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Case 2:13-cv-04695-ODW-E Document 24 Filed 09/24/13 Page 1 of 4 Page ID #:439



















O













UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

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v.

Plaintiff,


VICTORIA CABRERA, individually and
on behalf of herself and others similarly
situated,




HEALTHCARE SERVICES GROUP,
INC., and DOES 1–100, inclusive




Defendants.








Case No. 2:13-cv-04695-ODW (Ex)

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S EX
PARTE APPLICATION TO
CONTINUE CLASS CERTIFICATION
FILING DEADLINE [23]







On August 26, 2013, the Court denied the parties’ Joint Stipulation to continue
the deadline for filing the class-certification motion. (ECF No. 22.) On September
24, 2013, Cabrera filed an Ex Parte Application to continue the filing deadline from
September 26, 2013, to October 28, 2013. (ECF No. 23.) Defendant does not oppose
this continuance. (Id.)

Cabrera contends

that

there

is good cause

to extend

the 90-day

certification-filing deadline because Cabrera “did not conduct discovery for the period
between June 27, 2013 and August 12, 2013 . . . while efforts were made to avoid
duplicative discovery and coordinate with counsel in a second case involving identical
claims.” (Ex Parte Appl. ¶ 2.) Cabrera further asserts that Healthcare Services
Group’s failure to provide some necessary information in its responses to special

Case 2:13-cv-04695-ODW-E Document 24 Filed 09/24/13 Page 2 of 4 Page ID #:440



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interrogatories and document requests and its inability to produce a Rule 30(b)(6)
witness prior to the September 26, 2013 deadline serve as additional good cause for a
continuance. (Id. at ¶¶ 5–6.) The Court disagrees.

Nowhere in Cabrera’s Ex Parte Application does she indicate why this
discovery is so pivotal to her claim or how it is likely to produce information
substantiating her motion for class certification. Absent persuasive evidence that the
propriety of maintaining this case as a class action cannot be determined without the
specific discovery she seeks, the Court is not willing to disregard this Court’s Local
Rules. See Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 571 F.3d 935, 942 (9th Cir.
2009) (a party seeking class certification is not always entitled to certification
discovery, but where the propriety of a class action cannot easily be determined
without discovery “the better and more advisable practice for a District Court to
follow is to afford the litigants an opportunity to present evidence as to whether a
class action was maintainable.”)

Cabrera also makes much of the fact that Defendant Healthcare Services Group
previously stipulated to a 30-day continuance and will not oppose the continuance
sought in her ex parte request. (Ex Parte Appl. 1, 3.) But even if Healthcare Services
Group will not be prejudiced by the delay, “the public business of the court . . . has
been hampered and delayed.” Walker v. Columbia Univ., 62 F.R.D. 63, 64
(S.D.N.Y.1973) (denying class certification even where defendants were not
prejudiced because motion to certify class was untimely).
While Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 does not include a time period, Local

Rule 23-3 provides, “Within 90 days after service of a pleading purporting to
commence a class action . . . the proponent of the class shall file a motion for
certification that the action is maintainable as a class action, unless otherwise ordered
by the Court.” The plain language of Local Rule is clear and unambiguous. To
permit extension of the ninety day deadline would frustrate the purpose of Federal
/ / /


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Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1)(A), which requires the court to determine at “an
early practicable time . . . whether to certify the action as a class action.”

The demand for a timely motion for class certification is premised on sound
practical considerations. A representative plaintiff’s delay in filing for class
certification impedes the court’s consideration of the issue and—more importantly—
can prejudice the rights of the class members. Indeed, “pertinent statutes of limitation
may be running and important interests may be exposed to injury or destruction.”
Jones v. Hartford Ins. Co. of Midwest, 243 F.R.D. 694, 695 (N.D. Fla. 2006). While
the determination of class certification is delayed, members of a putative class “may
be led by the very existence of the lawsuit to neglect their rights until after a negative
ruling on this question—by which time it may be too late for the filing of independent
actions.” (Id.) Of course, these harms are not a concern if the action is ultimately
determined to be properly maintainable as a class action. But that can be known only
after the class-certification motion is filed.

Permitting Cabrera to extend the certification filing deadline while she awaits
discovery responses would subvert the interests of diligence required by Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1)(A). Local Rule 23-3 was written to further the interests of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1)(A)—and the Court will not craft unnecessary
exceptions to hamper them.

Additionally, if Cabrera cannot timely file her motion for class certification,
then it raises questions as to whether she can adequately protect the interests of the
class as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(4). An inability to timely
move for class certification reflects a “failure to protect the interests of class
members” and “surely bears strongly on the adequacy of the representation that those
class members might expect to receive.” E. Tex. Motor Freight Sys., Inc. v.
Rodriguez, 431 U.S. 395, 405, (1977); see also Williams v. S. Bell Tel. and Tel. Co.,
Case No. No. 77-1895-CIV-WMH, 1978 WL 73, at *2 (1978) (failure of plaintiff to
properly and timely move for class determination “raises serious questions as to


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Case 2:13-cv-04695-ODW-E Document 24 Filed 09/24/13 Page 4 of 4 Page ID #:442



whether [s]he will fairly and adequately represent the class and protect their
interests”); Jones, 243 F.R.D. at 695.

This Court will strictly adhere to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as well as
the Local Rules in order to prevent delay and reduce the possibility of abuse in class
actions. Thus, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte Application to continue the
class certification filing deadline. (ECF No. 23.)


IT IS SO ORDERED.

September 24, 2013













____________________________________

UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II




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