Polk plaintiffs file another motion to extend lawsuit

A motion filed by plaintiffs in the Polk Center closure lawsuit seeks to extend the existing schedule of the suit out of necessity.

Tom York, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, filed the motion on Friday. In it, he asks the court to consider that the original scheduling order, entered Aug. 20, 2020, was delayed by the pandemic, and “other unexpected matters” caused the case to not develop “as previously expected.”

While two motions remain pending — a motion for intervention by representatives of Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRPA), and one to certify class — York argues that the stalemate will continue.

Defendants’ counsel, York writes, “has more than once advised that (they) will object to discovery if they believe it is inappropriate without a ruling on the class certification and without a decision on whether there will be an intervenor.”

“Defendants’ counsel has further indicated that the defendants will not file their opposing brief to the motion to certify class until the motion for intervention is decided because defendants believe the proposed intervenors should have input on the class certification.”

The motion to certify class was filed Sept. 30, 2020.

The motion to intervene was filed Oct. 7, 2020.

Furthermore, York writes, several of the deadlines in the most recent order are expiring soon, or have already expired.

The deadline for expert reports, for example, had been set at July 31.

However, York writes, because the defense’s answer to the original complaint was filed Aug. 10 of this year, there was no way for parties to choose experts to interview, nor for those experts to “appropriately focus their reports on the issues, without knowing any alleged defenses or any disputed facts as contained in the answer…”

York asks the court for an extension of “approximately three months” to “allow a fair and reasonable development of the case.

For those deadlines already passed,” York writes, “the suggested deadlines are three months from the present date.”

York relates in his motion that defense counsel was contacted Sept. 14 concerning the request, and “needed to consult with defendants” before indicating on Sept. 16 that “she agrees with a three-month extension…”

A proposed updated scheduling order, also filed by York on Friday, suggests modifications as follows:

Addition of parties or amendment of pleadings should be due for plaintiffs by Dec. 15, 2021, and for defendants by Dec. 30.

Expert reports, also, should be due for plaintiffs by Dec. 15 York suggests, and for defendants by Jan. 15, 2022.

York suggests Jan. 31, 2021, for fact and expert discovery, and dispositive motions by Feb. 28.