Renner v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A
ORDER denying 46 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice ; denying 49 Motion to Continue; denying 49 Motion to Amend/Correct; denying 49 Motion for Mediation. Signed by Chief Judge Dana L. Christensen on 2/24/2017. (dle)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
AUDREY M. RENNER,
Defendant Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc. (“Takeda”) moves: (1) for
the admission of D’Lesli Davis pro hac vice; and (2) to continue the trial and final
pretrial conference in this matter, currently scheduled for March 27, 2017, and
March 16, 2017, respectively, and all associated deadlines. Plaintiff Audrey
Renner (“Renner”) opposes both motions. For the reasons described below, the
Court will deny these motions.
A. Pro Hace Vice Motion
As discussed, Takeda moves for the admission of D’Lesli Davis pro hac
vice. Renner opposes this motion and, in her brief in opposition to the motion,
highlights that it fails to comply with this District’s Local Rules. In particular, the
affidavit filed in support of the motion fails to adhere to specific requirements of
Rule 83.1(d)(3), which requires that the affidavit state: (1) the applicant’s firm
name and telephone, fax, and e-mail contact information; (2) that the applicant has
paid or will pay the Court’s admission fee; (3) that the applicant either has
completed the District of Montana’s online training for electronic filing or is
proficient in electronic filing in another federal district court; (4) whether the
applicant has ever been sanctioned under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(f) or
its state equivalent; (5) that the applicant understands that pro hac vice admission
in this Court is personal to the attorney only and is not admission of a law firm and
that the attorney will be held fully accountable for the conduct of the litigation in
this Court; and (6) that the applicant has complied with Montana Rule of
Professional Conduct 8.5. See L.R. 83.1(d)(3)(A), (B), (C), (G), (I), (J). Because
the affidavit fails to meet these requirements, the Court will deny the motion.
However, the more important question is whether the Court will grant
Takeda leave to refile the motion. The Court declines to do so. Despite the
affidavit’s technical issues, the timing of this motion comes at a particularly late
point in the course of this proceeding. Trial in this matter is set for March 27,
2017, a little over a month away. The Court is sympathetic to the fact the Nathan
Huey, Takeda’s prior lead counsel, left the state and is no longer involved with
this case. However, Mr. Huey’s departure, as stated during the November 22,
2016 hearing on the motion for sanctions, occurred months ago. Despite this
knowledge, Takeda now moves, months later, to bring another lawyer on to this
case. The Court considers this motion untimely and, as such, denies it.
B. Motion to Continue
Next, Takeda moves to: (1) continue the trial in this matter for 6 months; (2)
continue all trial deadlines; (3) extend the discovery deadline; and (4) extend the
expert deadline.1 Takeda offers several reasons for these requested continuances,
including: (1) Mr. Huey’s departure from this case; (2) the retention of new
counsel by Takeda; (3) the Court’s January 12, 2017 Order which granted in part
Renner’s motion for sanctions; and (4) “newly discovered evidence” related to a
potential witness in this case. Renner opposes the motion.
As stated in the Court’s Scheduling Order, motions to continue the trial or
reopen discovery will only be granted for “compelling reasons.” (Doc. 13 at 3.)
The Court finds that the reasons offered by Takeda fail to meet this standard.
First, as mentioned above, the Court understands that Takeda’s case has been
complicated by the departure of its lead counsel. However, Takeda’s current lead
counsel, William Ballew, participated in the Court’s Preliminary Pretrial
Conference, which was held on March 25, 2016, and has been involved with this
The Court notes that Takeda states that there is no current deadline for the parties to
disclose liability experts. Takeda is mistaken. The deadline for disclosure of liability experts, as
expressly stated in the Court’s Scheduling Order, is September 12, 2016. (Doc. 13 at 1.)
case since its beginning. Further, the Court finds that Mr. Ballew, a trial attorney
with decades of experience, is fully capable of litigating this case. The Court is
well aware of his capabilities and has no doubts that he has and will continue to
provide more than adequate representation. This is notwithstanding the fact that
Mr. Ballew’s firm has at least two other attorneys who are available to assist in
this litigation. Also, as stated above, Takeda has been aware of Mr. Huey's
departure for at least three months. As such, this is not the case where an attorney
has withdrawn from representation on the eve of trial.
Second, because the Court is denying the motion to admit pro hac vice
counsel, the need to get this new attorney “up to speed” is now moot. Third,
Takeda was well aware, since at least August 24, 2016, i.e., the date Renner
moved for sanctions, that sanctions could be imposed due to the spoliation of
evidence by a Takeda employee. The Court’s Order imposing sanctions should
not have come as a surprise.
Finally, Takeda’s argument that the Court should reopen discovery and
continue the trial for six months due to “newly discovered evidence” is likewise
unpersuasive to the Court. Takeda argues that the Court should reopen discovery
because it recently spoke with a health care provider, Dr. Kathleen Kellogg, who
appears to have knowledge about the circumstances related to Renner’s
termination. However, this health care provider has been known to Takeda since
the date of Renner’s termination. In fact, this health care provider was listed in
Renner’s termination letter as one of the people that Renner allegedly lied about
meeting. (Doc. 16-1 at 2.) Thus, the argument that her testimony could be
considered newly discovered evidence rings hollow to the Court.
In conclusion, in addition to the Court’s finding that the reasons cited in
support of the motion are not compelling, the Court will likewise deny this motion
as untimely. As discussed above, this case was set for trial almost a year ago.
Arguably, the reasons in support of the motion have been known to Takeda for
three months. Now, on the eve of trial, Takeda moves to delay resolution of this
matter for another six months. The Court declines to do so and will deny the
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that:
(1) Defendant Takeda’s Motion to Admit D’Lesli Davis Pro Hac Vice (Doc.
46) is DENIED with prejudice; and
(2) Defendant Takeda’s Motion to Continue the Trial (Doc. 49) is DENIED.
DATED this 24th day of February, 2017.
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