United States District Court, E.D. California
February 24, 2014
PAUL KRUEGER, Plaintiff,
SUREWEST COMM., INC., ET AL., Defendants.
ALLISON CLAIRE, Magistrate Judge.
Before the court is plaintiff's February 7, 2014 motion to compel discovery responses, set for hearing on March 19, 2014. Plaintiff's pending motion, which includes a memorandum of points and authorities and supporting declarations and exhibits, and defendants' February 21, 2014 response, also including a memorandum of points and authorities and supporting declarations and exhibits, indicate that the parties have thus far been unable to agree to the scope of discovery in this Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) action. Eastern District Local Rule 251(b)-(c) requires that the parties to this discovery dispute meet and confer to attempt to resolve it, and if no resolution occurs, the parties are to work together to prepare a Joint Statement Re Discovery Disagreement. E.D. Cal. L.R. 251(b)-(c). The Joint Statement Re Discovery Disagreement must be filed on or before March 12, 2014.
Moreover, the undersigned's Case Management Procedures regarding Discovery Disputes, as set forth in the Standard Information available on the Eastern District of California's website, provides as follows:
Judge Claire strictly enforces the deadline for filing Joint Statements. Any motion will be removed from calendar if the Joint Statement is not filed at least seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing (i.e., no later than the Wednesday before the customary Wednesday hearing). Courtesy copies of all Joint Statements, with declarations, exhibits and other attachments tabbed, are mandatory and should be delivered to the Clerk of Court at least seven (7) days before the scheduled hearing.
Judge Claire also strictly enforces meet and confer requirements. Written correspondence between the parties, including email, is insufficient to satisfy the parties' meet and confer obligations under Local Rule 251(b). Prior to the filing of a Joint Statement, the parties must confer in person or via telephone or video conferencing in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
The hearing date of March 19, 2014, is still several weeks away. The parties have ample time to continue to meet and confer about their dispute and to work together to craft the requisite Joint Statement. Given the Joint Statement requirement, the undersigned will not consider either plaintiff's memorandum of points and authorities filed on February 7, 2014 (ECF No. 28) or defendants' February 21, 2014 response (ECF No. 29). The parties shall include their legal arguments and any supporting declarations as part of the Joint Statement to be filed pursuant to this order, Local Rule 251(c), and the undersigned's Standing Information.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The parties are to continue to meet and confer in good faith in efforts to resolve the pending discovery disagreement.
2. The parties are to file, no later than March 12, 2014, either:
a. A Joint Statement re Discovery Disagreement consistent with the requirements of Local Rule 251(c), or
b. A statement listing the parties' good faith efforts to meet and confer (including efforts to meet and confer specifically regarding preparing the Joint Statement), the dates and times of such efforts, and the reasons why such good faith efforts were unsuccessful. E.D. Cal. L.R. 251(d).
3. The hearing presently set for March 19, 2014, will remain on calendar. However, a failure to comply with this order and/or the court's local rules may result in the hearing being dropped from calendar, or an entry of an order adverse to the party failing to comply. E.D. Cal. L.R. 251(d).
4. Given the Joint Statement requirement, the undersigned will not consider the parties' separate memorandums of points and authorities. The parties shall include their legal arguments and any supporting declarations as part of the Joint Statement to be filed pursuant to this order, Local Rule 251(c) and the undersigned's Standard Information.