IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
December 20, 2012
VLADIMIR SHEVCHENKO, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS,
ANDREAS SIEMENS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge
Plaintiffs Vladimir Demin and Vladimir Schevchenko are proceeding without counsel in this action.*fn1 (Order, Nov. 20, 2012, Dkt. No. 51.)
In response to a recent filing by plaintiff Schevchenko stating his desire to "start on discovery" now (Dkt. No. 52 at 2), the undersigned amended the Scheduling Order sua sponte in an abundance of caution given plaintiffs' pro se status. The former Pretrial Scheduling Order stated that the discovery "completion" date in this case was January 4, 2013. (Scheduling Order, Dkt. No. 43 at 5 ("All discovery shall be completed by January 4, 2013.").) On December 7, 2012, however, the undersigned issued an order (the "Order") vacating that discovery "completion" date and extending it by thirty (30) days. (See generally, Order, Dec. 7, 2012, Dkt. No. 53.) The undersigned thus extended the discovery "completion" date to February 4, 2013. The undersigned also extended the related deadline for all motions to compel discovery to be heard, making that deadline January 24, 2012. (Id.) In a nutshell, the updated discovery deadlines were amended as follows:
(a) All discovery shall be completed by February 4, 2013.
(b) Motions to compel discovery must be noticed on the undersigned's law and motion calendar in accordance with the court's Local Rules and must be heard no later than January 24, 2013.
(Order, Dec. 7, 2012, Dkt. No. 53.)
On December 20, 2012, defendants filed a "Motion To Correct Clerical Error" addressing the dates set out in the Order. (Dkt. No. 54.) In their motion, defendants express some confusion regarding the undersigned's use of a two-step discovery deadline. Defendants suggest that a clerical error likely occurred, given that "At page 4, line 8, the Order provides that discovery shall be completed by February 4, 2013. At line 11, the Order then states that motions to compel discovery must be heard no later than January 24, 2013, which is 11 days prior to the close of discovery. Accordingly, the latter date appears to be in error." (Dkt. No. 54 at 1-2.)
The dates in the undersigned's order at Docket Number 53 are not the result of a clerical error. Instead, as explained in the original Scheduling Order (Dkt. No. 43 at 5), there are two important dates governing discovery in this case: a discovery "completion" date, whereby all written and other discovery must cease, and a separate date prior to that ultimate completion date that serves as a cutoff for hearing any motions to compel discovery. As explained in the original Scheduling Order, "[t]he word 'completed' means that all discovery shall have been conducted so that all depositions have been taken and any disputes relative to discovery shall have been resolved by appropriate order if necessary and, where discovery has been ordered, the order has been complied with. Motions to compel discovery must be noticed on the undersigned's law and motion calendar in accordance with the court's Local Rules and must be heard no later than" a specific date typically a few weeks prior to the completion date. (Dkt. No. 43 at 5.) To further clarify this timing for defendants, the undersigned typically sets an ultimate discovery "completion" date for shortly after a separate deadline by which the parties must have had their discovery motions heard, thereby providing a few days for the parties to comply with any orders granting discovery motions before the ultimate "completion" date passes.
Accordingly, defendants' Motion (Dkt. No. 54) is denied. As stated in the undersigned's prior order, the parties in this case shall file motions to compel discovery, if any, such that they will be heard on or before January 24, 2013. Orders resolving any such motions to compel must be complied with, and all discovery must be completed, by February 4, 2013. (Order, Dkt. No. 53.)
Finally, defendants express concern that plaintiffs will not likely participate in discovery, likely requiring defendants to file motion(s) to compel. (Dkt. No. 54 at 2.) Defendants thus ask that the discovery completion date be merged with the deadline for hearing motions to compel, such that one single discovery cutoff date be employed in this case. (Dkt. No. 54 at 1-2 ("[W]e respectfully ask that the court re-set that date to correlate with the close of discovery. Otherwise, we shall have no recourse for discovery disputes . . . ").) The request is denied for the reasons stated above. Defendants do have a recourse for discovery disputes: they may file their motions to compel, if any, and set them to be heard prior to January 24, 2013.*fn2
Thereafter, all parties must comply with any resulting court order(s) on or before the ultimate discovery "completion" date of February 4, 2013.
IT IS SO ORDERED.