On December 15, 2009, after the close of discovery and after the deadline for filing motions for hearing on or before the close of law and motion, defense counsel filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record for defendants. Defendants Billy C. Maher and Betty L. Maher joined in the motion, stating their desire to represent themselves in this action. Plaintiff filed a statement of non-opposition to the motion. By order filed January 14, 2010, the motion was granted. As defendants are now proceeding pro se, the matter has been referred to the undersigned for further proceedings.
Pursuant to the Status (Pretrial Scheduling) Order filed in this case on September 18, 2008, both discovery and law and motion practice are closed. Final Pretrial Conference is set for April 12, 2010, and Jury Trial is set for July 20, 2010. For several reasons, the undersigned does not find good cause to modify the scheduling order. First, defendants were represented by counsel at all times prior to the close of discovery and law and motion practice. Second, neither side filed a timely dispositive motion on or before the deadline for filing such motions. Third, neither side requested modification of the scheduling order prior to the close of discovery and law and motion practice. Fourth, with both sides represented by counsel at the time, the parties failed to settle the case through the Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program. Fifth, defendants' decision to proceed pro se does not constitute good cause for modification of the scheduling order. For these reasons, the undersigned concludes that the case should proceed to Final Pretrial Conference and Jury Trial as scheduled.
The pro se defendants are advised that any individual who represents himself or herself without an attorney must appear personally and may not delegate that duty to any other individual, including another pro se defendant. Local Rule 183(a). Thus, both defendants must appear personally at the Final Pretrial Conference and for each day of the trial. The pro se defendants are further advised that individuals representing themselves without an attorney are bound by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of Practice, and all applicable law. Id. A party proceeding pro se must also advise the court and counsel for the opposing party of any change of address while this action is proceeding. Local Rule 183(b).
All documents filed by defendants must be presented for filing in paper format. Local Rules 133(b)(2) and 183(c). Documents must be properly captioned and must be signed by both defendants. Local Rule 131(a) & (b). A document must be received by the Clerk for filing on or before the deadline for filing the document. Local Rule 101 (defining "Filed" as "delivered into the custody of the Clerk and accepted by the Clerk for inclusion in the official records of the action"). Each document must be served personally or by U.S. mail on plaintiff, and the document submitted for filing must include a proof of such service. Local Rule 135(b) and (c).
In preparation for the Final Pretrial Conference, defendants must prepare a Pretrial Statement that complies with all instructions set forth in the Status (Pretrial Scheduling) Order at pages 6 through 9. In particular, defendants are cautioned that their Pretrial Statement must address the 22 subjects listed in Local Rule 281(b), under the captions and in the order set forth in that rule.*fn1 In accordance with Local Rule 281(a), defendants are required to file their Pretrial Statement on or before April 5, 2010. Defendants must cooperate with plaintiff in preparing the Joint Statement of Undisputed Facts and Disputed Factual Issues which must be filed by plaintiff with his separate Pretrial Statement on or before March 29, 2010.
In accordance with the above, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. Discovery and law and motion practice are closed pursuant to the Status (Pretrial Scheduling) Order filed September 18, 2008 (Doc. No. 13); and
2. The dates previously set for Final Pretrial Conference (April 12, 2010) and Jury Trial (July 20, 2010) before the Honorable Lawrence K. Karlton ...