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Cardan v. New York Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division

August 7, 2017

PHILIP CARDAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY; USI ADMINISTRATORS, INC.; CBCA ADMINISTRATORS, INC.; NATIONAL EMPLOYEE BENEFIT COMPANIES, INC.; AmWINS GROUP BENEFITS, INC.; and AmWINS GROUP, INC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DANA L. CHRISTENSEN, CHIEF JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant AmWINS Group Benefits Inc. and AmWINS Group Inc.'s (collectively "AmWINS") Rule 56(d) motion and motion to vacate the current scheduling order deadlines and set a scheduling conference. Plaintiff Philip Cardan ("Cardan") opposes the motion. For the reasons below, the Court grants the motion in part and denies the motion in part.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 23, 2016, Cardan filed suit against Defendant New York Life Insurance Company ("New York Life") in the Montana Eleventh Judicial District Court. On August 9, 2016, New York Life removed the litigation to this Court. Cardan's motion to remand was denied by this Court, and the Court granted New York Life's motion to dismiss Count IV of the Complaint. On January 13, 2017, the Court held a preliminary pretrial conference. The Court's Scheduling Order established deadlines for amending pleadings on May 12, 2017, a discovery deadline of November 28, 2017, and a fully briefed motions deadline on January 26, 2018.

         On May 5, 2017, Cardan filed his First Amended Complaint for Damages and Declaratory Relief against New York Life and five additional Defendants, including Am WINS. On May 22, 2017, Cardan filed two separate motions for partial summary judgment against New York Life. On May 23, 2017, Am WINS was served with the First Amended Complaint. AmWINS retained counsel on June 5, 2017. On June 9, 2017, Cardan granted AmWINS an extension of time until July 7, 2017 to file its Answer.

         On June 23, 2017, AmWINS' counsel made a written request on all parties for copies of all written discovery that had taken place to date. On June 29, 2017, AmWINS' counsel wrote to Cardan and New York Life's counsel regarding the time constraints it was facing with discovery and serving an appropriate Answer, and requested a stipulation to vacate the current scheduling order. New York Life stipulated to the request. Cardan opposed.

         By June 30, 2017, Am WESTS received an additional 3, 500 pages of discovery. That same day, Am WINS filed the current motion.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) provides a device for litigants to avoid summary judgment when they have not had sufficient time to develop affirmative evidence. The Rule states:

If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:
(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;
(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or
(3) issue any other appropriate order.

F. R. Civ. P. 56(d). Rule 56(d) was previously found under Rule 56(f), and the Ninth Circuit determined that a continuance of a motion for summary judgment for purposes of discovery should be granted almost as a matter of course unless the non-moving party has not diligently pursued discovery. Burlington N. Santa Fe R. Co. v. Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, 323 F.3d 767, 773 (9th Cir. 2003) ...


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