MRGO April 21 – the issue and the order (part 1): Duval got ’em told

If Federal Judge Stanwood Duval had a fan club, with your membership card, you’d get a pocket dictionary and OMG would you ever need one!

Yesterday was not a good day for the government’s attorneys.  Judge Duval just flat got ’em told; and, while plaintiffs’ counsel got off light, they did not escape his pen without a scratch.

No one this far south has ever used the word pellucid to tell somebody off; but, Judge Duval did in the Order and Reasons he issued yesterday – and, given the significance of  a pellucid telling-off, part one of this two-part post looks at the order of the reasons Duval got ’em told.

There is no question that this Court was forced to continue this trial for a second time based on the Government’s need to prepare its defense, making it practically four years since Hurricane Katrina struck this city to adjudicate this issue.

Furthermore, it unquestionably ordered on October 9, 2008 that Defendant’s Expert Reports and computer generated evidence were to be produced on December 22, 2008… The Court further ordered at that time that the depositions of all Plaintiffs’ and Defendant’s Experts were to be completed by February 6, 2009.

From these facts, what is also pellucidly clear is that neither side complied with the deadlines set forth to complete this discovery. There has been a wild scramble to provide the Court with expert reports, depositions and exhibits that has resulted in an unfortunate piecemeal manner of preparation–including the Government’s unilateral decision to forego objections to exhibits because it was too onerous a task.

In addition, ruling on deposition objections have had to be deferred as the depositions were received on the Thursday and Friday prior to trial leaving  the Court with the herculean task of reading thousands of pages of expert reports and deposition testimony in far too truncated a period of time.

To put it succinctly, the Court has been faced with last minute motions and objections that under normal circumstances would not be entertained as they are being filed long after normal deadlines would have passed.

The Court has accommodated the parties and has not arbitrarily enforced deadlines in light of the extremely important issues for trial and will continue to do so. That being said, the Court will address the motion before it now.

Big words and all considered, there is no better time for our Nation to be reassured there is a federal judge willing to do whatever it takes to ensure justice delayed will not be justice denied.

Savor that thought as I work in far too truncated a period of time on part two – Resio v Van Heerden, the issue driving Duval’s Order and Reasons.

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