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Jessop v. City of Fresno

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 15, 2016

MICAH JESSOP, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF FRESNO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER CONTINUING HEARING ON DEFENDANT CITY OF FRESNO'S MOTION TO COMPEL FROM JULY 20, 2016 TO AUGUST 3, 2016 (ECF NOS. 32, 33, 34, 35)

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         On June 22, 2016, Defendant City of Fresno (“Defendant”) filed a motion to compel further responses to special interrogatories and requests for production of documents. (ECF No. 32.) Defendant also requests monetary sanctions in the amount of $2, 220.00, which represents the fees and costs associated with bringing and presenting the motion to compel. (ECF No. 32.)

         On July 13, 2016, Defendant filed a reply to non-opposition of the motion to compel. (ECF No. 34.) On that same date, Defendant's counsel, Allen Christiansen, filed a declaration pursuant to Local Rule 251(d) that was intended to supplement his June 21, 2016 Local Rule 251(d) declaration. (ECF No. 34-1.) On July 13, 2016, Plaintiffs filed an objection to Defendant's motion to compel and requested that the motion to compel be taken off calendar. (ECF No. 35.) Attached to Plaintiffs' objection was a declaration by Plaintiffs' counsel, Kevin Little. (ECF No. 35 at 4.)

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court vacates the July 20, 2016 hearing on Defendant's motion to compel and orders the parties to meet and confer regarding the discovery dispute before July 27, 2016. If the parties are unable to resolve the discovery dispute, they shall file a joint statement re discovery dispute on or before July 27, 2016. The hearing on Defendant's motion to compel is continued to August 3, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 9.

         II.

         DISCUSSION

         It is apparent from the parties' competing declarations that there has been a breakdown in communications. However, the parties are still required to comply with the Court's scheduling order and the Court's Local Rules.[1]

         A. Local Rule 230

         Defendant alleges that, pursuant to Local Rule 230(c), any opposition to the motion to compel was due on or before July 6, 2016. (ECF No. 34 at 2.) However, Local Rule 230(c) does not apply to the instant motion to compel. Local Rule 251(f) provides that “[b]y reason of the notice provisions set forth in (a) and (e), the provisions of L.R. 230 shall not apply to motions and hearings dealing with discovery matters. Therefore, Plaintiffs did not have to file an opposition in accordance with Local Rule 230(c).

         B. Failure to File Joint Statement

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that the parties failed to prepare and file a joint statement concerning Defendant's motion to compel. Local Rule 251 requires that the parties submit a joint statement at least seven days before the scheduled hearing on the motion to compel. However, Local Rule 251(d) provides that counsel for the moving party may file and serve an affidavit if he or she is “unable, after a good faith effort, to secure the cooperation of counsel for the opposing party in arranging the required conference, or in preparing and executing the required joint statement.” Here, Defendant's counsel filed two affidavits pursuant to Rule 251(d) regarding the failure to meet and confer. (ECF Nos. 32-1, 34-1.) Therefore, the Court will review the parties' claims regarding the failure to meet and confer.

         C. Failure to Meet and Confer

         Defendant alleges that Plaintiffs have failed to meet and confer after multiple requests. Defendant asks the Court to enter an order adverse to Plaintiffs for Plaintiffs' ...


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