United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. RAJU A.T. DAHLSTROM, et al., Plaintiffs,
SAUK-SUIATTLE INDIAN TRIBE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO RENOTE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
L. Robart, United States District Judge.
the court is Plaintiff Relator Raju A.T. Dahlstrom's
motion to renote Defendants Ronda Kay Metcalf, Christine
Marie Morlock, and Robert Larry Morlock's (collectively,
“Individual Defendants”) motion for summary
judgment from June 28, 2019, to July 26, 2019. (Mot. (Dkt. #
68).) Mr. Dahlstrom seeks to renote Individual
Defendants' motion because (1) the deposition of Dr.
Christine Morlock will not occur until June 14, 2019, and (2)
there is a delay in obtaining the transcripts of Ms.
Metcalf's and Mr. Morlock's depositions from Thomas
Court Reporting Services. (Id. at 2.) The court has
considered Mr. Dahlstrom's motion, the relevant portions
of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised,
the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Mr.
Dahlstrom's motion as described below.
by agreeing to conduct Dr. Morlock's deposition on June
14, 2019, the parties improperly agreed to modify the case
schedule without the court's permission. The discovery
cutoff in this matter was June 10, 2019. (Sched. Order (Dkt.
# 63) at 1 (indicating that the parties must complete
discovery by June 10, 2019).) The court's order states
that case schedule deadlines are “firm” and
“can be changed only by order of the court, not by
agreement of counsel or parties.” (Id. at 2.)
The court sets case schedules and expects the parties to
adhere to those schedules specifically to avoid motions like
the one presently before the court. Although the court will
allow the deposition of Dr. Morlock to go forward on June 14,
2019, the court does not consider the parties' violation
of its case scheduling order to be good cause for extending
the noting date of Individual Defendants' summary
judgment motion. (See Id. (“[F]ailure to
complete discovery within the time allowed is not recognized
as good cause.”).) The court further cautions all
counsel that any further violations of the court's orders
in this matter may result in the imposition of sanctions.
neither Mr. Dahlstrom, nor his counsel, submits a declaration
substantiating his difficulty obtaining deposition
transcripts from Thomas Court Reporting Services. (See
generally Dkt.) Although Mr. Dahlstrom states that
Thomas Court Reporting Services is suffering a
“backup” (Mot. at 2), he does not discuss the
possibility of requesting expedited service for an additional
fee (see generally id.). Although Ms. Metcalf's
and Mr. Morlock's May 21, 2019, depositions were taken
within the discovery period, they were taken close to the end
of that period and after the May 10, 2019, deadline for
discovery motions. (See Mot. at 2; see also
Sched. Order at 1 (stating that the deadline for all motions
related to discovery is May 10, 2019).) One risk of waiting
to conduct important discovery until the end of the discovery
period is the possible delay in obtaining deposition
transcripts. This is a known risk for any litigator,
particularly one of Mr. Dahlstrom's counsel's
experience. Accordingly, the court does not consider the
circumstances surrounding Ms. Metcalf's and Mr.
Morlock's depositions or the transcription of those
depositions to be good cause for extending the noting date of
Individual Defendants' summary judgment motion.
extending the date as Mr. Dahlstrom suggests would provide
him with an unfair advantage. Such an extension would allow
him twice the amount of time ordinarily provided under the
court's Local Rules for responding to a dispositive
motion. See Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(d)(3)
(stating that all dispositive motions “shall be noted
for consideration on a date no earlier than the fourth Friday
after filing and service of the motion” and
“[a]ny oppositions papers shall be filed and served not
later than the Monday before the noting date”).
Further, the court could not provide a commensurate extension
to Individual Defendants for their reply memorandum because
such an extension would-in all practicality-violate the
cutoff date for dispositive motions. (See Sched.
Order at 1 (stating that the deadline for dispositive motions
is July 9, 2019, which under Local Rule W.D. Wash. LCR
7(d)(3) would ordinarily result in a noting date no later
than August 2, 2019).) Thus, whereas under Mr.
Dahlstrom's proposed noting date of July 26, 2019, he
would obtain an additional four weeks to file his responsive
memorandum, the court could provide Individual Defendants
with, at most, a one-week extension for their reply
memorandum-from July 26, 2019, to August 2, 2019. The
imbalance in these equities counsels against granting Mr.
the court is not without some flexibility. The court will
grant Mr. Dahlstrom 14 additional days in which to file his
responsive memorandum. Mr. Dahlstrom's response is now
due on Monday, July 8, 2019. This extension should be
sufficient to address any issues encountered with delays in
deposition transcription. In addition, to balance the
equities, the court will adjust the deadline for Individual
Defendants' reply memorandum. Individual Defendants'
reply memorandum is now due on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. This
extension will not adversely impact the remainder of the
trial calendar or conflict with the dispositive motions
on the foregoing analysis, the court GRANTS in part and
DENIES in part Mr. Dahlstrom's motion to extend the
noting date of Individual Defendants' summary judgment
motion (Dkt. # 68). Mr. Dahlstrom's responsive memorandum
is now due on Monday, July 8, 2019, and Individual
Defendants' reply memorandum is now due on Wednesday,
July 17, 2019. Finally, the court DIRECTS the Clerk to ...