June 26, 2013
GARY PRICE THOMAS, Plaintiff,
SONOMA COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
BRUCE D. GOLDSTEIN, State Bar No. 135970, County Counsel, ANNE L. KECK, State Bar No. 136315, Deputy County Counsel, Office of the Sonoma County Counsel, Santa Rosa, CA, Attorneys for Defendant, the County of Sonoma.
DEFENDANT THE COUNTY OF SONOMA'S MOTION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE RELIEF FROM ORDER ENTERED 6/24/13, OR ALTERNATIVELY, TO EXTEND TIME TO RESPOND TO ORDER; DECLARATION OF ANNE L. KECK; [PROPOSED] ORDER
SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.
Defendant the County of Sonoma ("County") hereby respectfully submits this Motion for Administrative Relief from the Order entered by this Court on June 24, 2013 (Dkt. No. 32, the "Order"), or alternatively, to extend time to respond to the directions contained in that Order. The County brings this motion pursuant to Local Civil Rules 6-3 and 7-11, and asks the Court to dispense with the requirement in the Order for it to file a "signed" declaration of Tracy Rankin, or alternatively, to extend the time to do so through July 2, 2013. For the convenience of the Court, a copy of the Order is attached to the Declaration of Anne L.Keck hereto as Exhibit "A".
I. GENERAL BACKGROUND
On January 16, 2013, the County submitted a combined motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 4), as well as supporting documents, including the declaration of Tracy Rankin (Dkt. No. 5). Ms. Rankin is the Human Resources Analyst for the Sonoma County Superior Court, who attested in her declaration that none of the individuals named as defendants in the complaint are employees of the County, but rather are State or Superior Court employees. Accordingly, in its motion, the County requests summary judgment on the ground that none of the actions alleged in the complaint were performed by any employee or agent of the County.
The County submitted Ms. Rankin's declaration to the Court with an attached attestation from its counsel of record, Deputy County Counsel Anne L. Keck, who attested that "the concurrence in the filing of this document has been obtained from its signatories[sic]." (Dkt. No. 5, at 4.) In fact, Ms. Rankin had authorized the filing of the declaration under her signature via e-mail sent to Ms. Keck on January 16, 2013. (See attached Declaration of Anne L. Keck, Exh. "B".)
The initial hearing date on the County's motions, set for February 28, 2013, was vacated pursuant to the reassignment of this case to this Court. (Dkt. No. 15.) Thereafter, the County submitted an amended notice of hearing on the motions, setting them for hearing on April 26, 2013. (Dkt. No. 19.) The Court granted Plaintiff's request to continue that hearing date, and re-set it for May 17, 2013. (Dkt. No. 23.) Thereafter, the Court vacated the hearing date on May 10, 2013, due to Plaintiff's failure to file an opposition to the motions, and issued an Order to Show Cause to Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 26.) Plaintiff then filed an opposition to the County's motions on May 13, 2013 (Dkt. No. 27), to which the County replied on May 21, 2013. (Dkt. No. 29.) No hearing date is currently set on the motions.
On June 24, 2013, the Court issued an "Order Re: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss." (Dkt. No. 32.) In the Order, the Court states that the declaration of Tracy Rankin, which the County submitted in support of its motion for summary judgment, is not signed. ( Id. ) The Court also stated that it is prepared to rule on the County's pending motion, but cannot do so until it files a signed declaration of Tracy Rankin. ( Id. ) The Court then directed the County to file a signed declaration no later than June 28, 2013, and stated that the motion will be deemed submitted thereafter without oral argument. ( Id. )
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 5-1(i)(3), County Counsel obtained e-mail consent from Ms. Rankin to file the declaration under her signature, and so attested. (Dkt. No. 5, at 4.) Counsel does not have an original signature on such declaration in her possession, though can obtain one from Ms. Rankin on or before July 2, 2013. Counsel is unable to contact Ms. Rankin at present, as Ms. Rankin is hiking in a remote area and is not due back at work until July 1, 2013.
II. LEGAL DISCUSSION
The electronic filing of document signed by persons other than the filing attorney is governed by Local Civil Rule 5-1(i), which provides in relevant part:
(3) Others. In the case of a Signatory who is not an ECF user, or who is an ECF user but whose user ID and password are not utilized in the electronic filing of the document, as in the case of documents requiring multiple signatures, the filer of the document shall attest that concurrence in the filing of the document has been obtained from each of the other Signatories, which shall serve in lieu of their signatures on the document. The filer's attestation may be incorporated into the document itself, or take the form of a declaration attached to the document. The filer shall maintain records to support this concurrence for subsequent production for the Court, if so ordered, or for inspection upon request by a party, until one year after the final resolution of the action (including appeal, if any). The filer may attach a scanned image of the signature page of the document being electronically filed in lieu of maintaining the paper record for subsequent production if required.
