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Woldemariam v. Seattle School District

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

January 15, 2020

TIMTU WOLDEMARIAM, Parent and Guardian on behalf of EZANA KIDANE, a Disabled Student, Plaintiffs,
v.
SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT, a Washington Municipal Corporation, Defendants.

          STIPULATED MOTION AND ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL DATE AND MODIFY CASE SCHEDULE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The parties hereby agree and request that this Court issue an order continuing the discovery cutoff date from February 3, 2020, to April 27, 2020, continue the trial from June 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020, and to issue a new case schedule continuing all other deadlines. A continuance will allow the parties to continue with efforts to resolve the case while limiting further fees and costs associated with completing discovery on claims which include fee-shifting provisions. Good cause warrants the continuance of these deadlines because a continuance will improve the prospect of resolution.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The discovery cutoff date in this case is currently set for February 3, 2020 and the trial date is June 1, 2019. The parties have been working diligently and cooperatively to complete all necessary discovery prior to that date. Currently, the parties are scheduling seven upcoming depositions (two lay witnesses and two expert witness depositions requested by plaintiff; one lay witness and two expert witness depositions requested by defendant) over the next several weeks to be completed prior to the discovery cutoff.

         This claim was mediated unsuccessfully prior to suit being filed. Following the recent deposition of Plaintiff's Guardian, Timtu Woldemariam, on January 9, 2020, the parties discussed settlement discussion status and agreed the upcoming seven depositions would result in additional fees and costs incurred to both parties, but which could be shifted solely onto defendant if plaintiff prevails because this case involves state and federal statutory claims with fee-shifting provisions.

         Should the Court grant the requested continuance, the parties intend to postpone these depositions while continuing efforts to resolve the case. The parties are in agreement that the requested continuance would limit fees and costs incurred by both parties, allow additional time for productive settlement negotiations, and thereby improve the prospect of resolution of this case. Defense counsel currently have other trials set for August 17, 2020, and September 13, 2020, in King County Superior Court. Plaintiff's counsel has a trial scheduled for August 3, 2020 in King County Superior Court.

         III. ARGUMENT AND AUTHORITY

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4), LCR 16(b)(4), and the Court's Order Setting Trial Date and Related Dates (Dkt. 13), a scheduling order may only be modified for good cause and with the Judge's consent.

         The discovery cutoff date currently set adversely impacts the prospects of settlement because this is a case involving statutory claims with fee shifting provisions. Allowing the discovery cutoff date to be continued will allow the seven upcoming depositions to be postponed, thereby limiting fees and costs incurred by both parties, but which could potentially be shifted solely to defendant if plaintiff prevails. Limiting further fees and costs by allowing time to postpone these depositions significantly improves the potential that this case will settle.

         The parties agree that the requested continuance of the discovery cutoff date, the trial date, and all other related deadlines, would improve the prospect of resolution of this case and constitutes good cause to modify the case schedule.

         IV. CONCLUSION

         For the reasons stated herein, the parties respectfully request that the Court continue the discovery cutoff date, trial date, and ...


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