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Compass Bank v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 22, 2014

COMPASS BANK, Plaintiff,


WILLIAM V. GALLO, Magistrate Judge.


On December 15, 2014, Defendant Morris Cerullo World Evangelism ("Defendant") filed an Ex Parte Motion to Continue Case Management Order Deadlines.[1] (Doc. No. 84.) In its Ex Parte Motion, Defendant requests that the Court continue the January 20, 2015, discovery deadline, and the February 20, 2015, motion cutoff for a period of 60-90 days. Id. at 8. Defendant notes that the primary purpose for the extension request is to allow the parties to coordinate approximately 15 planned depositions. Id. at 2.

On December 15, 2014, Mr. Patrick Kane, counsel for Plaintiff Compass Bank ("Plaintiff"), filed a Declaration in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Ex Parte Motion. (Doc. No. 85.) In his Declaration, Plaintiff's counsel argued that there is no need to extend the discovery deadline beyond 30 days, as the parties can complete all necessary depositions by February 20, 2015, if not sooner. Id. at 2.



Rule 16(b)(4) "provides that a district court's scheduling order may be modified upon a showing of good cause, ' an inquiry which focuses on the reasonable diligence of the moving party." Noyes v. Kelly Servs., 488 F.3d 1163, 1174 n. 6 (9th Cir.2007); citing Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir.1992). In Johnson, the Ninth Circuit explained,

... Rule 16(b)'s "good cause" standard primarily concerns the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. The district court may modify the pretrial schedule "if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension." Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee's notes (1983 amendment)... [T]he focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party's reasons for seeking modification.... If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.

Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609.

In part, the "good cause" standard requires the parties to demonstrate that "noncom-pliance with a Rule 16 deadline occurred or will occur, notwithstanding her diligent efforts to comply, because of the development of matters which could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated at the time of the Rule 16 Scheduling conference..." Jackson v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 608 (E.D.Cal. Jun. 16, 1999).

Here, the Court held a Case Management Conference ("CMC") more than one year ago, on December 4, 2013. (Doc. No. 40.) However, the parties did not begin written discovery until April of 2014. On June 6, 2014, the Court stayed discovery for 53 days while the parties determined whether additional parties would be served in this litigation. The parties were engaged in discovery from December of 2013 through April of 2014, and again from June of 2014 through the present. However, the parties did not begin discussing deposition schedules until October of 2014. While the Court appreciates that the parties had an interest in conducting discovery prior to deposing witnesses, scheduling the first deposition for December 16, 2014, with a January 20, 2015, discovery cutoff, shows a lack of diligence in conducting discovery.

Further, Defendant notes that one of its witnesses, Lynn Hodge, has been ordered by a doctor to avoid stressful interactions or situations over the next several weeks. (Doc. No. 84 at 5.) However, in the next paragraph, Defendant states that it has an Annual World Conference from January 6-10, "which requires a significant amount of time and preparation by Mr. Hodge..." Id . The Court finds that, if Mr. Hodge is well enough to plan an Annual World Conference for the beginning of January, then he is well enough to sit for his deposition in December.

Moreover, Defendant asserts that the scheduling issues are exacerbated by the Christmas and New Year's holidays, which effectively eliminates the last two weeks of December as viable deposition dates. (Doc. No. 84 at 6.) Defendant makes no attempt to explain why these two weeks are essentially eliminated from the schedule as available deposition dates, other than to say that it is the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

The Court finds that Defendant has provided no justification as to why it needs an extension of the discovery cutoff and motion deadline for 60 days, rather than for 30 days. The Court typically sets a dispositive motion deadline for a date approximately 30 days after the discovery deadline. Here, because the Court will grant Defendant's request in part and extend the discovery deadline by 30 days, it ...

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