United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
Prudhomme et al.
Geico Insurance Co. et al.
A Doughty, Judge
B. WHITEHURST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion For Reconsideration Of Order On Motion
To Reset Deadlines [Rec. Doc. 114] fled by Defendants,
Government Employees Insurance Company and GEICO General
Insurance Company (collectively âGEICOâ), Plaintiffs'
Memorandum in Opposition [Rec. Doc. 130], and Defendants
Reply thereto [Rec. Doc. 136]. In its Motion, GEICO moves
that Court to reconsider its orders granting Plaintiffs'
Motion to Reset Deadlines and entering Plaintiffs'
Proposed Rule 16 Class Certification Scheduling Order, R.
motion seeking “reconsideration” such as the
instant motion may be construed under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e). Shepherd v. Int'l Paper Co.,
372 F.3d 326, 328 n.1 (5th Cir. 2004). Rule 59(e) serves the
narrow purpose of allowing a party to correct manifest errors
of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence.” Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d
473, 478 (5th Cir. 2004). The Rule 59(e) standard
“favors denial of motions to alter or amend a
judgment.” In re Katrina Canal Breaches Consol.
Litig., 2009 WL 2447846, at *2 (E.D.La. Aug. 6, 2009);
accord McGillivray v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.,
360 Fed.Appx. 533, 537 (5th Cir.2010).
Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) governs the scheduling and case
management. The rule provides governs the completion of
discovery once once a scheduling order has been issued by the
district court. Rule 16(b) provides that a scheduling order
“shall not be modified except upon a showing of good
cause and by leave of the district judge.” The good
cause standard requires the “party seeking relief to
show that the deadlines cannot reasonably be met despite the
diligence of the party needing the extension.” 6A
Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and
Procedure § 1522.1 (2d ed. 1990). As a general
matter, where the deadline for seeking leave to amend
pleadings has expired - as it had here before the undersigned
issued its Order - the Court must first determine whether to
modify the scheduling order under the Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 16(b)(4) good cause standard. See S & W
Enters., L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., N.A., 315
F.3d 533, 536 (5th Cir.2003).
in granting the motion at issue, the Court considered
Plaintiffs' arguments in its previously filed Motion To
Compel, consisting of complaints of inadequate responses by
Geico's witnesses, including the 30(b)(6) witness, as
well as complaints of objections to written discovery and
refusals to produce documents in production requests. R.
99. In their opposition, Plaintiffs contend the parties
had an “informal agreement” to extend and reset
deadlines before the discovery deadline of March 29, 2019.
R. 128. Geico disputes any such agreement, formal or
informal. Copies of emails attached to Plaintiffs'
opposition, however, confirm that the parties were discussing
such extensions and that they were “attempting to work
through various issues” without the need for this Court
to intervene. See, 128-3, Exh. 2, March 27, 2019
email from Whaley to Fischer (“Yes, we do need to
discuss extending the deadlines currently in place as we have
previously discussed generally.); June 6, 2019 email from
Fischer to Whaley (Geico indicated it is “still
investigating whether any documents still
exist”). The Court also considered
Plaintiffs' concern for additional discovery and
information from Geico regarding the CCC valuation product
the primary focus of this case. Plaintiffs' complained
that Geico's witnesses were unable to address with
adequate knowledge Plaintiffs' questions related to the
CCC valuation products.
contends that Plaintiffs' actions which lead up to and
included the Court granting Plaintiffs' motion for
extension of deadlines, R. 102, were a
“tactical ruse” “to not disclose an
expert” which “unfairly prejudice[d] Geico and
the fair administration of justice.” R. 114. Geico
complains that the Court granted Plaintiffs' proposed
schedule without hearing its opposition. It argues that the
Court's unilateral action highly prejudiced Geico by
disclosing its expert's opinions before Plaintiffs
committed to an expert report. While Plaintiffs state that
they “did not review the reports, ” R.
130, Geico argues that there have been no declaration(s)
submitted to that effect.
Court has thoroughly and carefully considered Geico's
motion for reconsideration and its reply to Plaintiffs'
Opposition Memorandum. Based on the foregoing recount of the
information initially considered by the Court in granting the
Motion to Reset Deadlines and entering the Class
Certification Scheduling Order, and after considering
Geico's Opposition and Reply Memoranda, the Court finds
Plaintiffs' Motion was filed in good faith and was not a
“tactical ruse” to discover Geico's expert.
The Court agrees that Plaintiffs' were blameworthy for
failing to file a motion for extension, however, the language
in the emails between Geico's counsel and Plaintiffs'
counsel at least implied that an informal agreement was being
discussed in order to complete discovery. The Court finds
that failing to reset Plaintiffs' expert report deadline
would be seriously prejudicial to Plaintiffs' case, if
not fatal. While Geico was prejudiced, the Court notes that
prior to filing its expert report, Geico never contacted nor
initiated an inquiry with the Court regarding Plaintiffs'
failure to comply with the expert deadline. Rather, after the
last June 6, 2019 email, Geico produced its expert report,
albeit timely, on June 14, 2019.
suggests that the Court vacate the extension order and that
any additional discovery should be limited to the motion to
compel. Geico maintains the Court's scheduling order
should also be vacated and any subsequent deadlines should
give Geico at least as much time as it had in the original
schedule. The January 10, 2019 Scheduling Order provided 15
days between the discovery deadline and Plaintiffs'
expert reports, Geico's expert report deadline was 60
days after Plaintiffs' report was filed and expert
depositions were 60 days after that. R. 96.
IT IS ORDERED that Geico's Motion For Reconsideration Of
Order On Motion To Reset Deadlines [Rec. Doc. 114] is
GRANTED. In order to minimize prejudice to
any of the parties, the Court will issue a new (and final)
Scheduling Order setting out deadlines as requested by Geico,
specifically allow Geico to Supplement its expert report or
retain new or additional experts, and order that
Plaintiffs' counsel and anyone associated with
Plaintiffs' counsel refrain from reviewing Geico's
DONE AND SIGNED.
 In its motion, Geico states that it
considered a motion to extend the discovery deadlines based
on its failure to receive interrogatories and production ...