintiff held in
contempt for failure to comply with the September 29, 2020 Ruling and Order or any other order
of this Court, they shall file a motion for contempt by no later than July 20, 2021.
Signed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 16, 2021.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Defendants’ request for an award of fees and costs associated with their Second Motion to Compel was denied
without prejudice to reurging, if appropriate. Plaintiff was further advised that she may face sanctions, including
dismissal of her suit, if she failed to comply with the September 29, 2020 Order. R. Doc. 84, p. 27.
R. Doc. 134.
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