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Johnson v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 9, 2020

LAUSTEVEION JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
RASHONDA SMITH, et al., Defendants.

          AARON D. FORD Attorney General Katlyn M. Brady (Bar No. 14173) Deputy Attorney General State of Nevada Office of the Attorney General Attorneys for Defendants James Cox, James Dzurenda, Rashonda Smith, Jo Gentry, and Brian Williams

          DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO CONTINUE THE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE (FIRST REQUEST)

         Defendants James Cox, James Dzurenda, Rashonda Smith, Jo Gentry, and Brian Williams, by and through counsel, Aaron D. Ford, Nevada Attorney General, and Katlyn M. Brady, Deputy Attorney General, request this Court reschedule the Settlement Conference currently scheduled for February 21, 2020.

         MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Lausteveion Johnson is an inmate lawfully incarcerated in the Nevada Department of Corrections. On March 1, 2018, Johnson filed the First Amended Complaint. ECF No. 7. On February 20, 2019, this Court issued a Screening Order permitting two claims to proceed. ECF No. 10.

         On December 2, 2019, Johnson filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. ECF No. 34. On December 5, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 35. These motions remain pending.

         On December 17, 2019, this Court entered an Order Setting a Settlement Conference for February 21, 2019. ECF No. 40.

         Johnson is involved in several federal court cases, including Lausteveion Johnson v. Northern Nevada Correctional Center, et al., Case No. 2: 15-cv-00884-JAD-NJK. On January 2, 2020, the Honorable Judge Dorsey set a bench trial in this matter for February 20, 2020. Undersigned counsel is the lead counsel in both cases. Further, the bench trial in 0884 has already been moved once due to Johnson's litigation schedule. Specifically, the bench trial was initially scheduled for January 17, 2020. However, the trial was moved because Johnson has a Settlement Conference in another case scheduled for January 17, 2020.

         Defendants now seek to reschedule the Settlement Conference as undersigned counsel will be unable to prepare for the settlement conference, given Johnson has a trial scheduled for the day before the Settlement Conference. Further, while the parties anticipate the trial lasting one day, due to the number of witnesses it may last two days.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         District courts have inherent power to control their dockets. Hamilton Copper & Steel Corp. v. Primary Steel, Inc., 898 F.2d 1428, 1429 (9th Cir. 1990); Olivia v. Sullivan, 958 F.2d 272, 273 (9th Cir. 1992). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(a) "schedule shall not be modified except upon a showing of good cause and by leave of the district judge or, when authorized by local rule, by a magistrate judge."

         III. ARGUMENT

         This Court should reschedule the February 21, 2020 Settlement Conference. Undersigned counsel is currently scheduled to participate in a federal bench trial on February 20, 2020. See Declaration of Counsel, attached as Exhibit A. As the Settlement Conference in this matter is scheduled for the day after the trial, undersigned counsel will be unable to adequately prepare for the settlement conference. Id. As undersigned counsel is lead counsel in both matters, the Settlement Conference cannot be transferred to another attorney because a new attorney would need additional time to familiarize themselves with this case.

         Further, preparing for the Settlement Conference while Johnson and counsel simultaneously prepare for trial may raise an ethical issue. Specifically, it appears improper for undersigned counsel to contact and discuss settlements with Johnson, while he is simultaneously working with counsel in another case. This is particularly concerning, as Johnson has proposed several ...


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