United States District Court, S.D. California
TIMOTHY BARRETT, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
WESLEY FINANCIAL GROUP, LLC and, INFOLINK COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST TO EXTEND CERTAIN DATES AS TO DEFENDANT INFOLINK [DOC. NOS. 38, 39]
KAREN S. CRAWFORD, Magistrate Judge.
On February 25, 2014, plaintiff Timothy Barrett ("plaintiff") and defendant InfoLink Communications ("InfoLink") filed a Joint Ex Parte Motion to Continue Deadline for Motion for Class Certification and Extend Class Discovery Cut-Off, seeking a 90 day extension to the two class-related dates. [Doc. No. 38] Defendant Wesley Financial Group ("Wesley") filed a separate Response in Opposition to the Joint Ex Parte Motion. [Doc. No. 39] This constitutes plaintiff's third request to extend these deadlines. [Doc. Nos. 17, 18, 19, 26, 27] For the reasons outlined in greater detail below, the Joint Ex Parte Motion [Doc. No. 38] is GRANTED with respect to defendant InfoLink, but not as applied to defendant Wesley.
On October 22, 2013, plaintiff filed an ex parte Motion seeking to continue the deadline for class discovery by 120 days and the deadline for filing a Class Certification Motion by 90 days. [Doc. No. 17] On October 28, 2013, the Court denied plaintiff's request without prejudice for failing to demonstrate good cause for the extensions, and for failing to adequately meet and confer with opposing counsel and submit the request in the form of a Joint Motion as required by the Chamber Rules of the undersigned Magistrate Judge. [Doc. No. 19] In its October 28, 2013 Order, the Court found that "the record evidences a lack of diligence [by plaintiff] in the prosecution of this action, " held that "[u]nless and until [InfoLink] is added as a party to this litigation, plaintiff's request to modify the existing schedule appears premature and lacking good cause[, ]" and instructed the parties that it would "consider a renewed Motion to extend [class] discovery upon a showing of good cause" should plaintiff successfully add InfoLink as a party to this action. [Doc. No. 19, pp. 3-4] InfoLink was added as a party to this action on November 15, 2013 when the Court granted [Doc. No. 22] plaintiff's October 15, 2013 Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 16], accepting plaintiff's November 13, 2013 First Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 20] as filed.
On December 12, 2013, the parties submitted a renewed Joint Motion Regarding Plaintiff's Request to Modify Order Setting Initial Dates. [Doc. No. 26] Again, plaintiff sought to continue the deadline for class discovery by 120 days and the deadline for filing a Class Certification Motion by 90 days. [Doc. No. 26] On December 19, 2013, the Court granted plaintiff's request. [Doc. No. 27] In so doing, the Court found that "[n]otwithstanding plaintiff's lack of diligence, " the recent addition of defendant InfoLink provided good cause to extend the dates. [Doc. No. 27, p. 3] The Court concluded:, "However, given the delays to date, and the potential prejudice to defendant Wesley Financial, no further extensions to these dates will be granted, absent new and good cause." [Doc. No. 27, p. 3 (emphasis in original)]
In the request presently before the Court, plaintiff and defendant InfoLink seek an additional 90 days to the class discovery and class certification filing deadlines. [Doc. No. 38] As grounds for the requested extensions, plaintiff and InfoLink cite a potential conflict of law issue stemming from InfoLink's status as a Canadian corporation. "As a Canadian corporation operating and headquartered in Ontario, " InfoLink must "conduct its business in conformance with the laws of both the province of Ontario and the country of Canada. Two Canadian laws impact InfoLink's ability to disclose documents and information in a foreign jurisdiction without first following certain procedural and substantive safeguards." [Doc. No. 38, pp. 3-4] InfoLink "does not want to be placed in [the] position of having to violate the laws of one nation simply to comply with the laws of another." [Doc. No. 38, p. 6]
Wesley opposes any additional extensions to discovery as applied to it, citing plaintiff's lack of diligence, and the additional expense and prejudice of further-protracted class discovery, and argues that Wesley has been responsive and cooperative with all of plaintiff's discovery requests to date. [Doc. No. 39] Wesley, however, does not oppose an extension of the class discovery dates as between InfoLink and plaintiff, and represents to the Court, based on its discussions with InfoLink, that InfoLink "does not wish to extend the discovery deadlines towards Wesley. Instead InfoLink only intended to join [p]laintiff's Motion as it applies to deadlines for discovery between InfoLink and [p]laintiff and as to the Class Certification Deadline." [Doc. No. 39, p.
District Courts have broad discretion to supervise the pre-trial phase of litigation and to "manage the discovery process to facilitate prompt and efficient resolution of the lawsuit." Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 599 (1998). Once in place, "[a] schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent." Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). The "good cause" requirement of Rule 16 primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir.1992).
"While Wesley agrees that the addition of VoiceLogic/InfoLink creates cause for the extension of deadlines as to the new party, it does not create new and good cause as to the extension of deadlines as to Wesley." [Doc. No. 39, p. 3] This Court agrees. Good cause appears to extend the deadline for class discovery as it applies to InfoLink. The late addition of InfoLink, coupled with the Canadian law issue raise in the Joint Ex Parte Motion, supply grounds for such an extension. However, these same reasons do not provide grounds for further extending class discovery with respect to Wesley. Plaintiff's documented lack of diligence [Doc. Nos. 19, pp. 2-3; Doc. No. 27, pp. 2-3], along with the potential prejudice to Wesley, render any additional extensions towards Wesley lacking in good cause.
Accordingly, and for the reasons outlined above, the Joint Ex Parte Motion [Doc. No. 38] is GRANTED, and the dates are established and adjusted as follows:
1. Class Discovery Deadline - Wesley: February 28, 2014
2. Class Discovery Deadline - InfoLink: May 30, 2014
3. Class Certification Motion Filing Deadline: ...