United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Extension of Discovery Cutoff. Dkt. 70. The Court has
considered the parties' submissions and the remainder of
the file herein. Plaintiffs did not file a Reply.
seek an extension of the discovery and expert witness
deadlines by 90 days.
filed the Complaint on June 17, 2016. Dkt. 1. The Court
issued an initial Case Schedule, which set trial for
September 5, 2017. Dkt. 24. The parties stipulated to a six
month trial continuance, and the Court issued a second Case
Schedule. Dkts. 35, 38, 39. The stipulation stated that
Plaintiffs' counsel, Lawrence Hildes, “suffered
congestive heart failure and currently unable to proceed in
prosecution of this case.” Dkt. 35 at 2. The second
(and current) Case Schedule, issued on March 6, 2017, sets
out the following deadlines, inter alia:
Expert witness disclosure/reports under Fed.R.Civ.P.
8, 2017, Defendant CCS filed a Motion to Compel Discovery
Responses. Dkt. 45. On June 19, 2017, Mr. Hildes responded to
the motion by seeking a 21 day extension on the basis that
his health issues had prevented a timely response. Dkt. 48.
The Court gave Mr. Hildes an additional two weeks to respond,
but noted that “if counsel anticipates ongoing, several
medical issues . . . counsel may be obligated under RPC
1.16(a) to consider alternative arrangements for his clients.
Dkt. 62 at 3. See Dkt. 57 at ¶16 (“[my]
recovery . . . requires many medications, not over-working,
taking frequent breaks[.]”). The Court characterized
Plaintiffs' initial discovery responses as
“meager” and granted Defendant CCS' motion to
compel in part. Dkt. 62 at 9, 10. The Court declined to
sanction Mr. Hildes, but acknowledged that other courts have
previously addressed Mr. Hildes' non-compliance with
deadlines. Id. at 3, citing to Moba v. Total
Transportation Services, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-0318, 2014 WL
3050461 (W.D.Wash. 2014). The Order was issued on July 14,
Hildes filed a Notice of Unavailability on July 3, 2017,
stating his intent to take a “brief vacation” on
July 4-11, 2017, “to recover from exhaustion as part of
. . . ongoing recovery from congestive heart failure.”
Dkt. 56 at 1. Mr. Hildes also noted unavailability from July
23, 2017 to August 29, 2017 as follows:
[C]ounsel . . . will be traveling first to North Dakota for a
hearing, on to Washington D.C. for a conference, to New York
to see elderly relatives, onto Acadia National Park for five
days of recovery, on to Independence, MO to see the eclipse,
and finally to Minnesota to visit his wife's mother, who
is about 90 . . . before returning home [sic].
Id. at 1, 2.
September 6, 2017, the expert witness deadline, Defendant CCS
disclosed two expert witnesses. Dkt. 64. Plaintiffs have not
yet disclosed any expert witnesses.
filed the present motion on October 31, 2017. Dkt. 70.
Plaintiffs are represented by two attorneys, Mr. Hildes and
Gregory Smith, who are both solo practitioners. Mr. Smith