United States District Court, C.D. California
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
Proceedings: (In Chambers:) PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO MODIFY THE SCHEDULING ORDER (Dkt. #31, filed April 11, 2014)
The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of May 12, 2014, is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Plaintiffs Danny Moran, Berenice Vallejo, Billy Hernandez, Trinidad Castaneda, R.M., and G.M. filed this action on October 29, 2012, against the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department ("LAPD") Chief Charles Lloyd Beck, and LAPD Officer Daniel McCoole. The complaint asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and related claims arising from events that allegedly occurred on October 31, 2010. Compl. ¶¶ 11, 23-61. By order dated April 14, 2014, the Court dismissed defendant McCoole pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m). Dkt. #32.
On April 11, 2014, plaintiffs filed a motion to amend the scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b). Dkt. #31. Defendants filed an opposition on April 21, 2014. Dkt. #34. Plaintiffs filed a reply on May 5, 2014. Dkt. #35. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Rule 16(b)(4) provides that a scheduling order shall be modified "only for good cause." This standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the modification. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc. , 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992). The pretrial schedule may be modified "if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.'" Zivkovic v. S. Cal. Edison Co. , 302 F.3d 1080, 1087 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Johnson , 975 F.2d at 609). "Although the existence or degree of prejudice to the party opposing the modification might supply additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party's reasons for seeking modification." Johnson , 975 F.2d at 609. "[C]arelessness is not compatible with a finding of diligence and offers no reason for a grant of relief." Id. at 609 (citation omitted).
The discovery cut-off in this matter was April 25, 2014, and a jury trial is currently scheduled for July 29, 2014. Dkt. #13. Plaintiffs seek a 60-day extension of these deadlines so that they may move to compel the production of certain documents that are relevant to their claim pursuant to Monell v. Department of Social Services , 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Plaintiff's counsel states that he failed to note the Court's requirement that all motions to compel be filed and argued prior to the discovery cutoff. See dkt. #4. Due to this oversight, plaintiff's counsel did not prepare a motion to compel in time for it to be filed and argued prior to April 25, 2014.
Defendants respond that plaintiffs' motion should be denied because plaintiffs have not acted diligently, and because defendants would suffer prejudice if an extension is granted. The Court agrees. Regarding diligence, plaintiffs' primary justification for failing to comply with the scheduling order is plaintiffs' counsel's failure to take note of this Court's procedures. This does not constitute good cause to amend the scheduling order. See Johnson , 975 F.2d at 609. Moreover, plaintiffs did not make any requests for production of documents until November 2013, more than five months after their earliest opportunity to do so in June 2013. Thus, plaintiffs' claim of insufficient time to complete discovery is at least partially the result of their failure to work expeditiously. Regarding prejudice, defense counsel states that her next available time to try this case after the current trial date is April 2015. Thus, granting an extension would prejudice defendants by depriving them of a speedy resolution of this case. Further, the Court has an interest in maintaining an orderly docket.
In their reply, plaintiffs alternatively request that the scheduling order be modified for the limited purpose of allowing them to bring a motion to compel, while leaving the trial date unchanged. The Court finds this request to be appropriate, as it will not delay the trial date. Accordingly, the Court modifies the scheduling order for the limited purpose of allowing plaintiffs to bring a motion to compel.
In accordance with the foregoing, plaintiffs' motion is hereby GRANTED IN ...