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Recovery Land Holding, LLC v. City of South Ogden

United States District Court, D. Utah

December 16, 2019

RECOVERY LAND HOLDINGS, LLC, a Utah limited liability company, Plaintiff,
CITY OF SOUTH OGDEN, and DOE DEFENDANTS I through X, Defendants.


          Ted Stewart District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Renewed Rule 56(d) Motion and Motion to Amend Scheduling Order. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Recovery Land Holdings, LLC (“Brighton”) operates a residential facility for people recovering from alcoholism and substance abuse located in South Ogden, Utah. Plaintiff requested an application for a reasonable accommodation from Defendant City of South Ogden (the “City”) to allow it to provide treatment for up to 32 people. That request was denied by the City's Accommodation Review Committee, and that denial was later upheld by a Hearing Officer.

         Brighton brought this action on September 29, 2017. Brighton asserted claims under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”). Brighton advanced three theories of liability under these provisions: (1) disparate treatment discrimination; (2) disparate impact discrimination; and (3) failure to grant a reasonable accommodation.

         The parties sought and received several extensions for Defendant to file its Answer while they were attempting to resolve this matter. Defendant eventually filed its answer on June 21, 2018.

         On July 10, 2018, the Court entered a Scheduling Order. The Scheduling Order contained the following deadlines: March 31, 2019, for the close of fact discovery; April 8, 2019, for Plaintiff to disclose experts; April 30, 2019, for Plaintiff to disclose expert reports; August 30, 2019, for the close of expert discovery; and September 30, 2019, as the deadline for filing dispositive motions.

         On November 14, 2018, the City filed a motion seeking summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims. On December 21, 2018, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the City's motion and also filed a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). While these motions were still pending, the parties requested a court order staying discovery until the motions were resolved.[1]But this stipulation was filed after the close of fact discovery, and nothing in that agreement sought to extend discovery.

         On April 4, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's Rule 56(d) motion, granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment as it related to Plaintiff's failure-to-accommodate claim, but denied that motion without prejudice on Plaintiff's remaining claims. The Court also denied as moot the parties' request to stay discovery. The Court did not amend the Scheduling Order in any way and, until Plaintiff filed the instant Motion, neither party has formally moved the Court to do so.

         On April 8, 2019, four days after the Court's ruling, counsel for Defendant sent an email to Plaintiff's counsel to discuss pending discovery requests.[2] Plaintiff's counsel responded on April 26, 2019, and requested dates in the next 30 to 45 days to set depositions in light of the Court's ruling.[3] Defendant's counsel responded on April 29, 2019, asking who Plaintiff's counsel wanted to depose.[4] Plaintiff's counsel did not respond. Defendant's counsel sent a follow-up email on May 16, 2019, again asking Plaintiff's counsel to identify the witnesses he wanted to depose so counsel could check their schedules.[5] Plaintiff's counsel failed to do so. It was not until the Magistrate Judge held a hearing on an unrelated motion on July 17, 2019, that Plaintiff's counsel finally disclosed who he wanted to depose.[6] The following day, the Magistrate Judge noted that there was no motion to extend discovery and that the discovery deadlines would not be amended.[7]

         Meanwhile, on May 31, 2019, after the deadline for Plaintiff to disclose its expert identities and reports, Defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment on Plaintiff's disparate impact claim. Then, on the last day to file dispositive motions, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff's disparate treatment claim. In response to that motion, Plaintiff has now filed the instant Motion.


         A. RULE 56(d) MOTION

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) states that “[i]f 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 ...

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