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United States of America v. James O. Molen (Also Known As James-Orbin: Molen); et al

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


August 29, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES O. MOLEN (ALSO KNOWN AS JAMES-ORBIN: MOLEN); ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Defendants James Molen and Sandra Molen (the "defendants") are proceeding without counsel in this action.*fn1 Defendants have filed eight motions in approximately as many weeks, including a "Motion To File Amended Answer" (Dkt. No. 84), and a "Motion To Amend Answer to Complaint" (Dkt. No. 79), both requesting leave to amend their Answer (Dkt. No. 4).

The court took defendants' motions (Dkt. No. 79, 84) under submission on the papers and without oral argument, in accordance with Eastern District Local Rule 230(g), and denied both motions. (Dkt. No. 96 at 1-2.) Specifically, the court vacated the motions' hearing date and explained that "[b]ecause oral argument would not materially aid the resolution of the pending motions, these matters are submitted on the briefs and record without a hearing." (Id. (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); E.D. Local Rule 230(g)).)

Defendants have since filed a document styled as a "Reply Brief To Court Order Vacating Hearing On Notice Of Motion And Motion For Jury Trial And Demand For Jury Trial" (Dkt. No. 100), in which defendants state that [d]efendants oppose any order that denies their right to a fair hearing on any motion presented before the Court. To deny any right to a fair hearing, whether to the Plaintiff or the Defendant, is a denial of due process. The Defendants do request that the Court reopen the matter for further briefs and oral arguments. The Defendants are opposed to Newman's order that oral argument would not materially aid the resolution of the pending motion, and that matters are submitted on the briefs and record without a hearing.

(Dkt. No. 100 at 1-2.) The court construes this "Reply Brief" as a motion for reconsideration of the court's orders at Docket Numbers 95 and 96, and denies the motion.*fn2

A. Local Rule 230(g) Permitted The Court To Take Defendants' Motions Under Submission While defendants believe oral argument would materially aid the court in resolving the above-described motions, however, defendants do not offer any explanation - let alone a compelling one - as to why "further briefs and oral arguments" (Dkt. No. 100 at 1-2) might have been useful. The court reviewed defendants' moving papers and deemed those papers sufficient for a determination of the issues raised therein, and, in keeping with the Eastern District Local Rules, took the motions under submission accordingly. Defendants are reminded, yet again, that they are not entitled to oral arguments regarding every motion they file.*fn3

Defendants are also directed to review the substance of the court's orders so as to better understand why their motions were properly taken under submission without oral argument. For instance, as stated in the order denying defendants' motions to amend their answer (Dkt. Nos. 84, 79), the motions were denied without prejudice because of a procedural defect, namely, the defendants' failure to attach a draft amended answer to their moving papers pursuant to Local Rule 137(c). (Dkt. No. 96 at 2-3.) Accordingly, an oral argument would not have cured the motions' procedural defect. In the future, similarly baseless objections to the court's taking defendants' motions under submission may be summarily denied. The court does not have the resources to continue to remind defendants that they are not always entitled to oral arguments. Local Rule 230(g).

B. Local Rule 230(d) Governed Defendants' Deadline To Reply Defendants argue (Dkt. No. 100 at 2) that the court gave them insufficient time to file a Reply brief in support of their Request For Jury Trial (Dkt. Nos. 81, 85), another set of motions that the court took under submission. (Dkt. No. 95.) Defendants are mistaken.

Defendants set their Request For Jury Trial to be heard on September 1, 2011.

(Dkt. No. 85.) It was defendants' own selection of the September 1, 2011 hearing date that established August 25, 2011, as the deadline for them to file their Reply brief. See Local Rule 230(d) ("Reply. Not less than seven (7) days preceding the date of hearing, the moving party may serve and file a reply to any opposition filed by a responding party."). Seven days before September 1, 2011, was August 25, 2011. Accordingly, defendants were already obligated to file their Reply brief on August 25, 2011, a date the court further clarified within the order taking those motions under submission. (Dkt. No. 95.) Defendants' argument that they were prejudiced by having to file a Reply brief by this August 25, 2011 deadline is not well-taken. Defendants had already subjected themselves to that very deadline when they filed their moving papers and selected September 1, 2011, as the hearing date.

For the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Defendants' "Reply Brief To Court Order Vacating Hearing On Notice Of Motion And Motion For Jury Trial And Demand For Jury Trial" (Dkt. No. 100) is construed as a motion for reconsideration of the undersigned's orders at Docket Numbers 95 and 96, and is denied.

2. As the court has now repeatedly advised defendants (Dkt. No. 65 at 6; Dkt. No. 93 at 4-5), successive and repetitious filings of substantially similar motions (such as motions demanding oral arguments after the court has already determined that a hearing would not materially aid the court's decision, especially where defendants themselves cannot articulate why oral argument is necessary) may be summarily denied and may result in sanctions, including a potential entry of default judgment against defendants.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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