(Local Civil Rule 5-1(i)(3).)
While the Local Civil Rule requires counsel to "maintain records" that support the signatory's concurrence in the filing of the document, it does not require counsel to obtain or preserve an actual signature on the document. Accordingly, it is the practice of County Counsel to maintain a written record from the signatory approving the filing of the document (usually accomplished through an e-mail verification), but not to require an inked signature on the document itself.
Consistent with this practice, County Counsel obtained Ms. Rankin's consent to file her declaration under her signature via e-mail verification. (See Declaration of Anne L. Keck, Exh. "B".) Counsel believes that this process fully satisfies the requirements of Local Civil Rule 5-1 (i)(3), and thus requests relief from the provisions of the Order requiring the County to submit a "signed" copy of Ms. Rankin's declaration.
Alternatively, County Counsel can obtain an inked signature on the declaration from Ms. Rankin upon her return from her hiking vacation on July 1, 2013. The County requests an additional day in which to file such declaration, through July 2, 2013, to account for any administrative timing issues.
Based on the foregoing, the County of Sonoma respectfully requests the Court to grant it administrative relief from the Order Re: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 32), by determining that the attestation attached to the Declaration of Tracy Rankin (Dkt. No. 5) is sufficient to satisfy electronic case filing requirements per Local Civil Rule 5-1(i), or alternatively, to provide the County through and including July 2, 2013, to file a signature to such declaration.
DECLARATION OF ANNE L. KECK
I, Anne L. Keck, hereby declare as follows:
1. I am an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of California and before this Court. I am employed as a Deputy County Counsel for the County of Sonoma, and represent Defendant the County of Sonoma in this action. The facts set forth below are based on my own personal knowledge, except where otherwise indicated and if called to testify herein I could and would competently testify thereto.
2. A true and correct copy of the Order Re: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 32) entered in this case on June 24, 2013, is attached hereto as Exhibit "A" for the convenience of the Court.
3. I worked directly with Sonoma County Superior Court Human Resources Analyst Tracy Rankin to prepare her declaration submitted in support of the County's motion for summary judgment as Docket Number 5. Ms. Rankin approved the filing of the final draft of her declaration under her signature via e-mail on January 16, 2013, a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit "B".
4. It is not my practice to request "inked" copies of signatures from declarants or other parties who have approved the filing of a paper under their signature via ECF. Instead, I require and retain a writing (sent via e-mail or otherwise) that verifies the approval of the signatory to the filing of this document. Consistent with this general practice, I do not currently have in my possession Ms. Rankin's inked signature on her declaration.
5. While I am happy to obtain Ms. Rankin's inked signature on her declaration, I have been informed by her immediate supervisor, Deputy Court Executive Officer Cindia Martinez, that Ms. Rankin is currently unavailable as she is on vacation and is hiking in a remote area. Ms. Martinez further informed me that Ms. Rankin is due to return to work on July 1, 2013, and that she will obtain Ms. Rankin's signature on her declaration that day.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the above is true and correct.
Executed this 25th day of June, 2013, in Santa Rosa, California.
Pursuant to Defendant the County of Sonoma's foregoing Motion for Administrative Relief from Order Entered 6/24/13, or Alternatively, to Extend Time to Respond to Order, and with good cause appearing,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Order Re: Motions to Dismiss, entered by this Court on June 24, 2013, as Docket No. 32, is hereby amended as follows (check one):
 The Attestation of Anne L. Keck attached to the Declaration of Tracy Rankin in Support of the County of Sonoma's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 5) complies with Local Civil Rule 5-1(i)(3) to verify that the document is deemed signed by Ms. Rankin, and the e-mail verification of Ms. Rankin's approval of and concurrence in the filing of such document under her signature is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the local rule to deem such declaration signed; accordingly, the County need take no further action with respect to Ms. Rankin's declaration.
 The County of Sonoma is provided through and including July 2, 2013, in which to file a signature on the Declaration of Tracy Rankin in Support of the County of Sonoma's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 5).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
On January 16, 2013, defendant County of Sonoma filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and a motion for summary judgment. In support of the motion, defendant filed the declaration of Tracy Rankin. The declaration is not signed. After plaintiff failed to file an opposition, the Court issued an order to show cause and vacated the hearing on defendant's motion. Plaintiff then filed an opposition and a response to the order to show cause, stating that he does wise to prosecute this case. Accordingly, the Court is prepared to rule on defendant's pending motion. However, the Court cannot do so until defendant filed a signed declaration of Tracy Rankin. Accordingly, the Court direct defendant to file a signed declaration no later than June 28, 2013; once the declaration is filed, the motion will be deemed submitted without oral argument.
IT IS SO ORDERED.