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Roosma v. Pierce County

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

November 16, 2017

JUSTIN ROOSMA and ELIZABETH ROOSMA, Plaintiff,
v.
PIERCE COUNTY; CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC; PAUL PASTOR, PATTI JACKSON-KIDDER, and DOES 1-500, Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF DISCOVERY CUTOFF

          ROBERT J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS 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.

         Plaintiffs seek an extension of the discovery and expert witness deadlines by 90 days.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural background.

         Plaintiffs 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. 26(a)

9/6/2017

Discovery motions

10/16/2017

Discovery completed

11/6/2017

Dispositive motions

12/5/2017

Jury trial

3/5/2018

Dkt. 39.

         On June 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, 2017. Id.

         Mr. 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.

         On September 6, 2017, the expert witness deadline, Defendant CCS disclosed two expert witnesses. Dkt. 64. Plaintiffs have not yet disclosed any expert witnesses.

         Plaintiffs 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 primarily ...


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