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Sierra Club v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 3, 2013

THE SIERRA CLUB and ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Defendant.

David A. Bahr (Oregon Bar No. 90199), Bahr Law Offices, P.C., Eugene, OR.

Elena Saxonhouse (California Bar. No. 235139), Sierra Club Environmental Law Program, San Francisco, CA, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

MELINDA HAAG (CSBN 132612), United States Attorney, ALEX TSE (CSBN 152348), Acting Chief, Civil Division, ABRAHAM A. SIMMONS (CSBN 146400), Assistant United States Attorney, San Francisco, California, Attorneys for Federal Defendant.

FOURTH SUPPLEMENTAL JOINT CASE MANAGEMENT REPORT

MARIA-ELENA JAMES, District Judge.

This is an action brought by Plaintiffs pursuant to the Freedom oflnformation Act, 5 U.S.C. ยง 552, to compel production of documents. The information request upon which this suit is based, sought information submitted to defendant relating to the operations of coal-fired power plants owned by the Luminant Corporation.

After the parties completed briefing cross-motions for summary judgment, but before oral argu-ment on same, on May 20, 2012, the Court vacated the scheduled hearing and ordered the parties to meet and confer in her chambers on May 30, 2012. Dkt. No. 50. After fruitful discussion in chambers, the parties agreed to continue with informal settlement discussions in an effort to resolve this matter without further litigation. Accordingly, the parties engaged in a number of direct and informal settlemen conference calls and have exchanged a settlement proposal. Additionally, as the Parties informed the Court, recent EPA enforcement activities involving Luminant have impacted EIP and Sierra Club's in-terest in the documents at issue in this matter. Because the parties required additional time in which to explore possible resolution of this case, when they reported back to the Court on September 20, 2012, they requested that the case be stayed until November 21, 2012 by which time they would inform the Court of the status of their settlement efforts. Dkt. No. 52. The Court so ordered. Dkt. No. 53.

The parties reported to the court on November 21, 2012, that they desired additional time to ex-plore a possible settlement of this case. Dkt. No. 54. Accordingly, the Court set December 21, 2012 as a deadline for the parties to report their progress in this regard. Dkt. No. 55.

The parties then reported to the court on December 19, 2012, that they desired an additional 60 days to explore a possible settlement of this case. Dkt. No. 56. Accordingly, the Court set February 21, 2013 as a deadline for the parties to report their progress in this regard. Dkt. No. 57.

On February 27, 2013, the parties again reported that they desired additional time to explore a possible settlement of this case. Dkt. No. 58. Accordingly, the Court set May 28, 2013 as a deadline for the parties to report their progress in this regard. Dkt. No. 59. The Parties apologize to the Court that they did not submit this report by May 28, 2013.

The Parties have continued their dialogue, believe they are making substantive progress toward reaching a settlement, have exchanged additional substantive settlement proposals - including a draft settlement agreement- and are closer to a general consensus on how to settle the case. However, be-cause of the complexity of the issues involved, the Parties require additional time to negotiate the details of the settlement terms and obtain approval for a final settlement from their respective organizations. They therefore desire additional time in which to explore a negotiated resolution to this dispute.

Accordingly, the Parties request that they be provided an additional 45 days in which to attempt to conclude their settlement negotiations and report back to the Court on the status of same no later than July 15, 2013.


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