United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Alonso Magistrate Judge Cole
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
October 26, 2016, counsel filed an Agreed Motion to Extend
Discovery Deadlines from November 1, 2016 to February 1,
2017. [#159]. The motion recites that the deposition of
defendant, Galley Made Marine, is "tentatively" set
for November 14, 2016 in Florida, and the deposition of
defendant, UPR Products, Inc. is “tentatively set for
December 6, 2016, ” “also in Florida.”
[#159]. The joint motion does not recite that fact discovery
of anyone or of any kind has been taken in the last 90 days
since Judge Alonso denied the defendants' Motion for
Reconsideration. And, no explanation has been offered in the
joint motion for the parties' apparent (or at least
unexplained) inattention to fact discovery, even though my
previous orders gave them the stay of discovery and the 90
days additional time that they requested. [See ##86,
96, 150]. Indeed, the joint motion virtually takes for
granted that another 90 days for fact discovery will be
routinely accorded, and that expert discovery will likewise
be extended. That assumption is misguided.
and parties do not own the discovery schedule. There is an
overriding public interest in the prompt resolution of legal
disputes. That interest transcends the immediate interest of
the parties, Hardin v. Straub, 490 U.S. 536, 543
(1989); Gray v. Schaub, 182 F.3d 921 (7th Cir.1999);
Diersen v. Chicago Car Exchange, 110 F.3d 481, 489
(7th Cir. 1997); Matter of Stavriotis,
977 F.2d 1202, 1205 (7th Cir.1992); Fort Howard Paper Co.
v. Standard Havens, Inc., 901 F.2d 1373, 1380 (7th Cir.
1990); Weingarten Realty Investors v. Miller, 661
F.3d 904, 913 (5th Cir. 2011), and certainly does not allow
the inattention to discovery that seems to have occurred here
where all that has happened is the “tentative”
scheduling in Florida of the representatives of Galley Made
Marine and UPR Products.
hope is expressed in the joint motion that the deposition of
the representative of Tig Vision as well as Jeremy
Martorella, a former UPR Products employee, will also take
place in Florida, although the dates of those depositions are
not specified. Significantly, the joint motion does not say
whether these are all of the people to be deposed, who else
might be deposed, the document production that will be
necessary. Nor does it even represent that depositions are in
fact scheduled so that fact discovery can be completed. A
“tentative” setting of two depositions simply is
not enough under the circumstances of this case.
question is what is to be done. The solution to the current
dilemma, like other discovery disputes, falls within the
extraordinarily broad range of discretion invested in judges
- not in lawyers - by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Cf Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 598 (1998);
Semen v. Life Insurance Co. of N.A., 436 F.3d 805,
813 (7th Cir.2006). Perhaps there is a good reason for what
the lawyers in the case have done - or more accurately, not
done - up to the present time. But the joint motion makes no
attempt at any explanation or excuse. Nonetheless, the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure envision broad based
discovery and full disclosure of relevant information.
joint motion will be granted with the following caveat. There
will be no further extensions of fact discovery beyond
February 1, 2017. Expert discovery will follow in 30 day
increments as set forth in the minute order of May 19, 2016
[#146], and as specifically requested in the joint motion.
strongly recommended that the dates for depositions that are
now only “tentative” be firmly set, along with
other depositions of other present and former employees of
the parties, if necessary, and thatanyone else who might be
needed. No further time will be accorded because of supposed
unavailability of party representatives or others over the
course of the next 94 days. If counsel experiences difficulty
in setting depositions or in securing the cooperation and
assent of his opposition, immediate action must be taken.
Further delay without action will not be permitted. To ensure
that this will not happen, the court will convene a status
conference monthly for counsel to report to the court on the
progress of discovery. The schedule will be set forth in the
accompanying Minute Order.
 The case was originally removed from
the state court on February 19, 2014. [#1]. Fact discovery
was initially set on March 26, 2015 and gave the parties
until November 30, 2015 to complete fact discovery [#80], and
on September 10, 2015, the parties agreed to extend fact
discovery to May 1, 2016 and expert discovery to November 30,
2016. [#96]. On September 15, 2015, I granted the
parties' request to stay the depositions in Florida until
Judge Alonso ruled on the motion for summary judgment. On
that day, all scheduled discovery dates were stricken. It was
agreed by everyone that fact discovery would close 90 days
after Judge Alonso ruled on the motion for summary judgment.
[#101]. Judge Alonso ruled on the motion for summary judgment
on April 25, 2016. [#139]. I then set a discovery schedule
with fact discovery to end on August 19, 2016 and expert
discovery to be completed by December 21, 2016. [#146].
Almost immediately thereafter I granted the defendant's
Motion to Stay Discovery until 90 days after Judge Alonso
ruled on a Motion for Reconsideration. ...