United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR PRE-ANSWER EARLY NEUTRAL
EVALUATION OR TELEPHONIC STATUS CONFERENCE [ECF NO.
HONORABLE LINDA LOPEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's Ex Parte “Request
for Early Neutral Evaluation.” [ECF No. 42] and
Defendant's Response [ECF No. 44]. Plaintiff requests
that the Court schedule a pre-Answer Early Neutral Evaluation
(“ENE”) in this case. ECF No. 42 at 2.
Additionally, Plaintiff requests that the Parties' CEOs
be compelled to attend the ENE. Id.
their Response, Defendants assert that: (1) “the
circumstances of this case do not justify deviating from an
ENE scheduled in the ordinary course” and; (2)
Plaintiff's request that Defendants' CEO participate
“is untethered from the Local Rules and this
Court's Civil Chamber Rules.” ECF No. 44 at 2.
case arises from a trademark infringement dispute. On July
15, 2019, the Court: (1) granted Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint; and (2)
denied Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
See ECF No. 39. Additionally, the Court set the
deadline for Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint and
a renewed motion for a preliminary injunction to July 19,
2019 . Id. at 15.
19, 2019, the day of the Court's deadline, Plaintiff
filed: (1) a Second Amended Complaint [ECF No. 43]; (2) a
motion requesting that the Court modify the deadline for
filing its renewed motion until after an ENE in this case has
been held [ECF No. 40]; and (3) a request for a pre-Answer
ENE [ECF No. 42].
22, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's request to
continue the deadline for filing Plaintiff's renewed
motion for a preliminary injunction. See ECF No. 45.
Rule 16.1.c.1 provides that “[w]ithin forty-five (45)
days of the filing of an answer, counsel and the parties must
appear before the assigned judicial officer supervising
discovery for an early neutral evaluation
conference[.]” Local Rule 16.1.c.1 also provides that
“[a]t any time after filing of a complaint and before
an answer has been filed” counsel for any party may
make a request for an ENE.
case, Plaintiff provides no explanation for why a pre-Answer
ENE in this case would be productive beyond a single,
conclusory sentence that Plaintiff “has reason”
to believe such an ENE “would assist in the reduction
of expense and delay in this action.” Id. at
2. Specifically, Plaintiff does not state why an ENE would be
productive before Defendants have had the opportunity to
respond to Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. The
Court is further mindful Defendants have opposed
similarly fails to justify its request to compel the
attendance of the Parties' CEOs at the ENE. As Defendants
correctly note, the Local Rules of this Court and the
undersigned Magistrate Judge's Civil Chamber Rules
require the in-person participation of a party representative
with the requisite authority to negotiate and enter into
settlement at the ENE. See Local Rule 16.1.c.1.;
Magistrate Judge Linda Lopez Civil Chamber Rules Section
II.B. The Local Rules and the Civil Chamber Rules do not
strictly require the participation of the Parties'
reasons stated above, the Court finds it inappropriate to
convene a pre-Answer ENE at this time. Plaintiffs request to
set an early in-person ENE with the CEOs of all Parties in
attendance is DENIED.
alternatively requests an attorneys-only telephonic status
conference be set “to discuss matters that Defense
counsel has requested Plaintiffs counsel keep
confidential” ECF No. 42 at 2. As written, the Court is
unable to determine whether such a status conference would be