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U.S.A. Dawgs, Inc. v. Spilotro Law Group, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 29, 2018

U.S.A. DAWGS, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
SPILOTRO LAW GROUP, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER (DOCKET NOS. 36, 37)

          NANCY J. KOPPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is a stipulation for a settlement conference and to reopen discovery. Docket Nos. 36, 37. The stipulation is hereby DENIED without prejudice.

         A. Procedural Defects

         The stipulation is procedurally defective. First, the local rules prohibit the filing of documents seeking diverse types of relief and, instead, a separate request must be filed for each type of relief sought. Local Rule IC 2-2(b); see also Docket No. 38. Second, the stipulation fails to provide a signature line as required. Local Rule 7-1(e) (incorporating form requirements from Local Rule IA 6-2).[1] Third, the stipulation provides an incorrect statement as to when requests for extensions must be made, as they are due 21 days before the expiration of the subject deadline(s) for which extension is sought and not 21 days before the discovery cutoff. Compare Local Rule 26-4 with Docket No. 36 at 7. This has already been pointed out to the parties in this case. Docket No. 20 at 3 (rejecting and replacing portion of discovery plan).[2]

         B. Substantive Defects

         The stipulation is substantively defective. Requests to reopen expired deadlines in the scheduling order must be supported by both “good cause” and “excusable neglect.” See Local Rule 26-4; see also Docket No. 26 at & n.1 (explaining the applicable standards when a deadline has already expired). The stipulation fails to address excusable neglect at all. Such a shortcoming is especially problematic in situations, like the one here, where discovery closed several months ago and the case should be primed for trial. See Id. at 1-2 (establishing discovery cutoff of November 2, 2017, and deadline to file joint proposed pretrial order of January 3, 2018).

         With respect to good cause, the stipulation indicates that it is an “abstract term” for which “scant” case law exists providing guidance. Docket No. 36 at 3. In making this assertion, the parties ignore well-established and binding Ninth Circuit case law providing a concrete standard for “good cause” in the context of requests to extend the deadlines in the scheduling order. See, e.g., Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 610 (9th Cir. 1992); see also Derosa v. Blood Sys., Inc., 2013 WL 3975764, at *1 & n.1 (D. Nev. Aug. 1, 2013). Making matters worse, the stipulation is not only internally inconsistent but also contradicted by other representations in the record. The stipulation indicates that “[t]he illness and injury suffered by counsel for Defendant has essentially taken him out of the office for almost five months.” Docket No. 36 at 6. Earlier in the stipulation, however, the parties represent that counsel's medical procedure occurred “in September of 2017 [and] took him effectively from his office for approximately two weeks, ” and that the “remainder of the discovery period” was spent conferring over discovery disputes, dealing with issues of service, and engaging in settlement discussions. Id. at 2.[3] Moreover, the parties represented to the Court on October 4, 2017, that “discovery is ongoing” and made no mention of counsel being unable to conduct discovery due to a medical issue. Docket No. 30 at 2. Hence, it appears that counsel was only sidelined for two weeks as a result of the medical issue and that he was back to work as of at least October 4, 2017 (or almost four months before the pending stipulation was filed). No. showing has been made that a two-week absence suffices to reopen discovery at this late date.[4]

         C. Conclusion

         For the reasons discussed above, the stipulation is DENIED without prejudice. Any renewed request shall be filed by February 12, 2018.[5] Counsel shall ensure that such request complies with all applicable rules. Counsel shall also ensure that such request identifies and addresses the applicable standards. Unless a renewed request is filed and granted, the parties shall file a joint proposed pretrial order by March 12, 2018.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

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Notes:

[1] Although the filing is captioned as a “joint motion, ” it is presented by all parties remaining in the case and is, therefore, a stipulation. See Local Rule 7-1(c).

[2] For example, the stipulation seeks to reopen, inter alia, the deadline for expert disclosures. Docket No. 36 at 6. Any request to extend that deadline should have been filed by August 14, 2017. Compare Docket No. 26 at 1 (setting deadline for September 4, 2017) with Local Rule 26-4 (requests to ...


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