Judge Senter issues marching Order in Gagne v State Farm

In Gagne has the goods on State Farm, Wants More (January 8, 2009),  I posted Gagne’s  Motion for Review of Magistrate’s Order

In what has to be some sort of record-setting rapid response, Judge Senter considered Gagne’s motion and issued what can best be described as a related marching order:

This matter is referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for proceedings consistent herewith.

An overly simple description of what those consistent herewith proceedings might be is that it’s put up or shut up time.

While this Court sympathizes with the Magistrate’s view that Plaintiff offers little more than speculation about the meaning of reports and their connection with this particular claim, it is concerned that there is nothing to gauge the correctness of his conclusions because Defendants have not been required to submit these documents for in camera inspection.

At this stage, without the documents, there is no way to even draw inferences from their contents. Allowing Defendants to rely on their own descriptions of the material or what is contained in them (and, thus, their background and meaning) and–at the same time be able to withhold them–places the Court at a disadvantage.

This Court recognizes that the Magistrate’s decision was based on procedural and substantive grounds. Plaintiff will be held to his representation that additional discovery will not be required or that the April trial date will not be disrupted because of this motion; and he is reminded that the Court will not hesitate to impose sanctions under any applicable authority, including Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f), for any conduct that results in wasteful pretrial activities or delay.

Judge Senter’s Order is far more gracious than a review of State Farm’s response to Gagne’s initial motion merits, IMO – chiefly because Magistrate Walker’s related Order denying Gagne’s Motion follows the script State Farm outlined in the Company’s response

Here, again, is text from Walker’s Order;

As an initial matter, the Court finds that the motion to compel is untimely and should be denied on this ground alone. See Local Rule 7.2(B)(2).

and, the first sentence from State Farm’s response reads as follows:

Plaintiff’s motion to compel [419] – filed weeks after the close of discovery – is untimely under Local Rule 7.2(B)(2) and should be denied on that ground alone.

In spite of the obvious, it’s important to acknowledge that State Farm’s response was direct and hard hitting and could have been easier for a reader, including Judge Walker, to understand.  Although also well-written, IMO, Gagne’s position was more easily understood in Gagne’s motion for review. Readers interested in comparing the various documents will also want to read Gagne’s Motion to Compel.

There has been a good bit of other recent action according to the case docket.  Prior to this Order, the docket shows a laundry list of notices (receipt of depositions) along with responses and replies to the last set of motions.  I’ll put links to some of particular interest up in comments to this post tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Judge Senter issues marching Order in Gagne v State Farm”

  1. Nowdy I could be wrong but I think Judge Senter told Walker to stop letting Bob Galloway draft his orders. Bob is a great lawyer no doubt, but Walker has clerks for these type things. Hopefully they’ll start using their noodles and dispense some justice for a change. And while we’re at it this is not a Mississippi problem too. There are former State Farm lawyers on the bench in NOLA that are famous for gutting cases out just before trial. Maybe that is why we have Dickerson and Grilletta today.

    Either that or these guys should at least be up front with the policyholder/plaintiffs and tell them they have no chance in their courtroom. This bullshit of sabatoging of cases right before they begin has to stop. All IMHO.


  2. Judging from the quick response to my email inbox to my previous remark I’ll add the remarks about Judge Walker are based strictly on my own observations contained in the many rulings we’ve detailed here on slabbed and are not connected to this litigation specifically though Nowdy’s post serves as an example of Walker’s bias against policyholders in general.

    To the extent I’m not a lawyer but an interested citizen my comment on the emperor having no clothes is just that and well, the emperor has no clothes. Tighten up Yer Honner, the unwashed masses are watching.


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