Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

County of Inyo v. Department of the Interior

December 10, 2010

COUNTY OF INYO,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., (TELEPHONIC DISCOVERY DISPUTE) DEFENDANTS, AND
SIERRA CLUB, ET AL.,
DEFENDANT-INTERVENORS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING FEDERAL DEFENDANTS' AND INTERVENOR DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR LEAVE TO TAKE ADDITIONAL DEPOSITIONS

The parties to this action requested a telephonic hearing to resolve a discovery dispute. The dispute concerns whether defendants should be granted leave to depose two previously deposed witnesses. In support of their respective positions, the parties submitted informal letter briefs, but requested that the dispute be resolved on the record. On December 10, 2010, the matter was heard before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Ralph Keller appeared telephonically on behalf of Plaintiff County of Inyo ("Plaintiff"). Bruce D. Bernard appeared telephonically on behalf of Defendants Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Lee Salazar, National Park Service, Director of the National Park Service Mary A. Bomar and Superintendent of Death Valley National Park James T. Reynolds ("Federal Defendants"). Margaret Parish and Edward B. Zukoski appeared telephonically on behalf of Defendant-Intervenors Sierra Club.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this action to quiet title on October 25, 2006. Although four roads were originally at issue, the action has been narrowed down to the rights attached to Last Chance Road. Plaintiffs allege that Federal Defendants have closed Last Chance Road by virtue of its inclusion in the Death Valley Wilderness Area by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994.

On November 2, 2009, Plaintiff filed its first motion for summary judgment. The motion was ultimately withdrawn to allow Defendants to depose Plaintiff's witness Bernard T. Pedersen. Plaintiff relied on Mr. Pedersen in support of its motion yet failed to disclose him to Defendants.

On August 20, 2010, the parties filed a stipulated list of undisputed facts.

Plaintiff filed its summary judgment motion on September 10, 2010.

On October 19, 2010, Federal Defendants and Intervenor Defendants (CA Wilderness Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Inyo, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and National Parks and Conservation Assoc.) filed separate oppositions.

Federal Defendants also filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The motion is based on Federal Defendants' contentions that (1) Plaintiff's evidence did not address the period when the land was not "reserved," (2) Plaintiff failed to identify its claim with sufficient "particularity" (identifying the precise nature, extent and scope of the highway) to meet its burden under the Quiet Title Act; and (3) Plaintiff could not rely on Mr. Huarte's vague and inconsistent testimony to support summary judgment.

Plaintiff filed its reply and opposition to the cross-motion on November 22, 2010. Plaintiff attached the declarations of Leonard Huarte and Mr. Pedersen in support of their arguments.

Pursuant to the parties' stipulation, Defendants' replies are due on December 13, 2010. In the telephonic discovery dispute, Defendants seek to re-depose Mr. Huarte and Mr. Pedersen for the narrow purpose of obtaining information about allegedly new testimony and new documents contained in their November 2010 declarations.

DISCOVERY BACKGROUND

Federal Defendants deposed Leonard Huarte, a County road equipment operator, on March 5, 2008. According to Undisputed Facts 73 and 74, Mr. Huarte testified that he had not maintained or constructed the route at issue, though he remembered driving a vehicle on the route for hunting several times in the 1970s. Mr. Huarte made several corrections to his testimony concerning his memories of grading a route to Last Chance Spring, a route not at issue in this case.

On December 11, 2009, Plaintiff's counsel informed Defendants that while accompanying Mr. Huarte on a trip to the area of Last Chance Road, Mr. Huarte remembered driving a road grader to maintain Last Chance Road.

On June 9, 2010, based on Plaintiff's use of Mr. Pedersen to support summary judgment and Mr. Huarte's changed testimony, Defendants redeposed Mr. Huarte and took the deposition of Mr. Pedersen. The depositions continued on June 10 on a site visit to the alleged location of Last Chance Road. Mr. Huarte testified that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.