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Brandon Rackliffe v. P. Rocha

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 10, 2013

BRANDON RACKLIFFE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
P. ROCHA, ET AL.
DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER CONTINUING JURY TRIAL DATE Jury Trial: 07/24/2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 6

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Brandon Rackliffe ("Plaintiff"), a California state prisoner, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on April 20, 2007.

The action proceeds on Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint against Defendants Rocha and Medina for excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's May 8, 2013, motion to continue the trial date. (ECF No. 162.) The parties have conferred over the matter raised in the motion, and Defendants' counsel has indicated he would not oppose it. (ECF No. 163.) He has, however, advised that his non-opposition was based upon an understanding that continuance would not precipitate reopening of discovery. (ECF No. 164.) Plaintiff has in fact moved to supplement his original witness list. (ECF No. 162.) Such supplementation, if allowed, would as a practical matter necessitate reopening discovery.

II. MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

Plaintiff moves to continue the trial date because Plaintiff's counsel was only recently retained in this matter and she has had considerable difficulty even conferring with Plaintiff, much less meeting with him, in preparation for trial. (ECF No. 162.) Plaintiff also raises as grounds for continuance the unavailability of one of Plaintiff's proposed witnesses. (Id.)

The Court does note that Plaintiff's new counsel has been aware of and at least tangentially involved in the case for some time. It is regrettable, and disruptive, that she was not retained earlier. However, the Court accepts her representation that she in fact was not asked to actually represent the Plaintiff, apparently without Plaintiff even being aware that she was so asked, until very recently and that she has had considerable difficulty even conferring with her client about the case. Most significantly, the Court is unable to discern that any measurable prejudice will flow to the Defense by the relatively short continuance that was requested (and then extended as an accommodation to Defense Counsel). Indeed, in some ways the Court and even the Defense may benefit from having licensed trial counsel appear for and in lieu of a pro se, non-lawyer Plaintiff.

Thus, good cause being found and there being no substantive objection, Plaintiff's motion will be granted and trial by jury shall be continued from May 14, 2013, to July 24, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 6, a date mutably agreeable to the parties.

III. MOTION TO SUPPLEMENT PLAINTIFF'S WITNESS LIST

As noted,Plaintiff also has requested permission to supplement his witness list and designate an expert witness. (ECF No. 162.) Defendants' counsel has filed opposition to this motion. (ECF No. 164.) The Court will address and resolve this motion in a separate order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20130510

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