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Z.F, A Minor, By and Through His Parents M.A.F and J.F. and v. Ripon Unified School District (Rusd); Ripon Unified School

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


September 28, 2011

Z.F, A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH HIS PARENTS M.A.F AND J.F. AND M.A.F. AND J.F. INDIVIDUALLY; L.H., AND J.H., MINORS, BY AND THROUGH THEIR PARENTS J.A. AND J.R.H. AND J.A. AND J.R.H. INDIVIDUALLY; A.N., A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH HIS PARENTS, G.N. AND M.R., AND G.N. AND M.R.
-INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED,
v.
RIPON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (RUSD); RIPON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES; SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION; VALLEY MOUNTAIN REGIONAL CENTER (VMRC), MODESTO CITY SCHOOLS, MODESTO CITY SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION, RICHARD JACOBS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF VMRC, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, TARA SISEMORE-HESTER, COORDINATOR FOR AUTISM SERVICES FOR VMRC, IN HER OFFICIAL AND ) INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; VIRGINIA JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF MODESTO CITY SCHOOLS SELPA, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; SUE SWARTZLANDER, PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR MODESTO CITY SCHOOLS, IN HER OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND DOES 1 -- 200.,
DEFENDANTS.
VALLEY MOUNTAIN REGIONAL CENTER, RICHARD JACOBS AND TARA SISEMORE-HESTER
COUNTER-CLAIMANTS,
v.
M.A.F. AND J.A., SPECIAL NEEDS ADVOCATES FOR UNDERSTANDING, AND AUTISM REFORM CALIFORNIA,
COUNTER-DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

STATUS (PRETRIAL SCHEDULING) ORDER AND SETTING FURTHER STATUS (PRETRIAL SCHEDULING CONFERENCE; RULE 4(m) NOTICE CONCERNING A COUNTER DEFENDANT

The status (pretrial scheduling) conference scheduled for hearing on October 3, 2011, is vacated since the parties' Joint Status Report filed on September 19, 2011 ("JSR") indicates the following Order should issue.

4(m) NOTICE

Counter-claimants state in the JSR that they "may . . . serve counter-defendant Autism Reform California if they discover that this former entity has resumed business in the state of California." (JSR 2:4-5.) Counter-claimants are notified under Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that since Counter-defendant Autism Reform California has not been served with process within the 120 day period prescribed in that Rule it may be dismissed as a defendant unless Counter-claimants explain in a filing due no later than 4:00 p.m. on October 7, 2011 "good cause for the failure" to serve this Counter-defendant within Rule 4(m)'s prescribed period.

DOE DEFENDANTS, SERVICE, JOINDER OF ADDITIONAL PARTIES, AMENDMENT

Plaintiffs state in the JSR that "they will need a minimum of one year to conduct sufficient discovery to identify all 'Doe' defendants." (JSR 2:7-8.) However, this statement does not provide sufficient justification for issuance of a ruling providing Plaintiffs the requested amount of time for this discovery. A sufficient explanation is required "so that the judge can consider whether [the referenced] amendments may properly be sought solely under the Rule 15(a) standard, and whether structuring discovery pertinent to the parties' decision whether to amend is feasible." Jackson v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 608 (E.D. Cal. 1999) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Since sufficient justification has not been provided concerning why Plaintiffs request "a minimum of one year" to conduct the referenced discovery, Plaintiffs shall conduct discovery pertinent to identifying Doe defendants forthwith. Plaintiffs have ninety (90) days from the date on which this order is filed to file a motion in which leave is sought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) to file an Amended Complaint substituting a named defendant in place of a Doe defendant; the motion shall be noticed for hearing on the earliest available regularly scheduled law and motion hearing date.

No further service, joinder of parties, or amendments to pleadings is permitted, except with leave of Court for good cause shown. If leave is not sought as stated, Does 1 through 200 are dismissed from this action.

ADDED DEFENDANT'S OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK AMENDMENT OF THIS ORDER

If Plaintiffs substitute a named defendant in place of a Doe defendant, a copy of this Order shall be served on that defendant concurrently with the service of process.

That defendant has 30 days after said service within which to file a "Notice of Proposed Modification of Status Order." Although a newly-joined party's proposed modification filed within this thirty day period will not have to meet the good cause standard, no further amendments will be permitted, except with leave of Court for good cause shown.

CLASS CERTIFICATION MOTION

Plaintiffs also state in the JSR that "[a] motion to certify the class will be necessary once the 'doe' defendants are identified and sufficient discovery has been undertaken to determine the size of the class." (JSR 2:21-23.) Plaintiffs do not estimate how much time they desire to conduct discovery concerning the class certification issues. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1)(A) provides that when a party seeks to sue as a representative of a class, "[a]t an early practicable time . . . the court must determine by order whether to certify the action as a class action." Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(c)(1)(A). Therefore, since Plaintiff does not discuss what is practicable as contemplated by this rule, Plaintiff shall file a motion for class certification no later than April 16, 2012; this motion shall be noticed for hearing on the Court's earliest available regularly scheduled law and motion hearing date.

FURTHER STATUS CONFERENCE

A further Status (Pretrial Scheduling) Conference is scheduled for hearing on August 6, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. A further joint status report shall be filed no later than fourteen (14) days prior.

20110928

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