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Rejeanne Bernier, An Individual v. Travelers Property Casualty Insurance

March 19, 2012

REJEANNE BERNIER, AN INDIVIDUAL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., A CONNECTICUT CORPORATION,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ruben B. Brooks, Magistrate Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO (1) EXTEND DISCOVERY CUTOFF, (2) SHORTEN TIME FOR A MOTION FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT, (3) SHORTEN TIME TO COMPEL DOCUMENT PRODUCTION, AND (4) SHORTEN TIME FOR LEAVE OF COURT TO AMEND PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

[ECF NO. 37]

INTRODUCTION

On January 31, 2012, Plaintiff, Rejeanne Bernier, filed an Ex Parte Application to extend the discovery cutoff and shorten time to file certain motions. (Notice Ex Parte Appl., Jan. 31, 2012, ECF No. 37).*fn1 In her Application, she seeks to (1) extend the discovery cutoff date, (2) shorten time for a motion to hold a third-party witness in contempt and compel deposition testimony from him, (3) shorten time for a motion to compel discovery from the Defendant, and (4) shorten time for a motion to amend her Complaint. (Id.) Defendant Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company filed its Opposition to Bernier's Ex Parte Application on February 3, 2012. (Def. Travelers Opp'n Ex Parte Appl. 1, Feb. 3, 2012, ECF No. 38.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff filed her Reply. (Pl. Rejeanne Bernier's Reply 1, Feb. 6, 2012, ECF No. 39.)

After reviewing the Ex Parte Application, Opposition, and Reply, the Court concludes that the Plaintiff is not entitled to the relief she requests.

I.

THE BASIS FOR AN EX PARTE MOTION Rejeanne Bernier is a pro se Plaintiff. Courts liberally construe the pleadings of pro se litigants and give them the benefit of any doubt. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026, 1027 n.1 (9th Cir. 1985)). This Court has applied this principle to Bernier's pleadings and other filings. Nonetheless, "pro se litigants are bound by the rules of procedure." Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir. 1995).

Plaintiff has developed a pattern of filing ex parte motions. She has not demonstrated that this request is a proper subject for ex parte consideration. "Ex parte applications are a form of emergency relief that will only be granted upon an adequate showing of good cause or irreparable injury to the party seeking relief."

K. Clark v. Time Warner Cable, No. CV 07-1797-VBF(RCx), 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100716, at *2 (C.D. Cal. May 3, 2007) (citing Mission Power Eng'g Co. v. Continental Cas. Co., 883 F. Supp. 488, 492 (C.D. Cal. 1995)). The moving party must be "without fault" in creating the need for ex parte relief or establish that the "crisis [necessitating the ex parte application] occurred as a result of excusable neglect." Id.

An ex parte application seeks to bypass the regular noticed motion procedure; consequently, the party requesting ex parte relief must establish a basis for giving the application preference. See Mission Power Eng'g Co. v. Continental Cas. Co., 883 F. Supp. at 492. Bernier's pending Ex Parte Application [ECF No. 37] fails this test. See, e.g., Family Home & Fin. Ctr., Inc. v. Federal Home Loan Mortg. Corp., 461 F. Supp. 2d 1188, 1192 n.5 (C.D. Cal. 2006). "If the Court's pretrial schedule precluded Plaintiffs from obtaining additional necessary discovery, their remedy was to file a motion for relief from the Scheduling Order. They did not do so and now cannot be heard to complain about the unfairness of the Court-imposed deadlines." Id. (commenting on the failure to diligently pursue discovery before summary judgment).

Plaintiff has failed to show that her multiple requests should be considered on an ex parte basis. For that reason alone, the Ex Parte Application should be denied. Nevertheless, the Court will also address the merits of Bernier's Application.

II.

EXTENDING THE DISCOVERY CUTOFF DATE

Plaintiff identifies the current discovery cutoff date as January 31, 2012. (Mem. P. & A. Supp. Ex Parte Appl. 3-4, Jan. 31, 2012, ECF No. 37.) The Court, however, on January 30, 2012, extended that deadline to February 13, 2012. (Min. Order 1, Jan. 30, 2012, ECF No. 36.) Bernier seeks to modify that deadline in order to file a motion to compel deposition testimony from a third- party witness and, if her motion is granted, take the deposition. (Mem. P. & A. Supp. Ex Parte Appl. 4, Jan. 31, 2012, ECF No. 37.) She also intends to bring a motion to compel the production of audio recordings and "communications." (Id.) In her Reply, Bernier adds that she would like to extend ...


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