United States District Court, E.D. California
February 7, 2014
IMPERIUM INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
UNIGARD INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
SCHEDULING ORDER (Fed. R. Civ. P. 16)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.
I Date of scheduling Conference
February 7, 2014.
II. Appearances of Counsel
Robert Dennison appeared on behalf of Plaintiff.
Barbara Kekich appeared on behalf of Defendant Unigard Insurance Co.
Roger Booth appeared on behalf of Defendant Fernando Sanchez.
III. Magistrate Judge Consent:
Notice of Congested Docket and Court Policy of Trailing
Due to the District Judges' heavy caseload, the newly adopted policy of the Fresno Division of the Eastern District is to trail all civil cases. The parties are hereby notified that for a trial date set before a District Judge, the parties will trail indefinitely behind any higher priority criminal or older civil case set on the same date until a courtroom becomes available. The trial date will not be reset to a continued date.
The Magistrate Judges' availability is far more realistic and accommodating to parties than that of the U.S. District Judges who carry the heaviest caseloads in the nation and who must prioritize criminal and older civil cases over more recently filed civil cases. A United States Magistrate Judge may conduct trials, including entry of final judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 28 U.S.C. 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73, and Local Rule 305. Any appeal from a judgment entered by a United States Magistrate Judge is taken directly to the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.
The Fresno Division of the Eastern District of California, whenever possible, is utilizing United States Article III District Court Judges from throughout the nation as Visiting Judges. Pursuant to the Local Rules, Appendix A, such reassignments will be random, and the parties will receive no advance notice before their case is reassigned to an Article III District Court Judge from outside of the Eastern District of California.
Therefore, the parties are directed to consider consenting to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction to conduct all further proceedings, including trial. Within 10 days of the date of this order, counsel SHALL file a consent/decline form (provided by the Court at the inception of this case) indicating whether they will consent to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge.
IV. Pleading Amendment Deadline
Any requested pleading amendments are ordered to be filed, either through a stipulation or motion to amend, no later than February 21, 2014.
V. Discovery Plan and Cut-Off Date
The parties are ordered to exchange the initial disclosures required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1) on or before February 14, 2014.
The parties are ordered to complete all discovery pertaining to non-experts on or before September 19, 2014, and all discovery pertaining to experts on or before December 1, 2014.
The parties are directed to disclose all expert witnesses, in writing, on or before October 10, 2014, and to disclose all rebuttal experts on or before November 3, 2014. The written designation of retained and non-retained experts shall be made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 26(a)(2), (A), (B), and (C) and shall include all information required thereunder. Failure to designate experts in compliance with this order may result in the Court excluding the testimony or other evidence offered through such experts that are not disclosed pursuant to this order.
The provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(4) and (5) shall apply to all discovery relating to experts and their opinions. Experts must be fully prepared to be examined on all subjects and opinions included in the designation. Failure to comply will result in the imposition of sanctions, which may include striking the expert designation and preclusion of expert testimony.
The provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(e) regarding a party's duty to timely supplement disclosures and responses to discovery requests will be strictly enforced.
A mid-discovery status conference is scheduled for July 11, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. before the Honorable Jennifer L. Thurston, U.S. Magistrate Judge, located at 510 19th Street, Bakersfield, California. A Joint Mid-Discovery Status Conference Report, carefully prepared and executed by all counsel, shall be electronically filed in CM/ECF, one full week prior to the Conference, and shall be e-mailed, in Word format, to JLTorders@caed.uscourts.gov. Counsel may appear via CourtCall, providing a written request to so appear is made to the Magistrate Judge's Courtroom Clerk no later than five court days before the noticed hearing date.
VI. Pre-Trial Motion Schedule
All non-dispositive pre-trial motions, including any discovery motions, shall be filed no later than December 15, 2014, and heard on or before January 12, 2014. Non-dispositive motions are heard at 9:00 a.m., before the Honorable Jennifer L. Thurston, United States Magistrate Judge, at the United States District Courthouse located at 510 19th Street, Bakersfield, California.
No written discovery motions shall be filed without prior approval of the assigned Magistrate Judge. A party with a discovery dispute must first confer with the opposing party in a good faith effort to resolve by agreement the issues in dispute. If that good faith effort is unsuccessful, the moving party promptly shall seek a telephonic hearing with all involved parties and the Magistrate Judge. It shall be the obligation of the moving party to arrange and originate the conference call to the court. To schedule this telephonic hearing, the parties are ordered to contact Courtroom Deputy Clerk, Susan Hall at (661) 326-6620 or via email at SHall@caed.uscourts.gov. Counsel must comply with Local Rule 251 with respect to discovery disputes or the motion will be denied without prejudice and dropped from calendar.
