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United States v. Northcutt

August 21, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TERRY NORTHCUTT AND TIMBERLINE ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, JILL NORTHCUTT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER

Discovery Cut-Off: 4/24/09

Non-Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 5/14/09

Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 5/25/09

Settlement Conference Date: 5/6/09 10:00 Ctrm. 10

Date of Scheduling Conference. August 21, 2008.

Pre-Trial Conference Date: 8/3/09 11:00 Ctrm. 3

Trial Date: 9/15/09 9:00 Ctrm. 3 (JT-12 days)

I. Summary of Pleadings

1. The United States alleges that Defendants negligently started the White Fire, which ignited on or about August 19, 2001, on National Forest System lands within the Stanislaus National Forest, and as a result of conduct of Defendants' employees. The United States alleges that Defendants' operation of heavy equipment and machinery, specifically feller, buncher and dozer equipment, caused the ignition of the White Fire, resulting in fire suppression costs; resource damages (including, but not limited to, rehabilitation and restoration costs, loss of timber, and loss of habitat and environmental values); investigative, accounting, collection and administrative costs; and interest and penalties. This action is brought under both Federal and California law, including Federal and California common law, California Health and Safety Code §§ 13007-13009.1, California Public Resources Code § 4435, California Civil Code § 1714(a), 36 C.F.R. pt. 261, and 31 U.S.C. §§ 3711 and 3717. The United States incorporates by reference its Complaint, filed April 17, 2008 (Doc. 1).

2. Defendant Timberline Environmental Services denies that it was negligent and denies that its operation of equipment caused the White Fire. Defendant further denies that the United States suffered the extent of damages claimed. Defendant denies that the amount of suppression costs and other damages claimed were reasonable, necessary, or supported by appropriate documentation.

II. Orders Re Amendments To Pleadings

1. The parties do not anticipate amending the pleadings at this time.

III. Factual Summary

A. Admitted Facts Which Are Deemed Proven Without Further Proceedings

1. On or about July 5, 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service ("Forest Service") awarded a contract to Defendant Timberline Environmental Services to secure services to reduce fuels (biomass) within the Dry Meadow Timber Sale area, located on the Summit Ranger District, Stanislaus National Forest, by mechanical removal of small standing green conifers and dead trees.

2. In operating the heavy equipment and machinery, and at all other times material to this action, Defendant Timberline Environmental Services' employees acted within the course and scope of their employment and were the agents and servants of Defendant Timberline Environmental Services.

3. The United States has made demands on Defendants for payment of the costs and damages incurred by the United States as a result of the White Fire. Defendants have not paid any part of the sum demanded by the United States.

4. Timberline Environmental Services is a California corporation doing business in the Eastern District of California at times alleged in the Complaint.

5. Defendants, Terry Northcutt and Jill Northcutt, are individual residents of the Eastern District of California.

B. Contested Facts

1. All remaining factual issues are disputed.

IV. Legal ...


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