Thursday, December 9, 2010

Updates on Benson et al v. City of Chicago et al

The attorneys for both Benson and the City of Chicago have agreed to continue discovery through March 31, 2011. Discovery had been scheduled to end on January 7, 2011. They filed an Agreed Motion to Extend Fact Discovery this past Friday. There has been no ruling by Judge Ronald Guzman yet on whether to accept this Agreed Motion.

This passage seems to indicate some legal wrangling over the scope of the discovery:
Notwithstanding the parties’ respective timely responses to discovery and production of documents, the parties have, in response to various discovery requests, disputed the permissible scope of discovery in this case. For example, the parties have disagreed about the permissible scope of document requests and whether certain depositions are appropriate. Nonetheless, for over a month, the parties have engaged, and continue to engage, in good-faith negotiations to come to agreement on these issues—or at least to narrow the ultimate scope of disagreement. Despite these efforts, complete agreement does not appear likely and thus the parties anticipate that some of these issues will soon be brought before the Court in the form of motions to compel or to quash. But the parties continue to work to refine and narrow the ultimate issues that will be litigated.
The more important news contained within this motion is that the plaintiffs plan to file a Second Amended Complaint which will probably add another plaintiff, add another count to the complaint, and some more factual detail.

The bigger news in this case is that Judge Guzman has denied the motions by the City of Chicago to reassign both Ezell et al v. Chicago and Second Amendment Arms et al v. Chicago to his court. Ezell is the case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation challenging the ban on gun ranges and Second Amendment Arms is an independent case brought by attorney Walter Maksym.

Judge Guzman gave the following reason for denying the motions:
Plaintiffs seek to have Ezell v. City of Chicago, 10 C 5135, pending before Judge Kendall, and Second Amendment Arms v. City of Chicago, 10 C 4257, pending before Judge Dow, reassigned to this Court. The case before Judge Kendall is in a different procedural posture than this one. She has already held a hearing on and denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, a ruling that is currently pending before the Seventh Circuit. The case before Judge Dow is broader in scope than this one. The plaintiffs in that case seek restitution, damages and a writ of mandamus, claims not asserted here. Given the substantial differences between those cases and this one, reassignment is not appropriate. See Local Rule 40.4.
I should point out that it was actually the defendants and not the plaintiffs who sought to have the cases transferred to Judge Guzman. The plaintiffs in all the cases had vigorously sought not to have the cases transferred but probably none so strongly as Alan Gura in the Ezell case.

This last part is very good news.

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