United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM
DEADLINES AND FOR STATUS CONFERENCE
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion for Relief
From Deadlines and For Status Conference. Dkt. 73. The Court
has considered Defendant's Response, Plaintiffs Reply,
and the remainder of the file herein. Dkt. 75; Dkt. 76.
seeks relief from deadlines for class certification, joinder,
and Defendant's Motion to Deny Class Certification. Dkt.
73 at 1. Plaintiff also requests a status conference to
establish new dates. Id.
Amended Scheduling Order set out deadlines of March 25, 2018
and March 30, 2018 for class certification and joinder
motions, respectively. Dkt. 36. Plaintiff timely filed his
motion for class certification on March 23, 2015. Dkt. 44.
The Court re-noted the motion to May 7, 2018 for
consideration after reaching the merits of a motion to
dismiss filed by Defendant. Dkt. 60. Defendant's motion
to dismiss was denied on April 26, 2018. Dkt. 67. Defendant
deposed Plaintiff Chao Chen, the proposed class
representative, on April 25, 2018. At the deposition, Mr.
Chen invoked his right to remain silent in response to
questions about criminal conduct, inquired into under the
theory that GEO could not "employ" Mr. Chen due to
his unsuitable background.
counsel represents that he notified opposing counsel on April
27, 2018 that, following his deposition, Mr. Chen decided it
would not be in his best interest to continue as the proposed
class representative. Dkt. 73 at 2. Defendant filed a Motion
to Deny Class Certification on April 30, 2018, a decision
that Defendant's counsel represents she made based on
assurances by Plaintiffs counsel about the timing of his
withdrawal of the motion for class certification. Dkt. 69 at
6. On May 1, 2018, Plaintiff withdrew the motion for class
certification and filed this motion for relief. Dkt. 72; Dkt.
73. Plaintiffs Response to the motion for class certification
was due by May 2, 2018. Dkt. 67 at 3.
courts are accorded broad discretion in managing the flow of
litigation. Little v. City of Seattle, 863 F.2d 681,
685 (9th Cir. 1988). Once a court has issued a scheduling
order, it "may be modified only for good cause and with
the judge's consent." Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). Whether
a party has shown "good cause" primarily focuses on
the diligence of the party seeking the amendment to the
scheduling order. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations,
Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992). Scheduling
orders should be modified when scheduling deadlines cannot be
met despite a party's diligence or because of the
development of matters not reasonably foreseen or anticipated
at the time of the scheduling order. Id.
here, Plaintiff has made a sufficient showing of diligence,
and there is minimal prejudice to Defendant for deadlines to
be extended as set out below. Plaintiff formally filed the
motion for relief from deadlines on May 1, 2018, less than
one week after Mr. Chen withdrew as the proposed class
criticizes the competency of Plaintiff s counsel, arguing
that Plaintiff knew or should have known of Mr. Chen's
liabilities undermining his ability to be a class
representative. Dkt. 75 at 5. Defendant's argument
speculates, with no basis in the record. The broader
procedural history of the case supports Plaintiffs
counsel's diligence, and the Court lacks a record to the
only prejudice Defendant points to is the delay of discovery
and need for more depositions. Dkt. 75 at 12. Under the new
deadlines, the delay will amount to approximately two months,
which, viewed in the broader context of a typical class
action case and in light of the time remaining for discovery,
until November 5, 2018, is minimal prejudice. Dkt. 35. The
Court is cognizant of the increase in costs to Defendant. To
minimize costs, only a brief extension of deadlines should be
granted. Plaintiffs counsel represents that he has already
begun conversations with other prospective class
representatives, so only minimal extensions are necessary to
maintain the flow of litigation.
Plaintiffs Motion for Relief from Deadlines (Dkt. 73) is
GRANTED IN PART. Deadlines are HEREBY RESET as follows:
• Motion for Joinder and/or Motion to Amend: Thurs. May
• Motion for Class certification: Thurs. June 21, 2018
• Defendant's Motion to Deny Class Certification:
Renoted to Fri. July 13, 2018
deposition of any proposed class representative should occur
prior to the filing of a motion for ...