In scheduling such motions, the Magistrate Judge may grant applications for an order shortening time pursuant to Local Rule 144(e). However, if counsel does not obtain an order shortening time, the notice of motion must comply with Local Rule 251.
Counsel may appear and argue non-dispositive motions via CourtCall, providing a written request to so appear is made to the Magistrate Judge's Courtroom Clerk no later than five court days before the noticed hearing date.
All dispositive pre-trial motions shall be filed no later than March 10, 2014, and heard no later than April 23, 2014, in Courtroom 4 at 8:30 a.m. before the Honorable Lawrence J. O'Neill United tates District Court Judge. In scheduling such motions, counsel shall comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 and Local Rules 230 and 260.
VII. Motions for Summary Judgment or Summary Adjudication
Prior to filing a motion for summary judgment or motion for summary adjudication the parties are ORDERED to meet, in person or by telephone, and confer to discuss the issues to be raised in the motion at least twenty-one days prior to the filing of the motion.
The purpose of the meeting shall be to: 1) avoid filing motions for summary judgment where a question of fact exists; 2) determine whether the respondent agrees that the motion has merit in whole or in part; 3) discuss whether issues can be resolved without the necessity of briefing; 4) narrow the issues for review by the court; 5) explore the possibility of settlement before the parties incur the expense of briefing a summary judgment motion; 6) to arrive at a joint statement of undisputed facts.
The moving party shall initiate the meeting and provide a draft of the joint statement of undisputed facts. In addition to the requirements of Local Rule 260, the moving party shall file a joint statement of undisputed facts.
In the notice of motion the moving party shall certify that the parties have met and conferred as ordered above, or set forth a statement of good cause for the failure to meet and confer.
VIII. Pre-Trial Conference Date
June 16, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. in Courtroom 4 before Judge O'Neill.
The parties are ordered to file a Joint Pretrial Statement pursuant to Local Rule 281(a)(2). The parties are further directed to submit a digital copy of their pretrial statement in Word format, directly to Judge O'Neill's chambers, by email at LJOOrders@caed.uscourts.gov.
Counsels' attention is directed to Rules 281 and 282 of the Local Rules of Practice for the Eastern District of California, as to the obligations of counsel in preparing for the pre-trial conference. The Court will insist upon strict compliance with those rules. In addition to the matters set forth in the Local Rules the Joint Pretrial Statement shall include a Joint Statement of the case to be used by the Court to explain the nature of the case to the jury during voir dire.
IX. Trial Date
August 11, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 4 before the Honorable Lawrence J. O'Neill, United States District Court Judge.
A. This is a bench trial.
B. Counsels' Estimate of Trial Time: 1-2 days.
C. Counsel's attention is directed to Local Rules of Practice for the Eastern District of California, Rule 285.
X. Settlement Conference
The parties do not wish a settlement conference to be set at this time. If they believe a settlement conference is likely to be fruitful in the future, they may file a joint request for the Court to set a conference.
XI. Requests for Bifurcation, Appointment of Special Master, or other Techniques to Shorten Trial
Target intends to move the Court to bifurcate the issue of liability from that of damages.
XII. Related Matters Pending
There are no pending related matters.
XIII. Other Matters - Electronic filing/service
At the hearing, counsel for Unigard noted that Mr. Booth may have opted-out to the Court's CM/ECF e-mail service of documents. Mr. Booth indicated he wished to receive service by e-mail. Notably, the Court's review of the CM/ECF program reveals that Mr. Booth is receiving service via e-mail and has not opted out of this service.
XIII. Compliance with Federal Procedure
All counsel are expected to familiarize themselves with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of Practice of the Eastern District of California, and to keep abreast of any amendments thereto. The Court must insist upon compliance with these Rules if it is to efficiently handle its increasing case load, and sanctions will be imposed for failure to follow both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of Practice for the Eastern District of California.
XIV. Effect of this Order
The foregoing order represents the best estimate of the court and counsel as to the agenda most suitable to dispose of this case. The trial date reserved is specifically reserved for this case. If the parties determine at any time that the schedule outlined in this order cannot be met, counsel are ordered to notify the court immediately of that fact so that adjustments may be made, either by stipulation or by subsequent status conference.
The dates set in this Order are considered to be firm and will not be modified absent a showing of good cause even if the request to modify is made by stipulation. Stipulations extending the deadlines contained herein will not be considered unless they are accompanied by affidavits or declarations, and where appropriate attached exhibits, which establish good cause for granting the relief requested.
Failure to comply with this order may result in the imposition of sanctions.
IT IS SO ORDERED.