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Curry v. M-I, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

August 29, 2019

MITCHELL CURRY, et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
M-I, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Jason B. Libby United States Magistrate Judge.

         This is a collective action brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. Pending are the following motions: (1) Defendant's Motion to Compel and Motion to Prohibit Use of Evidence of Damages at Trial (D.E. 135); (2) Defendant's Motion For Reconsideration of the Magistrate Judge's Denial of Request for an Extension of Time (D.E. 136); (3) Defendant's Motion to Expedite Hearing on the Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration of the Magistrate Judge's Denial of Request for Extension of Time (D.E. 137); (4) Defendant's Motion Objecting to Magistrate Judge's Denial of Request for an Extension of Time (D.E. 138); and (5) Motion to Expedite Hearing on the Defendant's Motion Objecting to the Magistrate Judge's Denial of Request for Extension of Time. (D.E. 139).

         For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion to Compel and Motion to Prohibit Use of Evidence of Damages at Trial is DENIED. (D.E. 135). Defendant's Motion for Expedited Ruling is GRANTED and the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. (D.E. 136 and D.E. 137). With regard to the remaining two motions, Defendant seeks review of the undersigned's rulings. Therefore, these motions should be considered in the first instance by the District Judge. However, the undersigned RECOMMENDS Defendant's remaining Motion to Expedite be GRANTED and the Motion to Set Aside be DENIED for the reasons stated in this Order. (D.E. 138 and D.E. 139).

         I. JURISDICTION

         The Court has federal question jurisdiction in this FLSA action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, this case has been referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for determination of all procedural and discovery motions, case management, and all other matters authorized by law. (D.E. 70).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs filed a related action to this case on March 16, 2017. On May 19, 2017, the parties filed their Joint Discovery and Case Management Plan (D.E. 11) in which they represented, among other things, “[n]o unusual limitation or accommodations will be necessary for the discovery process.” (D.E. 11, ¶ 9). The parties further set forth their discovery plan and requested that the discovery deadline be set for February 28, 2018, noting that an extension may be necessary depending in the size and scope of the class. (D.E. 11).

         United States District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos granted Plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification at a hearing on September 15, 2017. The parties appeared telephonically before Judge Ramos on October 12, 2017, for the first of many hearings on the parties' discovery disputes. On October 25, 2017, Judge Ramos re-opened the briefing on the proposed scope of the class. (D.E. 34). On January 24, 2018, after additional briefing, Judge Ramos granted Plaintiff's motion for conditional certification. (D.E. 48).

         On March 8, 2018, the parties appeared before Judge Ramos at a pre-motion conference at which Plaintiffs were granted leave to file an amended complaint due to issues with the scope of the class and because counsel for Plaintiff intended on filing a supplemental motion for conditional certification. On April 20, 2018, the parties appeared before the undersigned for a telephonic pre-motion hearing on a discovery dispute. The undersigned ordered the parties to continue discovery on issue related to conditional certification, assisted the parties in rescheduling the deposition of the Defendant's corporate representative, and set new deadlines for Plaintiffs' supplemental motion for conditional certification. (D.E. 63).

         On May 24, 2018, the parties again appeared before the undersigned for a pre-motion conference regarding a discovery dispute at which the undersigned assisted the parties in setting depositions. (D.E. 67). On June 11, 2018, the parties appeared again for a pre-motion telephonic hearing regarding another discovery dispute. On June 19, 2018, the parties appeared the undersigned and announced they had reached an agreement on their discovery dispute. The parties were ordered to submit an order setting forth their agreement. After this hearing, Judge Ramos referred the case to the undersigned for case management. (D.E. 70).

         On August 8, 2018, the undersigned signed the parties' Agreed Interim Scheduling Order which set forth a comprehensive plan for precertification discovery which included deadlines for interrogatories, document production, depositions, and a new briefing schedule for conditional certification. (D.E. 73). On September 19, 2018, the parties filed their Joint Stipulation and Proposed Order Regarding Conditional Certification. (D.E. 76). On September 24, 2018, the parties filed their Agreed Motion to Sever. (D.E. 79). On September 25, 2018, the undersigned granted the parties' motion to sever and Plaintiffs' claims against Defendant M-I, LLC were severed and opened in this case. (D.E. 80).

         On October 9, 2018, a complaint was filed and the next day, the undersigned entered an order granting Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion to Approve Notice Documents, which gave potential opt-in Plaintiffs sixty days from the date of the first mailing or emailing to return the consent form and become a plaintiff in this lawsuit. (D.E. 84). On January 7, 2019, the parties appeared before the undersigned for a status and scheduling conference and a pre-motion conference on additional discovery matters involving the production of documents and scheduling depositions. The parties announced they were working through their dispute and making progress. The undersigned also discussed deadlines and entering a scheduling order. (D.E. 98). The undersigned specifically noted the parties had been conducting discovery but felt it appropriate that the parties be given a full opportunity to conduct discovery. The parties agreed with the Court's proposed dates which included a discovery deadline of July 12, 2019 which granted the parties an additional six months to complete the discovery process. A scheduling order was entered on January 8, 2019. (D.E. 98).

         The undersigned held a pre-motion conference on February 26, 2019 regarding setting depositions and document production. The Court's rulings on those matters are set forth in a written order. (D.E. 103). The undersigned held another pre-motion conference on May 9, 2019, again involving a dispute about setting depositions and document production. The undersigned's ruling on those matters are set forth in a written order. (D.E. 109, D.E. 113 and D.E. 122). On May 31, 2019, the undersigned held another pre-motion conference at which the undersigned granted Plaintiffs' motion to compel and ordered representative discovery. (D.E. 122). Representative discovery was necessary to assist the parties in finishing the discovery process.

         On July 3, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (D.E. 124). Less than a week later, on July 8, 2019, the parties jointly moved for an extension of the discovery and dispositive motions deadlines which the undersigned granted in part the same day. (D.E. 126 and D.E. 127). The parties requested the discovery deadline be extended from July 12, 2019 to August 22, 2019 and the dispositive motion deadline be extended from July 18, 2019 to September 16, 2019. (D.E. 126). The ...


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