United States District Court, D. Nevada
CHRISTOPHER A. JONES, Plaintiff,
HOWARD SKOLNIK, et al., Defendants.
LARRY R. HICKS, District Judge.
Before the Court is Defendants Yaqub Mustafaa and Taerik Berry's (collectively "Defendants") Objection to the Magistrate Judge's Order (Doc. #350) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a), and Local Rule IB 3-1(a). Doc. #355. Christopher A. Jones ("Jones") filed a Response (Doc. #357), to which Defendants replied (Doc. #364).
Also before the Court is Plaintiff Christopher Jones' Partial Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order (Doc. #350) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a). Doc. #354. Defendants filed a timely Response. Doc. #365. Jones also filed a Motion to Strike Defendants' Reply (Doc. #364) to Jones' Response (Doc. #357) to Defendants' Objection to the Magistrate Judge's Order (Doc. #355). Doc. #367. Jones also filed a Motion for Expedited Ruling. Doc. #358.
I. Legal Standard
A magistrate judge's orders operate as final determinations of pretrial matters under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and Local Rule IB 1-3. Accordingly, a district judge may reconsider a magistrate judge's order only if it is "clearly erroneous or contrary to law." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); LR IB 3-1(a).
A. Defendant's Objection
The Court has reviewed the relevant documents and pleadings on file in this matter and finds that the Magistrate Judge's Order, to which Defendants object, is not clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Therein, the Magistrate Judge denied Defendants' Motion Not to Reopen Discovery. See Doc. #350, pp. 2-3. Defendants argue that the Magistrate Judge's decision to reopen discovery will be prejudicial to both the reinstated defendants (Williams, Cox, and Skolnik), as well as the other defendants (Mustafaa, Berry, and Schultz). In this regard, Defendants appear to believe that this Court's ruling, allowing three new defendants to be reintroduced into the case years after being dismissed, was entirely predicated on the lack of prejudice to the parties because discovery was already closed. Defendants misunderstand the Court's Order in this regard. In determining whether Jones' Motion for Relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) was made within a "reasonable time, " the Court considered, among several other factors, prejudice to the opposing party caused by the delay (Williams, Cox, and Skolnik), as well as prejudice to other parties (Mustafaa, Berry, and Schultz). The Court determined that these defendants did not suffer prejudice for a number of reasons, only one of which had anything to do with discovery. Specifically, the Court concluded that "because discovery on the claim has already closed, ... any further delay in the litigation will be minimal." Doc. #315, p. 10.
Here, the Magistrate Judge ordered that "[d]iscovery as to the defendants on behalf of whom the Attorney General accepts service shall be completed no later than SIXTY (60) DAYS from the date such defendants file an answer or responsive pleading to the complaint." Doc. #350, p. 2. The Magistrate Judge further ordered that "NO further extensions of discovery... will be granted to any party for any reason." Id. at 3. Given the short time frame in which the Magistrate Judge ordered discovery reopened, the Court maintains its earlier position that any further delay in the litigation caused by reopening discovery will be minimal. Accordingly, Defendants' Objection is overruled in this regard.
The Court is not of the opinion that this Order or any other Order on the subject involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion. Accordingly, an immediate appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292 is not warranted. Finally, all claims against Defendants, which are now at the dispositive motion phase, shall proceed unhindered by the reopening of discovery.
The Magistrate Judge also granted Jones' Motion for Reasonable Expenses Related to Motion to Compel. See Doc. #350, pp. 3-4. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge found that Defendants' counsel "was unjustified in taking the drastic action of instructing the deponent not to answer [the deposition question], which has caused all parties and the court to expend additional resources." Doc. #350, p. 4. She further determined that "while plaintiff incurred some transcript costs in making [his subsequent motion to compel], the dispute centered on one deposition question; as such he is not entitled to all costs." Id.
Defendants argue that Jones did not comport with the requirements in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(5)(A), which states that a court must not order payment if:
(i) the movant filed the motion before attempting in good faith to obtain the disclosure or ...