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Wild Fish Conservancy v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

June 20, 2017

WILD FISH CONSERVANCY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, et al., Defendants, and COOKE AQUACULTURE PACIFIC, LLC, Intervenor-Defendant.

          NOTE ON MOTION CALENDAR: June 14, 2017

          JEFFREY H. WOOD Acting Assistant Attorney General United States Department of Justice Environment & Natural Resources Division Trent S.W. Crable, Wildlife & Marine Resources Section, Attorneys for Federal Defendants.

          Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, Brian A. Knutsen, Attorneys for Plaintiff Wild Fish Conservancy.

          MILLER NASH GRAHAM & DUNN LLP, Douglas J. Steding, laine L. Spencer, Attorneys for Intervenor-Defendant.

          STIPULATED MOTION TO EXTEND CERTAIN PRE-TRIAL DATES, ESTABLISH SUMMARY JUDGMENT BRIEFING SCHEDULE, AND STAY TRIAL DATE AND [PROPOSED] ORDER

          HONORABLE BARBARA J. ROTHSTEIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. MOTION.

         Plaintiff Wild Fish Conservancy (the "Conservancy"), Federal Defendants the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and its Administrator and the National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") and its Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (collectively, "Federal Defendants"), and Intervenor-Defendant Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, LLC ("Cooke"), hereby respectfully move the Court under Rule 6(b) for an order extending certain pre-trial deadlines by approximately 45 days and establishing a briefing schedule for cross-motions for summary judgment. The Conservancy, Federal Defendants, and Cooke (collectively, the "Parties") further move the Court under LCR 7(f) for an order allowing over-length briefs on the cross-motions for summary judgment. Finally, the Parties move the Court for an order staying the trial commencement date and certain pre-trial dates pending the Court's ruling on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. In accordance with the Court's Standing Order for Civil Cases, the Parties have conferred on this motion and jointly request the relief sought herein. See ECF No. 43 at 2.

         II. BACKGROUND AND ARGUMENT.

         The Parties request an extension of certain deadlines because, despite diligent efforts, discovery is continuing to require more time than initially anticipated. The Parties therefore respectfully submit that good cause exists to extend certain pretrial dates by approximately 45 days. Further, the Parties anticipate that significant issues with respect to liability, and potentially all liability issues, will be resolved on cross-motions for summary judgment. The Parties therefore seek an order setting a briefing schedule and extending the page limit for cross-motions for summary judgment on liability issues. Finally, the Parties request that the Court stay the trial commencement date and certain pre-trial deadlines pending the Court's ruling on the cross-motions for summary judgment.

         The Conservancy filed its complaint on November 4, 2015, and an amended complaint on February 9, 2016. ECF Nos. 1, 18. The Federal Defendants filed their answer to the amended complaint on February 23, 2016. ECF No. 23. The Court granted an unopposed motion to intervene filed by Cookes's predecessor-the owner and operator of commercial finfish aquaculture facilities in Puget Sound-on February 29, 2016. ECF No. 27. The Court entered an order recognizing Cooke's name change on August 31, 2016. ECF No. 41.

         The Court entered a scheduling order on July 20, 2016. ECF No. 38. That order required that, inter alia, expert reports be disclosed by February 21, 2017, discovery be completed by April 21, 2017, and dispositive motions be filed by May 22, 2017. Id. at p. LA bench trial was scheduled for September 18, 2017.

         On February 1, 2017, the parties submitted a joint motion to extend those dates. ECF No, 44. The Court granted that motion on February 8, 2017, ordering: expert witness reports due by June 20, 2017; all discovery motions due by July 20, 2017; the completion of discovery by August 21, 2017; dispositive motions due by September 19, 2017; motions in limine due by November 27, 2017; joint pretrial statement due by December 19, 2017; the pretrial conference set for January 2, 2018; and the bench trial set for January 16, 2018. ECF No. 45.

         The Conservancy's amended complaint alleges four claims related to the requirement that EPA and NMFS consult under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") on the effects to ESA-listed species from EPA's approval of certain water quality standards under the Clean Water Act ("CWA"). ECF No. 18, pp. 19-21. The water quality standards at issue pertain to finfish aquaculture facilities in Puget Sound. Id. at pp. 15-16. The factual and legal issues involved in the claims and defenses are somewhat complex and discovery efforts have taken longer than the Parties anticipated.

         The Parties recognize the Court's instruction that motions for extensions of time are discouraged. See ECF No. 43 at 2. The Parties are making every effort to diligently complete discovery in a cooperative manner, but respectfully request an extension of approximately 45- days for certain discovery-related deadlines-the deadline for Rule ...


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