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Laney v. State

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

April 12, 2017

LEIGH LANEY
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, THROUGH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS DIVISION OF PROBATION AND PAROLE

          ORDER

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the parties' Joint Motion for Extension of Deadlines (R. Doc. 22) filed on April 4, 2017.

         Also before the Court is the State of Louisiana, through Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole, and Secretary James Leblanc's (“Defendants”) Motion to Compel (R. Doc. 23) filed on April 10, 2017. The deadline for filing an opposition to the motion has not expired.

         For the following reasons, the motions are DENIED.

         I. Background

         On December 18, 2015, Leigh Laney (“Plaintiff”) initiated this employment discrimination action, naming as defendant the State of Louisiana, through Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole. (R. Doc. 1). Plaintiff later filed a First Amended and Supplemental Complaint naming Secretary James LeBlanc as a defendant. (R. Doc. 10).

         On March 31, 2016, the Court entered a Scheduling Order (R. Doc. 9) based upon deadlines requested by the parties in their Joint Status Report (R. Doc. 8). The Scheduling Order set, among other things, the deadline to provide Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures by April 14, 2016; the deadline to complete all non-expert discovery by October 31, 2016; the deadline to complete expert discovery by March 3, 2017; and the deadline to file dispositive motions and Daubert motions by May 4, 2017. (R. Doc. 9 at 1-2). Trial is set to commence on November 13, 2017. (R. Doc. 9 at 2).

         On May 9, 2016, Defendants served written discovery requests on Plaintiff. (R. Doc. 23-2).

         On October 12, 2016, over five months after Defendants propounded written discovery, the parties held a conference and Plaintiff's counsel agreed to provide responses to the outstanding discovery requests within two weeks (i.e., prior to the October 31, 2016 discovery deadline). (R. Doc. 23-1 at 1).[1] Defendants assert that this conference satisfies the requirements of Rule 37(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (R. Doc. 23-1 at 3). Defendants did not file a motion to compel prior to the October 31, 2016 deadline to file discovery motions.

         Instead, on October 31, 2016, the parties filed a joint motion to extend the discovery deadline to May 4, 2017, and the deadline to file dispositive motions and Daubert motions to June 2, 2017. (R. Doc. 20). In support of their motion, the parties made no mention of Plaintiff's failure to provide initial disclosures and/or respond to discovery requests. The parties represented that the extensions were requested in light of “flooding”[2] and the “upcoming medical leave expected by counsel for Defendants.” (R. Doc. 20 at 2). Based on record, and the representations of the parties, the Court found good cause to extend the deadline to complete all discovery and to file all discovery motions to April 4, 2017, and to extend the deadline to file dispositive motions and Daubert motions to May 12, 2017. (R. Doc. 21).

         Defendants then waited until January 18, 2017 to again seek the outstanding discovery responses and initial disclosures from Plaintiff. (R. Doc. 23-1 at 2). There is no indication in the motion that Defendants made any further attempts to obtain discovery responses and/or initial disclosures from Plaintiff after January 18, 2017. Defendants represent that defense counsel was on maternity leave from January 19, 2017 to April 3, 2017. (R. Doc. 22 at 2).

         On April 4, 2017, the parties moved for an extension of the discovery deadline to May 4, 2017, and an extension of the dispositive motion and Daubert motion deadline to June 6, 2017. (R. Doc. 22). In support of the requested extensions, the parties state that they “still have a couple of discovery issues that they are working through and need more time to resolve before moving onto the next steps of litigation.” (R. Doc. 22 at 2). The parties further state that they need to schedule “a small number of depositions, ” but do not identify whether any depositions have been taken or why depositions have not been taken since the discovery commenced. (R. Doc. 22 at 2).

         On April 10, 2017, approximately a year after they were ordered to be provided, and after the Court's deadline to file any discovery related motions, Defendants moved to compel Plaintiff to provide initial disclosures. Defendants also untimely moved to compel responses to the outstanding ...


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