United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court are two motions from Defendant (Docs. 17, 31) and
one motion from Plaintiff (Doc. 27) . First, Defendant moves
to strike Plaintiff's "Reply from Defendant's
Answer to Plaintiff['s] First Amended Complaint"
(Doc. 16). Second, Defendant moves under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56(d) to extend the response deadline to
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment so Defendant can
conduct additional discovery. Finally, Plaintiff filed a
Motion to Submit Evidence and Summary into the Record. For
the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motions are both
GRANTED, and Plaintiff's motion is
DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
proceeding pro se, filed this employment
discrimination case alleging Defendant violated the Americans
with Disabilities Act, as amended ("ADA"), during
Plaintiff's time as a sales representative at Advance
Auto Parts. (See generally Am. Compl., Doc. 7.)
Defendant waived service and filed its Answer to
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint on November 26, 2018. (Doc.
13.) In response to Defendant's Answer, Plaintiff filed a
"Reply" containing numerous factual and legal
arguments. (See Doc. 16.) Shortly thereafter,
Plaintiff moved for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 19.) On
May 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Submit Evidence and
Summary into the Record seeking to admit medical records,
emails, and text messages relevant to her case. (Doc. 27.)
Most recently, on May 21st, Plaintiff moved for summary
judgment. (Doc. 28.)
case is currently in the midst of discovery, which is
scheduled to end on July 8, 2019. (Order of Mar. 12, 2019,
Doc. 2 6.) Defendant contends that it still needs to conduct
a substantial amount of discovery, including deposing
Plaintiff, serving third-party subpoenas on Plaintiff s
health care providers, obtaining declarations or affidavits
from named witnesses, resolving two discovery disputes with
Plaintiff, and obtaining additional documents from the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") . (Decl.
of Wm. Robert Gignilliat, IV ("Gignilliat Decl."),
Doc. 34-1, ¶ 13.) Accordingly, Defendant requests the
Court extend its deadline to respond to Plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment until after discovery closes.
Defendant's Motion to Strike
moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) to strike
Plaintiff's "Reply" to Defendant's Answer.
(Doc. 17.) Plaintiff filed a response indicating she does not
oppose the motion to strike. (Doc. 18.)
Answer did not contain any counterclaims against Plaintiff
that might have required a response, nor did the Court order
Plaintiff to file a reply to the Answer. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's "Reply" to Defendant's Answer
is improper. See 5 Charles A. Wright & Arthur R.
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1185
at 27 (3d ed. 2004) ("Absent a counterclaim denominated
as such, a reply to an answer ordinarily is unnecessary and
improper in federal practice.") Plaintiff's
"Reply from Defendant's Answer to Plaintiff['s]
First Amended Complaint" (Doc. 16) shall be struck from
Defendant's Motion for Extension
Court next turns to Defendant's motion under Rule 56(d)
to extend the deadline for it to respond to Plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment and for the Court to defer ruling
on the motion until discovery is completed. (Doc. 31.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) provides: "If a nonmovant
shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified
reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its
opposition, the court may (1) defer considering the motion or
deny it; (2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations
or to take discovery; or (3) issue any other appropriate
order." In the Eleventh Circuit, "the party
opposing a motion for summary judgment should be permitted an
adequate opportunity to complete discovery prior to
consideration of the motion." Jones v. City of
Columbus, Ga., 120 F.3d 248, 253 (11th Cir. 1997).
Similarly, "[s]ummary judgment is premature when a party
is not provided a reasonable opportunity to discover
information essential to his opposition." Smith v.
Fla. Dep't of Corr., 713 F.3d 1059, 1064 (11th Cir.
2013) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 250 n.5 (1986)).
invoking Rule 56(d) a party "may not simply rely on
vague assertions that additional discovery will produce
needed, but unspecified facts," rather the party must
specifically demonstrate how delaying a ruling on the motion
will enable it to rebut the movant's showing that there
is no genuine issue of material fact. Reflectone, Inc. v.
Farrand Optical Co., 862 F.2d 841, 843-44 (11th Cir.
1989) (internal quotations omitted).
intends to conduct a substantial amount of discovery before
the July 8th deadline, all of which it contends will be
relevant to the issues presented in Plaintiff's motion
for summary judgment. (Gignilliat Decl., ¶¶ 13-14.)
First, Defendant believes Plaintiff is improperly withholding
discoverable documents because Plaintiff only produced
eighteen documents during discovery but submitted sixty-four
documents in her Motion to Submit Evidence. Defendant is
prepared to file a motion to compel these documents if
Plaintiff does not produce them. Second, Defendant has not
been able to depose Plaintiff. This may also require
Defendant to file a motion to compel based on its
communications with Plaintiff regarding scheduling a
deposition. Third, Defendant intends to serve third-party
subpoenas on Plaintiff's ...