Thursday, November 17, 2005

Turbocharged Rocket Docket

The Eastern District of Virginia’s infamous rocket docket is apparently nothing compared to being in Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks’ (S.D. Fla.) courtroom. Listen to this. You just largely defeated the motions to dismiss, but now the Judge gives both sides just two months to "finish" discovery, and sets the trial for less than three months after that. Let’s see here. Two months to prepare and serve the document requests, serve the third party subpoenas, get the documents, review them, and depose the witnesses? Yeah, that seems reasonable. Oh, and let’s not forget class certification, which hasn’t even been briefed yet. Summary Judgment motions? C’mon, let’s not dwell on technicalities here. Empanel the jury, and let’s go. While we're at it, ten seconds for opening statements should do the trick (don't worry, that's ten seconds each side).

The Nugget usually doesn’t venture beyond reported decisions, but who could resist seeing what would happen next. Yep, you guessed it. In a November 14, 2005 Order, Judge Middlebrooks denied Plaintiffs’ request to speed up the normal thirty day rule to get the documents. Why you ask? Because Plaintiffs should have started discovery back at the beginning of the case. Why again you ask? Since no discovery stay was in place until the motions to dismiss were filed, of course. Therefore, due to “Plaintiffs’ lack of diligence,” there is “little reason to punish defendants.” These counsel probably wondered if they just got on a new Court TV episode of Punk’d. Is that Ashton Kutcher hiding in a control room behind the bench? Please let it be. Sorry, this crew is SOL, and their discovery cutoff remains Monday December 19, 2005. But hey, look at the bright side. Now you finally have something to actually be thankful for this Thanksgiving - not being them.

You can read In re Spear & Jackson, issued October 19, 2005, at 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27555.

Nugget: “There is no reason to delay this litigation any further.”

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