CLASS ACTION REQUEST BY PLAINTIFF MURRAY TO MODIFY SECTION NO. 2 OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE JAMES' ORDER RE: MEET AND CONFER PROCEDURES (DKT. NO. 59) FOR ANY AND ALL DISCOVERY DISPUTES IN THIS ACTION.
Meet and Confer Attestation: Pursuant to the Court's Order Re: Meet and Confer Procedure (Dkt. No. 59) and ¶ 3 of the Court's Standing Order for Discovery and Dispute Procedures, counsel for the interested parties hereby attest by their signature below that, prior to filing this joint letter, the parties met and conferred telephonically on March 8, 2010 for purposes of resolving the dispute.
I. UNRESOLVED DISPUTE AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
On February 18, 2010, this Court issued an Order re: Meet and Confer Procedure (Dkt. #59) (the "Order") granting Plaintiff's request of the same date to modify Paragraph 3 of the Court's Standing Order Regarding Discovery and Dispute Procedures (the "Standing Order"), without Defendants having an opportunity to respond, to allow the parties to meet and confer via telephone. Plaintiff seeks to modify section no. 2 of the Order, attached hereto as Exhibit 1.*fn1
II. PLAINTIFF MURRAY'S POSITION
Additional deadlines should be set regarding the "meet and confer" letter to initiate proceedings, as the existing "meet and confer" procedures are partially uncertain, incomplete, or open-ended. These modifications are consistent with Judge James' Order and will provide the most efficient means to present the Court with any discovery dispute in a timely manner. Defendants' pending Motion to Stay submitted on March 18, 2010 should not delay a ruling on these issues because they are procedural in nature and do not cause Defendants to further act at this time.
Defendants seek to keep open the discovery dispute phase to delay prosecution of the litigation. They have offered no compromise to Plaintiff's requested relief. When deadlines have been imposed by the court, Defendants have filed their Answer to Complaint, resolved the time to file their initial disclosures and agreed upon a stipulated protective order regarding confidential materials. Without specific deadlines these fundamental phases of the case would have been unnecessarily extended. After deadlines were set, no delay in meeting those deadlines was cause because of the extended need of Defendant's counsel to consult with each other or their respective clients. Defendants are well connected under a Common Interest Agreement and have already acted as one on several occasions.
Plaintiff seeks to modify section no. 2 of the Order by providing that for purposes of any existing or future discovery disputes:
1) within seven (7) calendar days of receipt by email transmission from the initiating party of a draft joint letter(s) addressing any remaining unresolved discovery disputes, the responding party(s) shall provide to the initiating party by email transmission their portion of such letter(s), as necessary;
2) within three (3) calendar days of receipt by email transmission from the responding party(s), the initiating party of a draft joint letter shall insert their reply portion to the responding party(s) contentions in such letter(s) and provide by email transmission the finalized joint letter to the responding party(s) for execution; and
3) the responding party(s) shall provide by email to the initiating party the fully executed joint letter by 5:00 p.m. on the next business day, which shall then be filed with the Court on the following business day.
A. The Requested Deadlines are Needed to Timely Resolve Discovery Disputes
Plaintiff believes that specific time requirements are needed for each phase of the "meet and confer" process, without which a party may delay the prosecution of the case. Items 1-3 are necessary to set limits to timely resolve any discovery dispute. Defendants have continually sought to delay the prosecution of this case by a) filing a removal to federal court, b) filing a Declination to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge, c) filing a Motion to Extend Time to Respond to Class Action Complaint, d) filing a Motion to Stay the Case, e) objecting to provide Initial Disclosures, and f) objecting to all written discovery propounded by Plaintiff in this case.
Defendants also seek to delay the resolution of discovery disputes, claiming the need to consult multiple in-house counsel and other employees of Sears and Electrolux. Defendants' claim that such consultation would be incredibly difficult to accomplish within seven calendar days to respond to a draft joint letter, or three days to provide additional support in the event that they initiate a joint letter is unjustified because the responding party is given ample time to prepare to discuss their objections for a meet and confer teleconference.
Defendants ignore that Judge James' Order (Dkt. #59) already sets an initial seven day deadline to respond to a joint letter. Furthermore, Defendants have already had nearly two months to review Plaintiff's initial requests for production and interrogatories. Finally, for any future disputes, Defendants will not only have the benefit of seven days to respond to an initial letter, but also the time before the initial telephonic "meet and confer," as well as ...