Nasser Aljalham v. American Steamship Company


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[B]Case Name: [/B][I]Nasser Aljalham v. American Steamship Company
[/I][B]Date Decided: [/B]November 17, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Michigan
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Rosen
[B]Citation[/B]: 2009 WL 3857195 (E.D.Mich)[B]Background:
[/B]Plaintiff, Nasser Aljalham (“Nasser”) filed this Jones Act case against his former employer, American Steamship Company (“American”) as a result of back injuries Nasser received while loading groceries on the vessel.

The Court set a discovery cutoff date of March 31, 2009. American, after this date, moved for leave to file a third party complaint through which is sought third party indemnification, contribution, and other relief from Alloue Marine Supply.

Specifically, American alleged that the cause of Nasser’s injury was Marine Supply’s failure to mark the box in accordance with American policies.

During a trial conference, the Court allowed 90 more days of discovery and American requested to file a third party complain against Marine Supply which was granted.

Defendants seek to Amend the Scheduling Order by an additional 60 days following Marine Supply’s filing of an answer.

[B]Issue:
Did the Court allow an extension in the Amended Scheduling Order?[/B]

[B]Held:
[/B]Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) requires that requests for modifications of dates set by the Scheduling Order should be submitted by written motion to the Court at least 21 days prior to the date for which modification is sought.

This order, was scheduled several days [I]after [/I]discovery cutoff. Marine Supply argued that the Court intended to create a different discovery time-line for Marine Supply as a third-party defendant.

However, this Court found that nothing in the Court’s order indicated an intent to re-open discovery for 90 days [U]from the time that Alouez was joined in the case[/U]. The Court only re-opened discovery for 90 days from the time of the final pre-trial conference.

Ultimately, however, this Court found that good caused existed to extend Marine Supply’ s request to extend the discovery period. Marine Supply was not joined until one month into the re-opened discovery peior and has not been able to initiate discovery with respect to possible indemnification agreements with American.

This Court granted Marine Supply’s Motion to Adjourn the Scheduling Order dates, allowing more time for discovery.

[B]Comment:
Courts, prior to trial, usually sets a schedule which both parties must follow. Important dates include pretrial conferences (in an attempt to bring the parties to settle) and make a cutoff date for discovery requests. [/B]

[B]Without the schedule, discovery could go back and forth for an extremely long time and unnecessarily delay justice. [/B]

[B]Steve Gordon [/B]

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