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Anzo v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 1, 2014

JESS ANZO, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, Defendant.

ORDER

KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the motion by defendant Union Pacific Railroad Company ("defendant" or "Pacific Railroad") to modify this court's pretrial scheduling order. (ECF 23.) Plaintiff Jess Anzo, Jr. ("plaintiff" or "Mr. Anzo") opposes the motion. (ECF 27.) The court held a hearing on this matter on June 20, 2014, at which Larry Lockshin appeared for plaintiff, and Naisha Covarrubias appeared for defendant. As explained below, the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part defendant's motion.

I. INTRODUCTION

The claims in this case arise out of defendant's alleged negligence in not providing a safe work environment for plaintiff. ( See Pl.'s Compl. at 2, ECF 1.) Plaintiff was employed by defendant "as a maintenance-of-way laborer and machine operator." ( Id. ¶ 4.) Specifically, plaintiff sustained his alleged injuries when "the operator of... a tamper being operated behind [plaintiff]... failed in the performance of his duties..." in that the operator of the tamper fell asleep, resulting in a collision with the ballast regulator that plaintiff was operating. ( Id. ¶ 5.)

Plaintiff filed a complaint in this court on February 22, 2013, arguing jurisdiction under the Federal Employee Liability Act ("FELA"), 45 U.S.C. § 51, et seq. ( Id. ¶ 1.) Defendant filed an answer on March 27, 2013. (ECF 5.)

An initial scheduling conference was held on August 8, 2013. (ECF 18 at 1.) On August 20, 2013, the court issued a pretrial scheduling order, setting certain deadlines for the progression of the litigation. ( See generally id. ) Defendant now moves to modify those deadlines ( see ECF 23), and plaintiff opposes the motion ( see ECF 27). Defendant has replied. (ECF 30.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4), a pretrial scheduling order "may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent." Under Rule 16(b)(4), the primary focus is on the diligence of the party seeking the modification. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992). The district court may modify the schedule "if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension." Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In Johnson, the Ninth Circuit recognized that while "the existence or degree of prejudice to the party opposing the modification might supply additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus is upon the moving party's reasons.... If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end." Id. at 609 (internal citation omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

In essence, defendant argues that because of plaintiff's actions in delaying discovery, defendant needs more time to complete its discovery. Plaintiff responds that modifying the schedule is not warranted because defendant still has time to complete its discovery.

Here, the court finds that partial modification of the scheduling order is warranted. The original scheduling order set forth the following relevant deadlines:

1. All discovery to be completed by June 30, 2014;
2. Expert witnesses to be designated by March 31, 2014; supplemental list of experts to be disclosed by April 10, 2014; and all expert ...

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