Castillo v. Tyson Foods, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER entered GRANTING 33 Opposed MOTION for Continuance ( Discovery due by 8/3/2015, Joint Pretrial Order due by 10/16/2015., Discovery Hearing set for 6/3/2015 at 11:30 AM in Courtroom 11B before Judge Lee H Rosenthal, Docket Call reset for 10/23/2015 at 02:00 PM in Courtroom 11B before Judge Lee H Rosenthal)(Signed by Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified.(leddins, 4)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
TYSON FOODS, INC., et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-14-2354
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
The defendants, Tyson Foods, Inc. and Rudy Martinez (together, “Tyson”), moved for
summary judgment based on the election of the plaintiff, Maria Castillo, to participate in Tyson’s
Workplace Injury Settlement Program and accept benefits under that program, waiving her right to
the relief she seeks in this case. Castillo moved for additional time to conduct discovery before
responding to the motion. (Docket Entry Nos. 32, 33). Tyson opposed the motion and Castillo filed
a supplemental reply. (Docket Entry Nos. 34, 35).
To obtain relief on a Rule 56(d) motion, “the nonmoving party [at summary judgment] must
show how the additional discovery will defeat the summary judgment motion,” and this showing
“may not simply rely on vague assertions that additional discovery will produce needed, but
unspecified[,] facts.” McAlister v. Livingston, 348 F. App’x 923, 940 (5th Cir. 2009) (per curiam);
Carder v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 595 F. App’x 293, 296 (5th Cir. 2014). Rule 56 does not
require that any discovery take place before summary judgment can be granted; if a party cannot
adequately defend such a motion, Rule [56(d) ] is his remedy.” Washington v. Allstate Ins. Co., 901
F.2d 1281, 1285 (5th Cir. 1990). Under Rule 56(d), a party opposing summary judgment may
request a continuance for further discovery. To obtain a Rule 56(d) continuance, the party must
“show[ ] by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to
justify its opposition.” FED. R. CIV. P. 56(d).
Castillo has met her burden under Rule 56(d). She has identified specific reasons why the
discovery responses provided to date and the information she otherwise has available are insufficient
to enable her to respond to the summary judgment motion. The motion is based on a document that
she does not recall signing. There are also issues relating to how the dumper in this case was
maintained. She has identified specific discovery that she needs to take, including the deposition
of Jessica Salazar, the corporate representative Tyson designated to testify on the Workplace Injury
Settlement Program. She has also identified additional documents she sought in discovery that she
contends Tyson has objected to and failed to produce.
Counsel for Tyson oppose the added time and discovery, asserting that Castillo failed to
pursue discovery diligently. Tyson is correct that this can be the basis for denying a Rule 56(d)
request. See Beattie v. Madison Co. Sch. Dist., 254 F.3d 595, 606 (5th Cir. 2001). In the present
case, however, Castillo has adequately explained why she finds herself with inadequate information
despite the time available for discovery before Tyson filed its summary judgment motion. She
asserts that critical witnesses were not available for depositions until recently, and that important
additional documents were recently produced. Castillo explains that some of the depositions could
not be taken earlier because of health problems facing her counsel’s elderly father and requiring her
counsel’s close involvement. She also explains that Tyson only recently identified the appropriate
witness on the administration of the Workplace Injury Settlement Program.
Additional time to conduct discovery and to allow Castillo to include that information in her
response to Tyson’s summary judgment motion is appropriate. In so ruling, the court does not agree
with Castillo that Tyson or its counsel conducted discovery improperly. To the contrary, there
appears to be disagreement on what documents must be produced. A hearing on the discovery issues
is set for June 3, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. in Courtroom 11-B.
The following amended deadlines apply:
August 3, 2015
August 17, 2015
PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO MOTION FOR
August 31, 2015
DEFENDANT TO FILE SURREPLY OF NO
MORE THAN 5 PAGES
October 16, 2015
JOINT PRETRIAL ORDER DUE
October 23, 2015
DOCKET CALL SET FOR 2:00 P.M. IN
SIGNED on May 29, 2015, at Houston, Texas.
Lee H. Rosenthal
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?