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Apr 17 2012

Reality Steve Lawsuit Update: Summary of March 2012 Court Documents

Since my April 4, 2012 Update, I have been sitting on several court documents waiting for a block of time when my mind would be clear enough to focus on analyzing and posting the latest set of court documents from March 26-30, 2012. It turns out that there are disproportionately more documents to read than a long story to tell. Nevertheless, there are some really good lessons and information to come out of this.  Unfortunately, most of this comes at Steve Carbone’s expense and legal bill.

There was a large empty gap in time from the end of February 2012 to the end of March 2012 where there was no court documents filed. However, that did not mean nothing was happening behind the scenes. There were some settlement discussions in that period as Carbone hinted at. As it turns out, there were also plaintiff interrogatories issued on March 6, 2012 to Carbone and Reality Steve LLC.

I began writing about the Reality Steve Lawsuit on March 11, 2012 and beginning on March 14, 2012, I wrote daily commentaries and articles for two straight weeks until March 30, 2012. Afterwards, I provided periodic updates.

As I was slowing down from my marathon coverage of the Reality Steve Lawsuit, there was daily court documents filed on the lawsuit from March 26-30, 2012. I didn’t find out about any of this until April 4, 2012 when I downloaded an updated docket. Ironically, I learned that there was also a deposition originally scheduled for April 4, 2012. However, that was the day the Dallas Airport was shut down due to local tornadoes and Carbone was stuck in California. I should state that it is highly likely that the deposition was canceled or rescheduled given the court documents and events from March 26-30, 2012.

What happened during those 4 days in March 2012? From what I can tell from the docket and the documents I read, this is what happened.

On March 26, 2012, plaintiffs’ counsel wanted more time to collect information from defendants through an ex-parte application to continue the hearing (extension for time) from May 20, 2012 by an additional 60 days. Apparently, having “only” 8 more weeks (from March 26, 2012) was not enough for the plaintiffs’ counsel.

The plaintiffs argued that:

  1. The plaintiffs immediately began discovery so they could receive defendants’ responses well in advance of the deadline.
  2. Defendants provided inadequate responses and gave examples of why the responses were inadequate and too limiting.
  3. Deadlines provided does “not provide plaintiffs with adequate time to compel (and receive) supplemental responses to the jurisdictional discovery”.
  4. Ex-parte relief is appropriate in this situation.

Overall, the plaintiffs argued they “acted diligently and expeditiously”.

On March 27, 2012, defendants counsel, Brad Kizzia, filed their opposition to continue the hearing. The reasons given were that the interrogatories went “beyond the scope of jurisdictional discovery”. The other reason was that a court order compelling supplemental responses was simply not warranted for this situation. Defendants’ counsel claimed that instead of asking them for more information, plaintiffs’ counsel went directly to court seeking “relief” from the Court.

On March 30, 2012, an order was given by the Court granting the plaintiffs an additional 60 days for jurisdictional discovery. The new hearing date was set for July 23, 2012.

Bottom line:  The plaintiffs won their extension in another legal setback for Carbone on the Diversity standing front.

On March 29, 2012, a Joint Scheduling Conference Report was submitted to the Court by Andrew DeFrancis (plaintiffs’ attorney) and Brad Kizzia (defendants’ attorney).

Some highlights of what was mutual agreed upon include:

  1. If the Court were to deny Defendants’ pending Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, the case would not be complex. (More simply, if the case were to move forward in California jurisdiction as plaintiffs want, it would not be a complex case.)
  2. Both parties intend to file summary judgments. Each agrees that all dispositive motions should be filed by January 2013.
  3. There have been ongoing settlement discussions. If the parties are unable to settle, they are willing to participate in a non-judicial dispute resolution proceeding.
  4. If there was a trial by jury, it would take 5 to 7 days. If a trial by jury is necessary, the trail would be set for March 2013. (That would simply be brutal for Carbone to have this case go into another year.)
  5. Neither party expects the joining (bringing in) of additional parties unless additional parties are revealed through discovery.

As you can see, there are already talks of the possibility of the case going into 2013. However, there are decent indications there is willingness for settlement.

I had intended to get into discussing the “meat-grinding” interrogatories in this article but I ran out of time. Instead of waiting, I figured you readers would appreciate getting this long-delayed update while I work next into the interrogatories documents. I definitely have a lot to say on that front. Check back in a few days.

 

 

 

 

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