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Masterpiece Leaded Windows Corp. v. Joslin

May 22, 2009

MASTERPIECE LEADED WINDOWS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SONNY J. JOSLIN, AN INDIVIDUAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jan M. Adler U.S. Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO MODIFY SCHEDULING ORDER [Doc. 17]

Plaintiff Masterpiece Leaded Windows Corporation ("Plaintiff") has filed a motion to modify the scheduling order. Defendants Sonny J. Joslin, Eric James Tingey, and Decor A Door & Window, Inc. ("Defendants") oppose. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On September 16, 2008, the Court issued a Case Management Conference Order Regulating Discovery and Other Pretrial Proceedings ("scheduling order") which contained, as pertinent here, the following deadlines:

Expert disclosure deadline February 13, 2009

Rebuttal expert disclosure deadline March 20, 2009

Discovery cutoff April 17, 2009

Dispositive motion filing cutoff May 15, 2009

Sept. 16, 2008 Order at ¶¶ 4-6.*fn1

In January 2009, Plaintiff's counsel, Gastone Bebi, Esq., a sole practitioner, switched from a Palm PDA (personal digital assistant) to an iPhone, which necessitated that he convert from a Palm electronic calendar to Microsoft Outlook's electronic calendaring system. Bebi Decl., ¶ 5. All of the Palm data had to be manually inputted into the Outlook program. Id., ¶ 6. Mr. Bebi understood that all dates, "tickles", and calendaring data were transferred into Outlook by January 26, 2009; on that date, he stopped using the Palm PDA and Palm calendar and relied solely on the Outlook program for calendaring alerts. Id.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Bebi, none of the dates and reminders regarding this case were transferred into Outlook. Id., ¶ 7. Mr. Bebi has acted as litigation counsel for Plaintiff on several matters over the course of several years. Id., ¶ 2. During January 2009, Mr. Bebi was handling five potential litigation files on behalf of Plaintiff, not including this matter. Id., ¶ 8. Mr. Bebi was also acting as coverage counsel for Plaintiff in a case filed in the Central District of California. Id. Because he was not acting as litigation counsel in that matter, Mr. Bebi instructed the person transferring his calendaring data to disregard all dates for that case. Id. According to Mr. Bebi, "Confusion ensued, and the dates relating to [the] instant matter, my only other then pending federal case, were not transferred to my electronic calendar." Id. The last "tickle" that Mr. Bebi received regarding this case was for the January 12, 2009 telephonic Case Management Conference ("CMC"), which he participated in. Id., ¶ 9.

In late December 2008, Mr. Bebi asked his paralegal to draft Interrogatories and a Request for Production of Documents in this matter. Id., ¶ 11. He also entered a reminder and a "tickle" for February 1, 2009 to send out the discovery on his Palm calendaring software. Id. This data was not subsequently transferred into the Outlook program. Id. In January 2009, Mr. Bebi's paralegal left to work for another attorney, and the rough drafts of the discovery were placed in the file. Id. On March 17, 2009, Mr. Bebi's law clerk came across the rough drafts, and placed them in Mr. Bebi's in-box for review. Id., ¶ 12. Mr. Bebi states that he was "unaware of the deadlines associated with this case" due to "the press of business, the lack of alerts regarding the discovery cut-off, and having to deal with [his] caseload while looking for another paralegal." Id. The discovery was subsequently served on March 23, 2009. Id.*fn2

On February 5, 2009, counsel for Defendants, Chandra Moore, Esq., sent Mr. Bebi an email which stated, in relevant part:

As a reminder, at the CMC on January 12, 2009, you informed me and Judge Adler that you had gathered documents to support your client's position . . . . I am following up because we ...


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