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Total Rebuild, Inc. v. PHC Fluid Power, L.L.C

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana

October 17, 2018

TOTAL REBUILD, INC.
v.
PHC FLUID POWER, L.L.C. Plaintiff Defendant

          RULING AND ORDER

          JUDGE BRIAN A. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Plaintiff Total Rebuild, Inc. and Defendant PHC Fluid Power, L.L.C. failed to submit a joint proposed scheduling order-as the Court ordered-and instead filed motions that threaten the January 22, 2019 trial setting of this three-year-old patent infringement case.[1] (Docs. 151, 152, 153).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 22, 2018, the Court held a status conference to settle on dates for a Markman hearing and for trial.[2] (Doc. 149). Counsel for both parties attended the conference and discussed the status of the case. (Id.). The Court set a Markman hearing for November 28, 2018 and a jury trial for January 22, 2019 through January 25, 2019. (Id.). No party objected. (Id.). The Court also directed the parties to file a joint proposed scheduling order. (Id.). The parties did not do so.

         Instead, the parties filed separate proposed scheduling orders. (Docs. 150, 151-1). The orders agreed on a January 22, 2019 trial date. (Docs. 150, p. 1; 151-1, p. 1). The orders differed, however, on the following proposed deadlines:

Plaintiff
Defendant

Phase I Discovery

November 21, 2018

November 7, 2018

Plaintiffs Expert Reports

November 30, 2018

October 15, 2018

Defendant's Expert Reports

December 14, 2018

November 6, 2018

Expert Depositions

January 11, 2019

November 14, 2018[3]

Daubert Motions

November 8, 2018

November 20, 2018

Motions in Limine

January 18, 2019

January 8, 2019

         On September 4, 2018, Defendant moved the Court to adopt its proposed schedule. (Doc. 150). Plaintiff then moved the Court to continue the January 22, 2019 trial setting to which it had agreed just two weeks prior. (Doc. 151).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Continue

         Plaintiff moves the Court to continue the trial because (1) one of its counsel is quitting the practice of law, and its remaining counsel are not "apprised with the case"; and (2) Defendant has denied Plaintiff access to the devices that Plaintiff contends infringe on its patent. (Doc. 152, p. 1).

         Plaintiffs first argument lacks merit. Plaintiff is represented by two additional attorneys who have been on the pleadings for over three years.[4] (Doc. 1). Counsel's failure to become "apprised with the case" after litigating it for three years is not good cause for a continuance under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b). See Squyres v. Heico Co., 782 F.3d 224, 237 (5th Cir. 2015) (good cause requires the movant to show that it cannot meet the deadline despite diligence).

         Plaintiffs second argument fails to persuade. Plaintiff suggests that it needs a continuance because of Defendant's "obstruction of discovery and bad faith attempt to rush this case to an unfair conclusion."[5] (Doc. 152-2, p. 4). Plaintiff offers no evidence of bad faith or obstruction. (Id.). Defendant, by contrast, offers sworn testimony refuting Plaintiffs assertions. (Doc. 154-1). For example, Defendant's counsel attests under penalty of perjury that Plaintiffs counsel was granted about 20 hours to inspect Defendant's design documents. (Doc. 154-1).

         Even if the Court assumes Plaintiffs assertions of obstruction to be true, a continuance is unwarranted. If Defendant violated its discovery obligations, as Plaintiff now argues, Plaintiff could have filed motions to compel months ago.[6] And if a January 22, 2019 trial date is unworkable, as Plaintiff now argues, then Plaintiff could have raised the issue with the Court at the August 22, 2018 status conference. Plaintiff did neither. If Plaintiff is prejudiced by the January 22, 2019 trial setting, it is because Plaintiff failed to exercise due diligence. Squyres, 782 F.3d at 238.

         Plaintiff has not shown good cause for continuing the January 22, 2019 trial of this case. (Doc. 152). The Court therefore DENIES Plaintiffs Motion to Continue, (Doc. 152), and turns to Defendant's ...


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