United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MORRISON C. ENGLAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
of this action, Plaintiffs Advanced Building &
Fabrication, Inc., and Robert Honan (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) seek to recover from Defendants
California Highway Patrol (“CHP”), CHP Officer
John Wilson, and Board of Equalization employee Curtis Ayers
(collectively “Defendants”) for injuries arising
out of the search of Plaintiffs' premises and Honan's
arrest. Presently before the Court are Defendants'
Motions for Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 94 and 103) and both
sides' Motions to Modify the Court's Pretrial
Scheduling Order (“PTSO”) (ECF Nos. 113 and 127).
For the reasons set forth below, all of these Motions are
DENIED. A separate order setting this matter for
trial will follow.
DEFENDANTS' RULE 56 MOTIONS
Motions for Summary Judgment (or alternatively for partial
summary judgment) are not well taken. Without delving into
all of the details of each of the substantive claims and
defenses raised, suffice it to say that there are a multitude
of material questions of fact (including issues of
credibility on both sides) precluding resolution of this case
short of trial. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide
for summary judgment when “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). One of the principal
purposes of Rule 56 is to dispose of factually unsupported
claims or defenses. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.
also allows a court to grant summary judgment on part of a
claim or defense, known as partial summary judgment.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“A party may move for
summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense-or the
part of each claim or defense-on which summary judgment is
sought.”); see also Allstate Ins. Co. v.
Madan, 889 F.Supp. 374, 378-79 (C.D. Cal. 1995). The
standard that applies to a motion for partial summary
judgment is the same as that which applies to a motion for
summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); State
of Cal. ex rel. Cal. Dep't of Toxic Substances Control v.
Campbell, 138 F.3d 772, 780 (9th Cir. 1998) (applying
the summary judgment standard to motion for summary
summary judgment motion, the moving party always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis
for the motion and identifying the portions in the record
“which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at
323. “However, if the nonmoving party bears the burden
of proof on an issue at trial, the moving party need not
produce affirmative evidence of an absence of fact to satisfy
its burden.” In re Brazier Forest Prods. Inc.,
921 F.2d 221, 223 (9th Cir. 1990). If the moving party meets
its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the
opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any
material fact actually does exist. Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87
(1986); First Nat'l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co.,
391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968).
attempting to establish the existence or non-existence of a
genuine factual dispute, the party must support its assertion
by “citing to particular parts of materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits[, ] or declarations . . . or
other materials; or showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The opposing
party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is
material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 251-52 (1986); Owens v.
Local No. 169, Ass'n of W. Pulp & Paper Workers,
971 F.2d 347, 355 (9th Cir. 1987). The opposing party must
also demonstrate that the dispute about a material fact
“is ‘genuine, ' that is, if the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
In other words, the judge needs to answer the preliminary
question before the evidence is left to the jury of
“not whether there is literally no evidence, but
whether there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed
to find a verdict for the party producing it, upon whom the
onus of proof is imposed.” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 251 (quoting Improvement Co. v. Munson,
81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)). As the Supreme Court explained,
“[w]hen the moving party has carried its burden under
Rule [56(a)], its opponent must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586.
Therefore, “[w]here the record taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party, there is no ‘genuine issue for
trial.'” Id. at 587.
resolving a summary judgment motion, the evidence of the
opposing party is to be believed, and all reasonable
inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the
court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Nevertheless, inferences
are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing
party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from
which the inference may be drawn. Richards v. Nielsen
Freight Lines, 602 F.Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D. Cal.
1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898 (9th Cir. 1987).
factual disputes in this case are not only material, they are
overwhelming in number. From the outset, it is disputed
whether a warrant ever should have issued in the first place,
whether the execution of that warrant was proper, or whether
the search of Plaintiffs' properties was facilitated
through fraudulent means. Indeed, the parties present very
different versions of how this case evolved from what appears
to have been some sort of minor dispute between Plaintiff
Honan and Defendant Ayers into years of full-fledged
litigation during which both sides purportedly engaged in
conduct designed to make it harder to uncover the truth.
Accordingly, having considered the record in its entirety,
including the arguments of all parties, the Court concludes
it cannot resolve any of the issues raised by the parties
without itself sitting as the finder of fact. Both Motions
for Summary Judgment are thus DENIED.
PARTIES' MOTIONS TO AMEND THE PTSO
sides also filed Motions to Modify the Court's PTSO to
extend the existing discovery deadlines for their own
limited, and mutually exclusive, purposes. Neither motion is
supported by the showing of good cause required to warrant
amending the existing scheduling order, and both motions are
district court has issued a PTSO pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 16, that Rule's standards control.
Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604,
607-08 (9th Cir. 1992). Prior to the final pretrial
conference in this matter the Court can modify its PTSO upon
a showing of “good cause.” See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b). “Rule 16(b)'s ‘good
cause' standard primarily considers the diligence of the
party seeking the amendment.” Johnson, 975
F.2d at 609. In explaining this standard, the Ninth Circuit
A district court may modify the pretrial schedule “if
it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the
party seeking the extension.” Moreover, carelessness is
not compatible with a finding of diligence and offers no
reason for granting of relief. 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 ...