United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION
TO AMEND THE SCHEDULING ORDER
H. RITTER U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant/Counterclaimant
Michael Briggs' Second Motion to Amend Order Setting Case
Management Deadlines and Discovery Parameters. [Doc. 54');">54]. The
Motion is partially opposed. [See Doc. 57]. While
the parties agree that certain deadlines should be extended,
at issue is whether the Court should grant Mr. Briggs'
request to extend his expert disclosure deadline for any
experts other than a forensic psychologist (Ms. VanMeter
agrees that he should be permitted additional time for a
defense evaluation of Ms. VanMeter to occur), and the extent
to which the Court should extend the deadline to file
pretrial motions (Mr. Briggs seeks until December 19, 2019,
whereas Ms. VanMeter seeks only until December 2, 2019).
[Id., p. 1]. Having considered the parties'
positions in light of the current pretrial and trial
deadlines, the Court finds that Mr. Briggs' Motion should
be granted in part.
VanMeter claims that Mr. Briggs drugged and raped her. [Doc.
1-1]. “Mr. Briggs adamantly denies those claims, and
asks [by his current Motion] that the Court give him fair
opportunity to prove it.” [Doc. 54');">54, p. 2');">p. 2].
Specifically, Mr. Briggs points out that Ms. VanMeter
identified eleven potential expert witnesses in the Joint
Status Report. [Doc. 54');">54, p. 3; see Doc. 10, p. 15].
Mr. Briggs asks the Court to permit him additional time for
discovery (two months) to depose these expert witnesses, to
obtain Ms. VanMeter's medical records, and to then
disclose his own experts. [See Doc. 54');">54, p. 6].
VanMeter's Response brief makes clear that, while she
will permit an examination by Mr. Briggs' forensic
psychiatrist, she “opposes any extension for any other
proposed experts.” [Doc. 57, p. 2');">p. 2]. Ms. VanMeter argues
that some of the witnesses Mr. Briggs seeks to depose -
University of New Mexico (“UNM”) employees who
investigated her claims - will not be providing expert
testimony. [Id., pp. 5-6]. Likewise, Mr. VanMeter
claims that Mr. Briggs unnecessarily delayed identifying a
toxicologist, and argues that some of Mr. Briggs'
proposed experts - such as an expert on her physical injuries
- are unnecessary. [Id., pp. 7-10].
Reply, Mr. Briggs argues that his requested extensions should
be granted because they will not prejudice Ms. VanMeter's
case. [Doc. 74, p.1]. And, should Ms. VanMeter require more
time to respond to Mr. Briggs' experts, he will not
oppose the Court granting it. [Id.]. Substantively,
Mr. Briggs chronicles his attempts to prepare his case for
trial and argues that he should be permitted to offer an
expert on UNM's investigation and to challenge Ms.
VanMeter's witness on toxicology. [Id., pp.
current discovery deadline was September 1, 2019, with
pretrial motions due October 19, 2019, and the proposed
pretrial order due to presiding District Judge Brack on
December 22, 2019. [See Doc. 38]. The case is set
for a pretrial conference before Judge Brack on February 21,
2020 and a bench trial commencing on April 20, 2020. [Docs.
entered, a Scheduling Order may be modified only for good
cause and with the Court's consent. Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4). “In practice, the Rule 16(b)(4) standard
requires the movant to show the scheduling deadlines cannot
be met despite the movant's diligent efforts.”
Husky Ventures, Inc. v. B55 Investments, Ltd., 911
F.3d 1000, 1020 (10th Cir. 2018) (quoted authority and
internal alterations omitted). Thus, “good cause
obligates the moving party to provide an adequate explanation
for any delay.” Id. (quoted authority
omitted). Above all, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
“should be construed, administered, and employed by the
court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and
inexpensive determination of every action and
proceeding.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1.
movant, it is Mr. Briggs' burden to establish good cause
to modify the Scheduling Order. The Court concludes that this
burden has been met. As detailed in Mr. Briggs' briefing,
he has been diligent in conducting discovery and securing
witnesses, warranting the extension of his expert deadlines
as requested. However, in the interest of fairness, the
Court will also grant Ms. VanMeter additional time to depose
Mr. Briggs experts, as set forth below.
Court also finds that the parties have presented good cause
to modify the pretrial deadlines. However, in light of the
current trial setting in this case, the Court will only
permit the parties until December 2, 2019, to file pretrial
motions, as requested by Ms. VanMeter.
for the foregoing reasons, the Court will modify the current
Scheduling Order and ...