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Green Aire for Air Conditioning W.L.L. v. Salem

United States District Court, E.D. California

January 6, 2020

GREEN AIRE FOR AIR CONDITIONING W.L.L., Plaintiff,
v.
MOHAMED FAROUK SALEM, Defendant.

          ORDER RE DEFENDANT'S DISCOVERY MOTIONS (DOCS. 12, 13, 14)

          SHEILA K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On December 11, 2019, twelve days after the non-expert discovery deadline passed, Defendant filed motions seeking to compel Plaintiff's responses to: (1) Special Interrogatories, (2) Requests for Production, and (3) Requests for Admission. (Docs. 12, 13, 14.) Plaintiff has not filed any opposition.

         Having reviewed the motions and supporting documents, and in view of Plaintiff's failure to oppose, the motions are deemed suitable for decision without oral argument, and the Court hereby vacates the hearing set for January 8, 2020. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied without prejudice.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Relevant Background

         On June 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed this trademark infringement case against Defendant. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff and Defendant are former business partners and Plaintiff alleges Defendant wrongfully used information owned by Plaintiff to operate a new business after the partnership ended. (See Id. ¶ 1, 9, 13.) The complaint alleges claims for cybersquatting under the Lanham Act, misappropriation of trade secrets, and conversion. (See generally id.)

         On October 23, 2018, the Court entered a scheduling order, setting the non-expert discovery deadline for November 29, 2019, the expert disclosures deadline for December 6, 2019, the rebuttal expert disclosures deadline for December 16, 2019, the expert discovery deadline for January 10, 2020, a settlement conference for January 23, 2020 before Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean, the dispositive motions filing deadline for January 31, 2020, and a trial date of July 7, 2020. (Doc. 10.)

         On September 23, 2019, approximately eleven months after discovery commenced, Defendant served his first set of Special Interrogatories, first set of Requests for Production, and first set of Requests for Admission. (See Doc. 12 at 5; Doc. 13 at 5; Doc. 14 at 5.) On October 31, 2019, Plaintiff's counsel emailed Defendant's counsel requesting a three-week extension to respond to the discovery requests. (Doc. 12 at 5-6.) Defendant's counsel was “unaware” of Plaintiff's counsel's email. (See Id. at 6.) Defendant's counsel sent Plaintiff's counsel a letter on November 12, 2019, demanding responses by no later than November 15, 2019. (Id.)

         On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff's counsel requested another extension to respond by no later than November 21, 2019. (Id.) On November 18, 2019, Defendant's counsel agreed to the November 21, 2019 extension, and advised Plaintiff's counsel that if no responses were served by November 21, 2019, Defendant would file a motion to compel. (Id.) On December 4, 2019, Defendant's counsel sent a letter to Plaintiff's counsel via email, fax, and regular mail, “in an attempt to meet and confer regarding discovery and stated her intent to seek resolution through an informal discovery process with Judge Oberto.” (Id.) Defendant's counsel also “left messages with [Plaintiff's counsel's] office.” (Id.) Plaintiff's counsel did not respond to any of Defendant's counsel's attempts to meet and confer. (Id.) Defendant then filed these motions to compel on December 11, 2019. (Docs. 12, 13, 14.)

         B. The Motions to Compel Are Denied Without Prejudice.

         1. Defendant's Motions to Compel are Untimely.

         District courts have broad authority in managing discovery. See, e.g., Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 751 (9th Cir. 2002). “Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure place no time limit on the outside date for the filing of a motion to compel discovery, motions to compel filed after the close of discovery generally are deemed untimely.” Thomason v. City of Fowler, No. 1:13-CV-00336-AWI-BAM, 2014 WL 4436385, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2014) (citing cases). However, ...


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