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KAREN M. TAYLOR v. SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 19, 2010

KAREN M. TAYLOR,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Michael B. Donley,

MOTION TO MODIFY PRE-TRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER; AND ORDER

[Fed. R. Civ. P. 16]

Defendant Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force ("Secretary"), hereby respectfully moves to modify the Pretrial Scheduling Order.

I. FACTS IN SUPPORT OF THE MOTION

On March 4, 2009, Karen Taylor, proceeding in propria persona, filed a Second Amended Complaint asserting claims against the Secretary under various federal statutes and theories of liability, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Secretary filed an Answer with respect to the Title VII and Rehabilitation Act claims, and filed a motion to dismiss the remaining claims. On March 26, 2010, the Court entered an order granting the Secretary's motion to dismiss and setting the matter for a Status (Pretrial-Scheduling) Conference. Docket Entry ("D.E.") Nos. 43, 44, 45.

On May 7, 2010, the parties appeared before this Court for a Status (Pre-Trial Scheduling) Conference. D.E. 48. On May 11, 2010, the Court issued its pretrial scheduling order setting forth the following schedule:

Deadline for designation of Plaintiff's experts: November 5, 2010 Deadline for designation of Defendant's experts: November 19, 2010 Deadline for designation of rebuttal experts: December 3, 2010 Close of discovery: January 14, 2011 Deadline for pretrial motions to be heard: March 4, 2011 Pretrial conference: June 17, 2011 Trial: August 15, 2011 D.E. 49.

On November 2, 2010, Plaintiff filed a document that listed 18 individuals who she intends to call as expert witnesses. D.E. 50.

On November 17, 2010, the undersigned counsel substituted in as counsel for record in place of Assistant United States Attorney Todd Pickles. From approximately May 2010 to the present, Mr. Pickles has been actively engaged in litigating numerous cases, which have severely limited his availability to actively engage in and complete discovery in the present action. See Declaration of Todd Pickles, ¶¶ 2-3. Mr. Pickles has also been in the process of transitioning to a position in the criminal unit. Id., ¶ 4. Much of this situation was not foreseen by Mr. Pickles at the time he participated in the pretrial conference. Id. at ¶ 5. The undersigned is taking over primary responsibility for this case, and needs time to prepare for the defense of this action.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A pretrial scheduling order may be modified by the court upon a showing of good cause.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4). The good cause standard primarily involves the diligence of the party seeking the modification, including participation in setting the schedule, efforts to abide by the schedule, and seeking modification of the schedule once it appears no longer workable. See, e.g., Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc, 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992).

III. ARGUMENT

There is good cause to modify the scheduling order in this case. As noted, there is new counsel of record for the Secretary who needs time to prepare to defend the action, including taking the deposition of Plaintiff and potentially designating and deposing experts. Although the time to complete discovery has not yet concluded, it is most efficient to permit the Secretary to take Plaintiff's deposition before determining whether it needs to retain and/or designate potential experts, all of which may require the expenditure of public resources. Unfortunately, former counsel's schedule severely limited his ability to complete discovery as intended, primarily because of situations unforeseen at the time the schedule was set. Moreover, it could not have been reasonably foreseen that Plaintiff would designate eighteen individuals from whom she indicates she may attempt to elicit expert testimony. Their disclosure might necessitate additional discovery or at least requires additional time to prepare for Plaintiff's deposition. Moreover, the Secretary has moved to modify the schedule before the close of discovery and before the time to designate experts within the tight time period under the schedule, and has done so after Plaintiff identified 18 individuals in her disclosures which were served only on November 3, 2010.

Accordingly, there is good cause to modify the schedule. Further, the schedule can be modified to avoid any prejudice to Plaintiff or otherwise affect the Court. In particular, the Secretary proposes that the pretrial and trial dates remain unaltered. Further, the Secretary proposes that the deadline for defendants to designate experts be moved to January 21, 2011; that the discovery cut-off be moved to February 18, 2011; and that the dispositive motion hearing deadline be moved to April 8, 2011. This would permit the Secretary to take discovery and move for summary judgment without needing to vacate or move remaining dates.

IV. CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated above, Defendant respectfully asks this Court to modify the pretrial scheduling order.

Respectfully submitted,

BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney

/s/ Edward Olsen

By: EDWARD OLSEN Assistant United States Attorney

Attorneys for Secretary of the Air Force

ORDER

Good cause appearing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Defendant's November 19, 2010 motion to modify pre-trial scheduling order (Doc. No. 52) is granted.

2. The court's May 11, 2010 status (pretrial scheduling) order (Doc. No. 49) is modified to extend the deadlines for defendant's disclosure of expert witnesses; close of discovery; and deadline for hearings on pretrial motions, to the following dates:

The deadline for defendant to designate experts is January 21, 2011; All discovery shall be completed by February 18, 2011;

All law and motion shall be completed by April 8, 2011.

2. All remaining dates and deadlines as set by the May 11, 2010 status (pretrial scheduling) order remain as set and are otherwise unaffected by this order.

DATED: November 30, 2010.

20101119

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