IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
July 15, 2011
NATHAN HANSFORD, PLAINTIFF,
SOLANO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES*FN1 AND DOES ONE THROUGH FIFTY, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge
On June 17, 2011, the undersigned ordered that defendant provide, in relevant part, narrowed supplemental responses to plaintiff's interrogatories numbered 13 through 15.*fn2
(See Order, June 17, 2011, Dkt. No. 60.) Defendant's responses are due to plaintiff on or before July 18, 2011. (See id. at 2.) The non-expert discovery completion deadline in this case is September 16, 2011, and the deadline to designate expert witnesses is November 16, 2011. (Amended Pretrial Scheduling Order, Dkt. No. 44.)
Presently before the court is defendant's ex parte application seeking an extension of time, until August 31, 2011, in which to provide plaintiff with the previously ordered responses. (Ex Parte Appl., Dkt. No. 64.) Defendant filed its application on July 15, 2011, which is one business day prior to the court-ordered production deadline, and contacted plaintiff's counsel regarding the ex parte application on July 14, 2011 (see Halloran Decl. ¶ 4 & Ex. A).*fn3 Plaintiff's counsel has informed defendant that plaintiff intends to oppose defendant's ex parte application.*fn4 Nevertheless, the undersigned rules on the ex parte application without ordering an opposition by plaintiff.
The undersigned grants defendant's ex parte application in part, and orders that defendant produce the responses at issue no later than Monday, August 15, 2011, at 5:00 p.m. The declarations filed in support of the ex parte application, which are signed under penalty of perjury, represent that defendant has been attempting to assemble its court-ordered interrogatory responses since June 16, 2011, but that the production has been complicated by numerous logistical issues, including defendant's recent layoffs and the unavailability of human resources employees who are critical to assembling the responses. (See Serrano Decl. ¶¶ 3-7.) Accordingly, the undersigned grants defendant's ex parte application for an extension of time. However, the undersigned grants an extension that is shorter than that requested by defendant in light of the discovery completion deadline of September 16, 2011, and the expert designation deadline of November 16, 2011. As stated in an e-mail of plaintiff's counsel, an extension of time will prejudice plaintiff's counsel in terms of conducting depositions and designating experts in this case. (Halloran Decl., Ex. A at 2.) In essence, defendant's production of the subject interrogatory responses-which follows defendant's failure to initially respond to discovery in this case for well over one year-materially impacts plaintiff's ability to conduct additional discovery and depositions and move this case forward. If defendant desires an additional extension, it must seek the approval of a stipulation further continuing the discovery completion deadline in this case, or file a motion to further modify the Amended Pretrial Scheduling Order on a showing of "good cause." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4); Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609-10 (9th Cir. 1992). Under either scenario, such relief must be sought from the district judge, who entered the Amended Pretrial Scheduling Order.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Defendant's ex parte application for an extension of time (Dkt. No. 64) is granted in part.
2. On or before Monday, August 15, 2011, at 5:00 p.m., defendant shall provide responses to plaintiff's interrogatories numbered 13 through 15, as required by the court's June 17, 2011 order.
3. The undersigned will not consider any further requests for extensions by defendant absent modification of the Amended Pretrial Scheduling Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.