Stipulations to Extend Discovery Denied

Throughout this summer I have heard rumblings that stipulations to extend discovery in the local state court were suddenly being denied because the stipulations required a new trial date.  Instead, the lawyers first had to persuade the district court to move the trial date, then the parties could stipulate to a new discovery schedule.  Although I personally have not yet encountered this, the rumblings have been so consistent, and from varied sources, that this seems to be the “new normal.”  So in state court, if discovery is to be extended and this would cause a new trial date, have a motion or stipulation to continue trial granted first.  For practical purposes, I might suggest sending one stipulation to the district court addressing both the trial and discovery deadlines.

In the local federal courts, stipulations to extend discovery have not been automatic for as long as I’ve been paying attention, as discussed before.[1]   If anything, it may be getting harder to obtain an extension.  Bank of N.Y. Mellon v. Imagination N. Landscapes Maint. Ass’n[2] concerned a joint motion to extend discovery.  The parties filed the motion after the deadlines they sought to extend had already expired.  Magistrate Judge Koppe noted this then required the parties to establish excusable neglect, but that this factor had barely been addressed, let alone satisfied. It got worse.

As to the remaining deadlines, the parties seek a 90-day extension of discovery on the basis that discovery motions are pending and Defendant Julie Christensen has only recently joined the case.  The parties seek a significant extension that would represent an additional 50% of the amount of time that is presumptively reasonable to conduct discovery under the local rules. However, Plaintiff and Defendant SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC appear to have only conducted minimal discovery, while there is no indication that Defendant Christensen has diligently conducted discovery.

Result?  Motion denied without prejudice.

I would say word on the street is to avoid asking for extensions of the discovery period where possible.

[1] October 28, 2013, November 4, 2013.

[2] 2:16-cv-00383, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105523 (D. Nev. Aug. 10, 2016).