The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Larry Alan Burns United States District Judge
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE REPLY; AND ORDER DENYING EX PARTE ORDER STRIKING REPLY
On October 22, 2012, Plaintiffs filed an ex parte motion,*fn1
styled as an emergency motion, seeking to enjoin an
arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 2012. The
motion itself exceeded 30 pages (not counting hundreds of pages of
exhibits), in violation of Civil Local Rule 7.1(h), and the required
courtesy copy was not received in chambers until October 24.
In spite of the late notice and length of the briefing, Defendants managed to file a reply brief on October 23. The opposition was similarly over-length, and included over 100 pages of exhibits. In view of the time frame involved, the Court assumes Defendants prepared an opposition brief in anticipation of the ex parte motion, though it does not cite the motion in any great detail nor did it respond to all points raised in the motion. For example, the motion briefed the "sliding scale" alternative standard for temporary restraining orders, which is still recognized in the Ninth Circuit, while the opposition briefed only the four-factor test set forth in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 20 (2008).
On October 24, Plaintiffs' counsel filed an ex parte motion for leave to file a reply brief.*fn2 Without waiting for leave, Plaintiffs' counsel then went ahead and filed the reply brief in the docket. (Docket no. 8.)*fn3 While it is understandable that Plaintiffs' counsel might have wanted to file the reply brief before the arbitration hearing on October 25, the urgency of the situation was of Plaintiffs' own making. The Court pointed this out in its order, also issued on October 24, denying the motion for temporary restraining order.
In addition to the fact that it was filed contrary to local rules, the reply brief is over-length, at 12 pages (plus nearly 70 pages of exhibits). See Civil Local Rule 7.1(h). Because it was filed in violation of applicable rules and the Court's own instructions, the reply brief (Docket no. 8) is ORDERED STRICKEN. Because the Court has already ruled on the motion for temporary restraining order, the motion for leave to file the reply brief is DENIED AS MOOT.
More generally, the Court notes that counsel for both sides have been taking liberties with the rules and appear to have lost somewhat their perspective on this litigation. The Court understands the stakes are high, neither side wants to lose, and both sets of counsel are appropriately committed to representing their clients diligently and zealously. But there are reasonable limits to counsel's fervor that, in the Court's view, ought to be more carefully observed here. There also comes a point at which the return on efforts begins to diminish. For example, well over seventy pages of briefing, supported by hundreds of pages of exhibits, was filed beginning October 22, that required a ruling no later than October 24. The courtesy copies alone were several pages thick, and the first of them did not even reach chambers until October 24. "More is better" is generally not true of briefing; more often, the reverse is true-particular where, as here, the time frame is very limited.
Counsel for both sides are reminded that they are required to comply with all applicable rules and orders of the Court. They are directed to review this District's Civil Local Rules, this District's Electronic Case Filing Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, and this chambers' own standing order.