Martin et al v. Local 556, Transportation Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting 94 Motion to Continue filed by Stacy K Martin and ordering supplementation of 97 Motion to Disqualify Defense Counsel filed by Stacy K Martin. (Ordered by Judge Sidney A Fitzwater on 2/21/2017) (Judge Sidney A Fitzwater)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
STACY K. MARTIN, et al.,
LOCAL 556, TRANSPORTATION
WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA,
§ Civil Action No. 3:14-CV-0500-D
The February 13, 2017 motion of plaintiffs Stacy K. Martin (“Martin”) and Chris Click
(“Click”) to continue trial is granted for the reasons explained in § I of this memorandum opinion
and order.1 In granting this motion, the court suggests no view on the merits of Martin’s February
14, 2017 motion for leave to file motion to disqualify defense counsel, which remains for decision
pending receipt of the supplemental briefing addressed in § II of this memorandum opinion and
The trial of this case is set to commence on Monday, March 20, 2017, with the pretrial
conference scheduled for Thursday, March 16, 2017.2 Counsel for Martin and Click learned on
Under § 205(a)(5) of the E-Government Act of 2002 and the definition of “written opinion”
adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, this is a “written opinion issued by the
court” because it “sets forth a reasoned explanation for [the] court’s decision.” It has been written,
however, primarily for the parties, to decide issues presented in this case, and not for publication in
an official reporter, and should be understood accordingly.
The motion of Martin and Click states that the case is set on the two-week docket of March
20, 2017. That is not precisely correct. In an order filed on February 3, 2017, the court assigned
February 9, 2017 that he had been given a surprise, non-refundable birthday gift to attend the first
round of March Madness in Las Vegas, Nevada over the March 16-19 weekend, making it difficult
to prepare for a trial that is scheduled to commence on March 20. Defendant does not oppose a oneday continuance, but it does oppose any greater continuance. Counsel for Martin and Click is
concerned that this delay would require that the trial lapse into a second week based on the parties’
respective trial estimates of four or five days.
The court’s long-standing practice in civil cases3 has been to accommodate whenever
possible reasonable scheduling conflicts—including personal scheduling conflicts—of counsel. In
the court’s experience, counsel are routinely called upon to make personal sacrifices for their clients
and the system of justice. Making reasonable accommodations for counsels’ schedules promotes
respect for the court as an institution and civility among members of the Bar, and it can have a direct
impact on the well-being of the attorneys who perform the vital roles of advocates pursuing justice
for their clients. Consistent with this practice, the court is inclined to accommodate the scheduling
conflict of counsel for Martin and Click, despite its admittedly personal nature.
The court’s schedule will not, however, permit it to commence a four- or five-day trial on
Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The court must conduct its Dallas criminal docket on Friday, March 24,
meaning that there would only be three days available the first week of trial.4 And even if the parties
were able to resume the trial the following Monday, March 27, the undersigned presides over the
the case to commence on March 20, 2017, and it set the specific date and time for holding the
Unlike civil cases, criminal cases involve the constraints of the Speedy Trial Act.
Even if the court imposed a four-day time limit on the trial, it could not be completed during
the first week.
Amarillo Division criminal docket in addition to his duties in the Dallas Division. The undersigned
is scheduled to sit in Amarillo March 27-29, 2017, and cannot resume the trial until late in the
second week. It is therefore necessary to vacate the March 20, 2017 trial setting.
After considering defendant’s concerns about a trial continuance, the court concludes that
it should grant the motion with the following requirement. The trial will not commence as scheduled
on March 20, 2017, but the parties must continue to make all required pretrial filings as if this were
the trial date. That way, once the trial is reached, no delay will be necessary to complete pretrial
filings. The pretrial conference scheduled for March 16, 2017 is canceled and will be rescheduled.
After Martin’s February 14, 2017 motion for leave to file motion to disqualify defense counsel has
been resolved—either because the court denies leave to file the motion or, having granted leave,
after the motion is decided on the merits—the court will review its calendar, provide counsel a
proposed trial date or dates, and permit counsel to advise the court whether they have any material
conflicts with the trial date or dates under consideration.
In Martin’s February 14, 2017 motion for leave to file motion to disqualify defense counsel,
he refers to good cause, but he does not cite or discuss the applicable four-part test for modifying
the scheduling order. Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4),5 to modify the scheduling order, a party must
demonstrate good cause and obtain the judge’s consent. Id. The good cause standard “require[s]
the movant ‘to show that the deadlines cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party
needing the extension.’” Puig v. Citibank, N.A., 514 Fed. Appx. 483, 487-88 (5th Cir. 2013) (per
Unlike the motion of Martin and Click for a trial continuance, the motion for leave does not
cite Rule 16(b)(4).
curiam) (quoting S & W Enters., L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., N.A., 315 F.3d 533, 535 (5th Cir.
2003)). “In determining whether the movant has met its burden under Rule 16(b)(4), the court
considers four factors: (1) the party’s explanation, (2) the importance of the requested relief,
(3) potential prejudice in granting the relief, and (4) the availability of a continuance to cure such
prejudice.” Cartier v. Egana of Switz. (Am.) Corp., 2009 WL 614820, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 11,
2009) (Fitzwater, C.J.) (citing S & W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536). The court considers the four factors
holistically and “does not mechanically count the number of factors that favor each side.” EEOC
v. Serv. Temps., Inc., 2009 WL 3294863, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 13, 2009) (Fitzwater, C.J.), aff’d, 679
F.3d 323 (5th Cir. 2012).
Martin’s motion does not discuss the four-factor test. Accordingly, no later than February
28, 2017, Martin must file a supplement to his motion that addresses the pertinent four factors.
Defendant may file a supplemental response, and Martin may file a supplemental reply, by the
deadlines for responses and replies specified in the local civil rules.
The February 13, 2017 motion of Martin and Click to continue trial is granted. Martin is
directed to supplement his February 14, 2017 motion for leave to file motion to disqualify defense
February 21, 2017.
SIDNEY A. FITZWATER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?