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Terrell v. Central Wash. Asphalt

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 17, 2014

WILLIAM TERRELL, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CENTRAL WASHINGTON ASPHALT, et al., Defendants

For Quentin Slagowski, by and through court appointed Guardian Ad Litem, William Terrell, Rowan Slagowski, by and through court appointed Guardian Ad Litem, William Terrell, Anika Slagowski, by and through court appointed Guardian Ad Litem, William Terrell, Plaintiffs: Gerald Ivey Gillock, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gerald I. Gillock & Associates, Las Vegas, NV; Timothy G. Tietjen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, San Francisco, CA; Neil G. Galatz, Gordon Silver, Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

For Estate of Jon Michael Slagowski, by and through its personal representative, Patricia Dean, William Terrell, Guardian Ad Litem for Quentin Slagowski, a minor, Anika Slagowski, a minor, and Rowan Slagowski, a minor, Plaintiffs: Gerald Ivey Gillock, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gerald I. Gillock & Associates, Las Vegas, NV; Timothy G. Tietjen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, San Francisco, CA.

For Central Washington Asphalt, Inc., Defendant: Daniel F. Polsenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis and Roca LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Eric Kuwana, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Washington, DC; Jason R. Wigg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Jeffrey C Grady, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Charlotte, NC; Joel D. Henriod, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Las Vegas, NV; Elizabeth R. Mikesell, Law Office of Clayson & Mikesell, Las Vegas, NV.

For Donald Hannon, James Wentland, Jerry Goldsmith, Defendants, ThirdParty Plaintiffs, Counter Defendants: Daniel F. Polsenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis and Roca LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Eric Kuwana, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Washington, DC; Jason R. Wigg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Jeffrey C Grady, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Charlotte, NC; Joel D. Henriod, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Las Vegas, NV.

For Phillip Law, 12cv1435, Doreen Lea Law, 12cv1435, Consol Plaintiffs: George T. Bochanis, George T. Bochanis, Ltd., Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

For Kathryn Zemke, 12cv1475, Consol Plaintiff: Jason Runckel, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP, Walnut Creek, CA; Nadia von Magdenko, LEAD ATTORNEY, von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, Las Vegas, NV; Steven B Wolfson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

For Central Washington Asphalt, Inc., ThirdParty Defendant, Counter Defendant: Daniel F. Polsenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis and Roca LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Eric Kuwana, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Washington, DC; Jason R. Wigg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Jeffrey C Grady, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Charlotte, NC; Joel D. Henriod, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Las Vegas, NV.

For Doreen Lea Law, ThirdParty Defendant: Elizabeth R. Mikesell, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Clayson & Mikesell, Las Vegas, NV; Jason R. Wigg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

For Mitchell Forest Zemke, ThirdParty Defendant: Nadia von Magdenko, LEAD ATTORNEY, von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, Las Vegas, NV; Charles Michalek, Rogers mastrangelo, Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Stephen H. Rogers, Rogers, Mastrangelo, Carvalho & Mitchell, Las Vegas, NV.

For Chip Edward Fenton, Fenton Trucking, LLC, ThirdParty Defendants: Bruce Scott Dickinson, Michael E. Hottman, Stephenson & Dickinson, Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

For Mitchell Forest Zemke, Counter Claimant: Nadia von Magdenko, LEAD ATTORNEY, von Magdenko & Associates, PLLC, Las Vegas, NV; Jason Runckel, PRO HAC VICE, O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP, Walnut Creek, CA; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Steven B Wolfson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

For Central Washington Asphalt, Inc., 12cv1435, Consol Counter Claimant: Daniel F. Polsenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis and Roca LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Eric Kuwana, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Washington, DC; Jason R. Wigg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Jeffrey C Grady, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Charlotte, NC; Joel D. Henriod, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Las Vegas, NV.

For Doreen Lea Law, 12cv1435, Consol Counter Defendant: George T. Bochanis, George T. Bochanis, Ltd., Las Vegas, NV; Steven T. Jaffe, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV.

ORDER

CAM FERENBACH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Before the court is Defendant Central Washington Asphalt's Emergency Motion to Compel (#367). Terrell filed an opposition (#369). On November 17, 2014, the court held a hearing. For the reasons stated below, Central Washington's Motion to Compel (#367) is denied.

BACKGROUND

This discovery dispute presents one question: when should Kevin Kirkendall be deposed? Kirkendall is Defendants' rebuttal economics expert. He was retained to rebut Plaintiffs' economics expert, Robert Johnson.

Originally, Johnson was scheduled to be deposed on September 24, 2014; and Kirkendall was scheduled to be deposed on October 7, 2014. But, a scheduling conflict arose. Plaintiffs decided to reschedule Johnson's deposition for November 18, 2014, after Kirkendall's October 7, 2014 deposition.

