The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
The Court has before it motions to extend the expert disclosure deadlines filed by both defendants. After an expedited briefing schedule, the Court heard oral argument on April 14, 2011, and took the motions under advisement. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will grant the motions in part, giving both defendants an extra 30 days to file reports from certain economic experts, and 21 days to file reports from certain non-economic experts.
DuPont seeks a 30-day continuance as to certain selected experts, and the plaintiffs agree to that continuance. The plaintiffs originally sought their own 30-day continuance to file rebuttal reports, but during oral argument retracted that request and stated that they could live with the existing deadline.
The BLM requested a 60-day continuance or, as an alternative, asked for the same 30-day continuance granted to DuPont. The plaintiffs object to any continuance being awarded to the BLM.
The Court is unwilling to grant the BLM's 60-day extension request for three reasons. First, it would require a like extension of the trial date. Second, the plaintiffs have been providing expert damage reports on a rolling basis for many months prior to each plaintiff's deposition, and so a 60-day extension is unnecessary. Third, a much shorter extension, discussed below, will grant the defendants the time they need without requiring the changing of other deadlines or impinging unduly on the time plaintiffs need for rebuttal.
Some extension is needed for both defendants to respond to the damage reports covering five plaintiffs that the Court will collectively refer to as the Young and Wada Groups.*fn1 The damage claims made by the Young and Wada Groups are the largest in the case by a wide margin, and are somewhat different from those of the other plaintiffs. All of this will require some additional time to evaluate. The Court will therefore grant both defendants an additional 30 days to file their responsive expert damage reports on the Young and Wada Groups.
With regard to the non-economic damage reports, the Court finds that while some changes were made by plaintiffs' experts to their testimony in the original bellwether trial, the changes were not substantial and would require an extension of only 21 days.
The Court will also grant DuPont's request that its expert Stuart Allen be granted a 66-day extension to enhance the audio tapes of the grower meetings and provide a transcript. While there was some discussion in the briefing of setting a three-day requirement for DuPont to turn over to plaintiffs each item completed by Allen, the parties agreed at oral argument that DuPont would turn over each item immediately upon receipt.
The Court will therefore grant the motion to extend in part as follows: (1) extend the time to file expert reports on the Young and Wada Groups to May 25, 2011; (2) extend the time to file expert reports responding to the reports of non-damage experts Shields, Zannetti, Goodwin, Hendrick, Dyer, Gallian, Qualls, Franc, Kleinkopf, Haderlie, and Miller to May 18, 2011; (3) extend the time for Stuart Allen to copy, analyze, enhance, and transcribe the original grower meeting tapes to July 1, 2011.
The Court would also urge the parties to reach agreement on a briefing schedule concerning the issue whether defense experts are constrained ...