Sharpe v. Ruiz et al

Filing 70

ORDER Granting 66 Stipulation for Extension of Time. Discovery due by 12/9/2024. Motions due by 1/7/2025. Proposed Joint Pretrial Order due by 2/6/2025. Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy J. Koppe on 6/4/2024. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - RJDG)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 6 7 RAYMOND SHARPE, 9 10 11 12 Case No. 2:22-cv-01624-MMD-NJK Plaintiff(s), 8 Order v. [Docket No. 66] RUIZ, et al., Defendant(s). Pending before the Court is a stipulation to extend case management deadlines by 90 days. 13 Docket No. 66. The Court attempted to hold a hearing on June 3, 2024. See Docket No. 68. 14 This is a prisoner civil rights case in which Plaintiff is represented by counsel. See Docket 15 No. 20. On February 26, 2024, Plaintiff was granted habeas relief and was released from custody 16 shortly thereafter. Docket No. 66 at 2. According to information on the state’s website regarding 17 inmates, Plaintiff was discharged on February 28, 2024. See Daniels-Hall v. Nat. Edu. Ass’n, 629 18 F.3d 992, 998-99 (9th Cir. 2010) (courts may take judicial notice of information on government 19 websites). Plaintiff’s transition out of custody led to logistical issues and communication 20 difficulties with his attorney. See Docket No. 66 at 2. On April 5, 2024, the parties filed a proposed 21 discovery plan seeking special scheduling review in the form of a discovery period lasting 270 22 days. See Docket No. 60 at 1; see also Local Rule 26-1(b)(1) (establishing presumptively23 reasonable discovery period of 180 days). The only reasoning offered in the proposed discovery 24 plan to support special scheduling review was the conclusory statement that more discovery time 25 was warranted “[d]ue to the number of defendants, the likely identification of additional 26 defendants, and the fact that some defendants may no longer be employed by the State.” Docket 27 No. 60 at 2. No reference was made therein to Plaintiff’s habeas proceedings, his transition out of 28 custody, or communication difficulties with his attorney. See id. Because the conclusory and 1 1 speculative reasoning given for special scheduling review is plainly insufficient, on April 8, 2024, 2 that request was denied and the Court entered the standard case management schedule. See Docket 3 No. 61. Neither an objection to that order nor a motion for reconsideration by the undersigned 4 was filed. 5 On May 20, 2024, the parties filed a stipulation to extend case management deadlines. 6 Docket No. 66. That request is predicated in significant part on the fact that Plaintiff had been 7 granted habeas relief, that he had encountered logistical issues in transitioning out of custody, and 8 that his counsel had lost communication with him during that process. See id. at 2. The stipulation 9 also represented that these issues motivated the initial request for special scheduling review, see 10 id., although they were not mentioned in the parties’ discovery plan. 11 This scenario raises a host of problems. First, extension of case management deadlines is 12 warranted only by “the development of matters which could not have been reasonably foreseen or 13 anticipated” when the scheduling order was entered. Jackson v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 14 608 (E.D. Cal. 1999). Such is plainly not the case here as the above circumstances predated the 15 filing of the discovery plan and the issuance of the scheduling order. Second and relatedly, the 16 pending filing effectively amounts to a request to reconsider the scheduling order based on 17 information that could have and should have been presented within the discovery plan. 18 Problematically, the motion for reconsideration was not brought in prompt fashion, see Local Rule 19 59-1(c), and is not a vehicle to present issues that could have been raised earlier, see Kona Enterps., 20 Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000). Third, the circumstances raise concern 21 regarding a lack of candor given the current representations that the prior request for special 22 scheduling review was sought because of reasons that were omitted from that request. See Docket 23 No. 66 at 2 (“One of the reasons that the Parties sought the original extended scheduling deadlines 24 was that on February 26, 2024, the state court in Mr. Sharpe’s post-conviction petition for writ of 25 habeas corpus granted him relief and vacated his convictions. . . . At the time of the filing of the 26 now-rejected original proposed scheduling order, Mr. Sharpe’s undersigned counsel was unable to 27 reach him and needed the extra time to communicate with him and obtain documents and 28 2 1 additional facts and information that were relevant to how discovery would proceed”); but see 2 Docket No. 60 at 2 (omitting such reasoning). 3 In short, the pending stipulation on its face fails to establish good cause for an extension 4 and fails to establish grounds for reconsideration. The reality is, however, that the Court likely 5 would have allowed an extended discovery period from the start had the discovery plan explained 6 what was actually going on. Given that the instant request is unopposed, in an effort that the case 7 be decided on its merits, and as a one-time courtesy, the Court will grant the instant request 8 construed as a motion for reconsideration. Accordingly, the stipulation is GRANTED as so 9 construed and case management deadlines are hereby RESET as follows: 10  Amend pleadings/add parties: September 9, 2024 11  Initial experts: October 9, 2024 12  Rebuttal experts: November 11, 2024 13  Discovery cutoff: December 9, 2024 14  Dispositive motions: January 7, 2025 15  Joint proposed pretrial order: February 6, 2025, or 30 days after resolution of dispositive motions 16 17 Given the leniency provided herein, the Court is not inclined to grant any further relief from these 18 deadlines absent a robust showing as to the governing standard(s). See Local Rule 26-3. 19 While the Court is granting relief as stated above, it does not excuse the conduct of 20 Plaintiff’s counsel. Given the convoluted and contradictory representations in the record, the Court 21 convened a hearing to discern what happened when so that it could resolve the pending request in 22 possession of the pertinent facts.1 The Court’s inquiry was met with an outburst by Plaintiff’s 23 counsel regarding the fact that the Court had previously denied the improperly supported discovery 24 plan and that the Court had not considered counsel’s personal life events that were not mentioned 25 in the filings as a basis for obtaining relief.2 Plaintiff’s counsel constantly interrupted and refused 26 1 The Court also had questions regarding Defendants’ late disclosures. See Docket No. 66 2 Those life events post-date the filing of the discovery plan. 27 at 2-3. 28 3 1 to provide coherent answers, impeding the ability to hold a simple hearing to fill in the gaps in her 2 filings. At the end of the day, the Court has been provided unreliable attestations as to the 3 circumstances at issue, including a recantation of the representations made recently in the pending 4 stipulation itself. Hearing Rec. (6/3/2024) at 2:06 p.m. (“that’s just wrong”). The Court certainly 5 sympathizes with the life events identified at the hearing, but those events do not give counsel 6 license to cast aside the decorum expected in the courtroom. Moving forward, counsel must act 7 with “a high degree of professionalism and civility.” Local Rule 1-1(c). Moreover, those life 8 events do not relieve counsel of her duty to make factually accurate representations to the Court. 9 See, e.g., Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 Dated: June 4, 2024 ______________________________ Nancy J. Koppe United States Magistrate Judge 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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