Martin Eng. Co. v. CVP Group, Inc., No. 06 C 4687, 2006 WL 3541777 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 7, 2006) (Cole, J.).

Judge Cole granted defendant’s motion for a 21 day extension to respond to written discovery requests.  Plaintiff refused to agree to the extension (for discovery due eight months prior to the close of fact discovery) and filed a written objection to defendant’s motion citing a "pattern of dilatory conduct."  As examples of the pattern, plaintiff identified two items.  First, that it took defendant two weeks to respond to plaintiff’s settlement offer, and only then after repeated calls from plaintiff.  And second, that defendant’s Rule 26 disclosures were served nearly two weeks late.  The Court made clear that it did not condone a party ignoring the Court’s deadlines or delay more generally, but noted that "not all delays are the same."

Plaintiff’s objection to the extension ignored defendant’s justification for its request.  Defendant’s counsel, a solo practitioner, was involved in another case in the Northern District in which Judge Kocoras had recently ordered that fact discovery close a few weeks after defendant’s responses were do in this case, requiring that defendant’s counsel devote "significant time" to the other case.

Based on defendant’s explanation, the Court stated that "the request was reasonable, and the plaintiff’s response (and ensuing written objection) quite the opposite and needlessly required the expenditure of time that could have been more profitably utilized."  The Court also noted general concerns among some of the Northern District judges regarding "the needless conflict involved in the day-to-day interactions among lawyers" citing articles by Judge Gettleman, We Can Do Better, 25 LITIGATION 3 (Summer 1999), Judge Kennelly, From Lawyer To Judge, 2001 LITIGATION 3 (Summer 2001), and Judge Shadur, Hardball Litigators, 20 LITIGATION 21 (1993).  Unfortunately, the articles are no longer available online, but you may be able to get copies from the ABA here.