United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
MODIFY THE SCHEDULING ORDER AND DENYING PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION TO MODIFY THE SCHEDULING ORDER
L. LUDINGTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
7, 2016, nine plaintiffs filed a 442-page complaint framing a
putative class-action and alleging deceptive advertising,
breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment claims under
the laws of thirty states against Defendant General Motors
(“GM”). ECF No. 1. Fundamentally, Plaintiffs
allege that GM installed a “defeat device” in the
2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel which results in significantly
higher emissions when the vehicle is in use compared to when
it is being tested in laboratory conditions. GM filed a
motion to dismiss on October 3, 2016, which was granted in
part and denied in part. ECF Nos. 12, 21. On April 21, 2017,
a Scheduling Order was issued which established a timeline
for the surviving claims. ECF No. 28. Currently, the parties
are in the midst of discovery.
September 18, 2017, both parties filed motions seeking
modification of the Scheduling Order. ECF Nos. 36, 37. The
parties agree that the final pretrial conference and trial
should be reset for the spring of 2019. But they dispute the
proper timeline for the remaining dates. The disagreement
between the parties is centered on class certification (which
the present scheduling order does not address): GM argues
that the summary judgment deadline should come before the
deadline for class certification, while Plaintiffs argue the
support of their contention that class certification should
be addressed before dispositive motions, Plaintiffs emphasize
that the traditional sequence “is workable, efficient,
and avoids duplicative motions practice.” Pl. Mot.
Amend at 7, ECF No. 36. GM, for its part, argues that
“‘[c]onsiderations of fairness and economy'
support deciding ‘summary judgment before engaging in
the time-consuming inquiry into certification.'”
Def. Mot. Amend at 5, ECF No. 37 (quoting Serafino v.
City of Hamtracmck & Cathy Square, 2016 WL 11280784,
at *1-2 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 23, 2016)). The Court has discretion
regarding whether to rule on class certification prior to
ruling on the merits of Plaintiffs' underlying claims.
See Meridia Prod. Liab. Litig. v. Abbott Labs., 447
F.3d 861, 864 (6th Cir. 2006).
approaches have advantages. In this matter, however, judicial
efficiency will be served by adjudicating dispositive motions
prior to class certification. GM indicates, correctly, that
several threshold factual issues exist which, if decided
adversely to Plaintiffs, would render state-specific
inquiries unnecessary. If the Cruze does not contain a
“defeat device, ” the underlying premise of
Plaintiffs' suit will collapse. Likewise, if Plaintiffs
cannot establish at least a genuine issue of fact regarding
whether GM concealed or failed to disclose information
regarding the Cruze that it had an affirmative obligation to
provide to consumers, Plaintiffs' claims will fail. Thus,
adjudicating dispositive motions before class certification
would ensure that class certification is not an exercise in
importantly, Plaintiffs have not established that GM's
proposed sequence would prejudice them. Even if
Plaintiffs' preferred approach was adopted, the claims in
the complaint would still be tested by dispositive motions.
Importantly, the proposed schedules from both parties would
result in an April 2019 trial date, so GM's proposed
schedule would not postpone Plaintiffs' relief, assuming
success on the merits. Plaintiffs' only assertion of
prejudice is focused on GM's proposed discovery deadline
(March 30, 2018).
suggest a discovery deadline of November 16, 2018, arguing
that “[a] March 2017 [sic] cutoff would be impractical
even in an ideal world where the defendant and third-parties
were exceptionally forthcoming and cooperative.” Pl.
Mot. Amend at 8. Plaintiffs further indicate that, despite
the fact that discovery has been open since April 2017, GM
has not yet begun document production. If that level of
production is maintained, the March 2018 discovery deadline
would, of course, but insufficient. But the Court is
unpersuaded that, given due diligence by the parties (with
recourse to motions to compel, if necessary), discovery
cannot be completed by March 2018. At that point, the parties
will have been afforded eleven months for discovery. If,
closer to the discovery deadline, Plaintiffs can demonstrate
that a further extension is warranted, one may be granted.
But, at this point, Plaintiffs have not sufficiently
justified their request for a twelve month extension of the
discovery deadline. GM's motion to amend and proposed
schedule will be adopted, with slight changes to the
intervals between certain deadlines.
it is ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion to
amend the scheduling order, ECF No. 36, is
further ORDERED that Defendant GM's
motion to amend the scheduling order, ECF No. 37, is
GRANTED in part.
further ORDERED that the Scheduling Order,
ECF No. 28, is AMENDED as follows:
March 30, 2018
April 4, 2018, at 2:00 p.m.
Plaintiffs' Expert Disclosures:
April 9, 2018
Defendant's Expert Disclosures:
May 14, 2018
June 11, 2018
Class Certification Motion:
October 30, 2018
Motions in limine:
February 22, 2019
Final Pretrial Conference:
March 19, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.
April 2, 2019, at 8:30 a.m.