Defendants objected. On October 3, 2014, Defendants filed an emergency motion. Defendants asked the court to vacate Kirkendall's October 7, 2014 deposition. The reason: Kirkendall was retained to rebut Johnson; therefore, Johnson should logically go first. Plaintiffs disagreed. Logic aside, they argued that it would be unfair for Johnson to go before Kirkendall. The reason: Plaintiffs have already produced three experts for depositions, but Defendants have produced none.

On October 10, 2014, the court held a hearing. The parties were ordered to file a stipulation that listed dates for their various experts' depositions. They complied and filed a stipulation that provided, in pertinent part, the following schedule:

November 12, 2014: Kopernik's Deposition (i.e., Defendants' Liability Expert)
November 13, 2014: Dillich's Deposition (i.e., Defendants' Liability Expert)
November 18, 2014: Johnson's Deposition (i.e., Plaintiff's Economics Expert)

The parties still could not agree when Kirkendall should be deposed. They left it to the court's discretion.

On October 16, 2014, the court entered a scheduling order. It provided for two deposition schedules to address the parties' various concerns. The court first stated that if " CWA Defendants' experts Dilich and Kopernik go forward as scheduled above, CWA Defendants' rebuttal expert, Kevin Kirkendall, will be deposed on November 21, 2014." This language rendered the following schedule:

November 12, 2014: Kopernik's Deposition
November 13, 2014: Dillich's Deposition
November 18, 2014: Johnson's Deposition
November 21, 2014: Kirkendall's Deposition

This schedule made sense for two reasons: (1) it addressed the fairness concern by requiring Defendants to produce two witnesses before Plaintiffs produce a fourth witness and (2) it required Plaintiff's initial expert (i.e., Johnson) to be deposed before Defendants' rebuttal expert (i.e., Kirkendall).

The court's order provided for an alternative schedule. The order stated that " [i]f the depositions of Mike Delich or Dror Kopernik do not go forward on or before November 13, 2014, then Kevin Kirkendall's deposition must be taken before Robert Johnson's deposition." This envisioned one the following thee possible chronologies for the four depositions at issue:

November 12, 2014: Kopernik fails to appear
November 13, 2014: Dillich is deposed
To be Determined: Kirkendall's Deposition
To be Determined: Johnson's Deposition
or
November 12, 2014: Kopernik is deposed
November 13, 2014: Dilich fails to appear
To be Determined: Kirkendall's Deposition
To be Determined: Johnson's Deposition
or
November 12, 2014: Kopernik fails to appear
November 13, 2014: Dilich fails to appear
To be Determined: Kirkendall's Deposition
To be Determined: Johnson's Deposition

This alternative schedule made sense for two reasons: (1) it addressed the fairness concern by requiring Defendants to produce two witnesses before Plaintiffs produce a fourth and (2) it provided Defendants with an incentive to produce two witnesses before Plaintiffs produced a fourth. That is, if neither Kopernik nor Dilich were deposed as scheduled, then Defendants would lose what they originally wanted: Johnson before Kirkendall.

On November 12, 2014, Kopernik failed to appear for health reasons. Defendants, then, filed the instant emergency motion. The reasons: (1) " Plaintiff's contend that because Kopernik is no longer being deposed, Johnson's deposition is now off calendar" and (2) Defendants move the court to modify its previous order to require Johnson to be deposed on November 18, 2014.

DISCUSSION

Defendants' motion is denied. Defendants argue that the court should grant its requested relief because the court's prior order was designed to prevent " strategic" decisions that would be " punished." Here, Defendants argue, no punishment is warranted because Kopernik's health problems are not the result of strategy.

The court's prior order contained no language regarding motive, intent, punishment, or strategy. It simply said that if either Kopernik or Dilick's depositions do not occur, then Defendants do not get what they wanted: Johnson before Kirkendall. Kopernik failed to appear on November 12, 2014. The court's prior order accounted for this possibility. It stated that if this occurs, then Kirkendall goes before Johnson. Defendants' argument that Johnson should proceed before Kirkendall is incorrect. Kopernik's reason for failing to appear is irrelevant.

The parties' unilateral cancellation of deposition has become disruptive. Unilateral cancellations are no longer permitted absent a demonstration of " compelling reasons." See Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006) (discussing this standard in a different context). Failure to comply with this court order will result in sanctions. See Little v. City of Seattle, 863 F.2d 681, 685 (9th Cir. 1988) (" [A] district court has wide discretion in controlling discovery."). Further unnecessary disruption of the court's scheduling orders for other reasons may also result in sanctions.

ACCORDINGLY, and for good cause shown,

IT IS ORDERED that Central Washington Asphalt's Emergency Motion to Compel (#367) is DENIED.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Parties must file a Stipulated Discovery Schedule by November 24, 2014, which details the status of the 38 depositions that have been scheduled.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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