Blackwelder v. Thornton et al
ORDER. IT IS ORDERED that 46 Plaintiff's Request to Cancel the 1/26/17, Settlement Conference to be Conducted by The Hon. Carl. W. Hoffman, U.S. Magistrate Court Judge is GRANTED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen on 1/23/17. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - MR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA
Case No. 2:15-cv-02373-JAD-PAL
(Mot. Cancel SC – ECF No. 46)
CHARLES THORNTON, et al.,
Before the court is Plaintiff’s Request to Cancel the January 26, 2017, Settlement
Conference to be Conducted by The Honorable Carl W. Hoffman, U.S. Magistrate Court Judge
(ECF No. 46). The court has reviewed the motion, and Defendants’ Responses (ECF Nos. 48, 49).
On October 4, 2016, the parties submitted a Stipulation for Settlement Conference (ECF
No. 33) which the court granted in an Order (ECF No.35) entered the following day. The Order
(ECF No. 34) initially set the settlement conference for January 6, 2017. Due to the scheduling
needs of the court, the court entered an Order (ECF No. 41) continuing the settlement conference
to January 26, 2017, before The Honorable Judge Hoffman.
The instant motion was filed a week before the scheduled settlement conference. Plaintiff
states that “the case is not ready for the settlement conference, and will not be ready by the time
of the scheduled settlement conference” as further discovery needs to be completed. Motion (ECF
No. 46), 3:2-4. Additionally, the parties have discovery disputes. Finally, Defendants have
consistently represented to the Court and counsel for Plaintiff that related litigation in New Jersey
has been settled, but recently advised that the case has not settled and is set for trial in mid-February
2017. Plaintiff therefore believes “any settlement of the instant case requires discovery of these
contradictory contentions; perhaps even to await the outcome of the New Jersey trial”.
Defendants Brian Howells and Aecos, Ltd. responded to the motion stating that Plaintiff’s
desire to complete discovery is contrary to earlier statements Plaintiff made that a settlement
conference would hopefully avoid further the costs and expenses associated with discovery.
Furthermore, the late date in which the motion to cancel was filed forced Defendants to incur fees
and costs related to submitting a timely confidential settlement statement. However, Defendants
Howells and Aecos, Ltd. do no oppose vacating the settlement conference because any settlement
conference the Plaintiff attends involuntarily is not likely to be successful.
Defendant Charles Thornton also does not oppose the motion as it appears the parties are
not prepared to engage in settlement discussions. However, Thornton believes that a mandatory
settlement conference would be productive in resolving this case. He requests resetting the
settlement conference on a date certain within the next 90 to 120 days “to allow the parties to
conduct minimally necessary factual investigation.”
The court has an unusually high volume of cases referred for an ENE as well as cases
referred by the district judges for mandatory settlement conferences. Requesting to continue the
settlement conference a week before the scheduled conference is to take place, especially where
the parties have stipulated to the conference and it has been set for several months, is discourteous
and delays other parties waiting their turn for an earlier available date. The court will grant the
motion, but will not reschedule the settlement conference until after the close of discovery,
dispositive motions have been decided, and the case is referred by the district judge.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Request to Cancel the January 26, 2017, Settlement
Conference to be Conducted by The Hon. Carl. W. Hoffman, U.S. Magistrate Court Judge (ECF
No. 46) is GRANTED.
DATED this 23rd day of January, 2017.
PEGGY A. LEEN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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