United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to
continue trial (Dkt. No. 180). Having thoroughly considered
the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS IN PART the
motion for the reasons explained herein.
Court has stated the factual background of this case in prior
orders and they will not be repeated here. Of relevance,
however are (1) the complaint was filed on September 13,
2014, (2) there are 20 Plaintiffs, and 19 of them have been
deposed, (3) the current discovery deadline is June 23, 2017,
(4) the current dispositive motion deadline is July 24, 2017,
and (5) trial is set for October 23, 2017.
schedules may be modified for “good cause.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4); Local Civ. R. 16(b)(4). “Mere
failure to complete discovery within the time allowed does
not constitute good cause.” Local Civ. R. 16(b)(4).
Whether to grant or deny a continuance of trial is at the
discretion of the Court. Rios-Barrios v. I.N.S., 776
F.2d 859, 862-63 (9th Cir. 1985). When considering the
propriety of a continuance, a court should consider four
factors: (1) the diligence in preparing for trial of the
party seeking a continuance; (2) the need for a continuance;
(3) the inconvenience to the opposing party, the witnesses,
and the Court; and (4) the hardship a denial of a continuance
would cause the defendant. United States v. 2.61 Acres of
Land, 791 F.2d 666, 670-71 (9th Cir. 1986).
Diligence in preparing for trial
original 40 class members were identified in July 2015. (Dkt.
No. 60-1 at 2.) Between then and July 2016, 19 of the 20
current Plaintiffs were joined and all remaining claims were
filed. (Dkt. Nos. 29, 35, 77, 78, and 124.) Plaintiff
Hamilton was the last to join in September 2016. (Dkt. No.
142.) Defendants moved to stay depositions until the last day
to join parties; the Court denied that motion. (Dkt. Nos. 108
and 134.) Defendants did not issue written discovery to the
new Plaintiffs until October 25, 2016. (Dkt. No. 187 at 2.)
Depositions did not begin until the middle of December 2016.
(Id.) Plaintiffs' assertion of privilege as to
healthcare records dates back to February 6, 2015. (Dkt. No.
187-1.) Defendants only recently sought medical records.
(See Dkt. No. 166 at 1.) Finally, Defendants
recently issued subpoenas that were clearly overbroad, which
required a motion to quash, and delayed progression of the
litigation. (Dkt. Nos. 164 and 196.) The first factor does
not weigh in favor of granting a continuance.
The need for a continuance
claim they have significant amounts of discovery to complete
and that multiple motions to compel may be needed. (Dkt. No.
180 at 4-8.) While this may be true, 19 of the 20 Plaintiffs
have already been deposed. Defendants have also indicated
that they plan to file multiple summary judgment
motions. (Id. at 2.) Finally, Defendants
maintain they need more time to explore settlement with each
individual Plaintiff. (Id.) Trial is currently set
for over three years from the date of the initial complaint.
The second factor weighs in favor of a continuance only to
the extent that it will facilitate the completion of
discovery and settlement discussions.
Inconvenience to opposing parties, witnesses, and the
first Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
complaint was filed over six years ago. (Dkt. No. 186 at 1.)
Plaintiffs brought suit in 2014. (Dkt. No. 1.) This case has
carried on long enough and both Plaintiffs and Defendants