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Daniels v. The Carter-Jones Lumber Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 17, 2018

CLARA DANIELS, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
THE CARTER-JONES LUMBER COMPANY, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen Lipton Hollander, United States District Judge.

         In this tort litigation, plaintiffs Clara Daniels and Robert Daniels have sued The Carter-Jones Lumber Company, d/b/a Carter Lumber Company ("Carter Lumber"), and E3 Holdings, LLC, d/b/a EnerLux Windows and Doors ("EnerLux"). See ECF 26 ("Amended Complaint").[1]They allege, inter alia, that due to the negligence of EnerLux and Carter Lumber, Ms. Daniels sustained physical injuries while inspecting custom made windows that fell on her. Id.

         Several motions are now pending before the Court. On January 16, 2018, EnerLux filed a "Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' Supplemental Rule 26(a)(2) Disclosures" of expert witnesses (ECF 45), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 45-1) (collectively, the "Motion to Strike"), and exhibits. See ECF 45-2 through ECF 45-7. Carter Lumber has joined in the Motion to Strike. ECF 46. Plaintiffs oppose to the Motion to Strike (ECF 52), with a memorandum of law (ECF 52-1) and exhibits. See ECF 52-2 through ECF 52-4. EnerLux has replied (ECF 55), with a supporting memorandum of law (ECF 55-1) and additional exhibits. See ECF 55-2 through ECF 55-4.

         Plaintiffs subsequently filed a "Motion for Leave to File a Sur Reply in Further Opposition . .." to the Motion to Strike (ECF 60), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 60-1) (collectively, the "Surreply Motion") and an exhibit. See ECF 60-2. In the Surreply Motion, plaintiffs ask the Court to grant leave to file a surreply "because EnerLux made arguments in its Reply Memorandum" that are "in direct violation of the deadlines and Procedures set by the Court's 1-17-18 Order." ECF 60 (citing ECF 48). Defendants have not responded to the Surreply Motion (see Docket), and the time to do so has expired. See Local Rule 105.2.a ("[A]ll memoranda in opposition to a motion shall be filed within fourteen (14) days of the service of the motion[.]").

         On January 17, 2018, EnerLux filed a "Motion in Limine for Pre-Trial Order Precluding Plaintiff, Robert Daniels From Offering Expert Testimony" (ECF 47), along with a memorandum of law (ECF 47-1) (collectively, the "Motion in Limine"), and one exhibit. See ECF 47-2 (portions of the deposition transcript of Mr. Daniels). Plaintiffs oppose the Motion in Limine (ECF 53), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 53-1) and more than a hundred pages of exhibits. See ECF 53-2 through ECF 53-5. EnerLux has filed a reply (ECF 59), along with a memorandum of law (ECF 59-1) and additional exhibits. See ECF 59-2; ECF 59-3.[2]

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rules 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall deny, as moot, the Motion to Strike and the Surreply Motion. And, I shall deny, without prejudice, the Motion in Limine, on the ground that it is premature.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background[3]

         Clara and Robert Daniels are residents of West Virginia. ECF 26, ¶¶ 4-5. EnerLux is a manufacturer of windows. Id. ¶ 6. Carter Lumber is a "building supply company." Id. ¶ 10.

         In 2014, plaintiffs purchased custom manufactured windows from EnerLux for their home in West Virginia, which was then under construction. Id. ¶¶ 4-5, 12, 15-16. EnerLux had the windows delivered to Carter Lumber, which was to store them at its premises in Hagerstown, Maryland, until they were ready for installation. Id. ¶¶ 12', 16-17, 19, 70.

         On April 11, 2014, plaintiffs arrived at Carter Lumber to inspect the windows. Id. ¶¶ 18, 20. Plaintiffs aver that Ms. Daniels was concerned about the way in which the windows had been packed (id. ¶ 23), and apparently climbed aboard the tractor trailer to inspect the windows for damage. Id. ¶ 28. Employees of Carter Lumber began to offload the windows from the tractor trailer (id. ¶ 27), and Ms. Daniels "stood inside the truck so that she could observe each window as it was removed to determine whether there had been any damage" due to the "packing and transport[.]" Id. ¶ 28. According to plaintiffs, after nearly all of the windows had been removed from the truck, and while Ms. Daniels "was standing alone in the trailer", several large windows "toppled" onto her (id. ¶ 30), causing serious injuries to Ms. Daniels. Id. ¶¶ 36.

         Plaintiffs filed suit in April 2017 (ECF 1) ("Complaint"), and lodged an Amended Complaint in August 2017 (ECF 26). Judge J. Frederick Motz, to whom the case was initially assigned, issued a Scheduling Order on June 20, 2017 (ECF 19), with a discovery deadline of October 19, 2017. Id. at 2. That deadline was subsequently extended to November 29, 2017. See ECF 28 (Joint Motion); ECF 29 (Order).

         The case was reassigned to me on October 24, 2017. See Docket. By Order of November 30, 2017 (ECF 41), I granted the parties' Joint Motion for Modification of the Scheduling Order (ECF 39), extending the discovery deadline to January 15, 2018. See ECF 41. On January 16, 2018, plaintiffs unilaterally asked the Court to modify the Scheduling Order so as to provide additional time to issue expert reports and depose three medical experts: "Dr. Thomas Amalfitano, Laura Fox and Dr. Steven Worrell." ECF 44.

         By Order signed January 16, 2018 (ECF 48), and docketed on January 17, 2018, 1 granted the motion, extending the discovery deadline to February 28, 2018. Id. However, I also granted defendants the opportunity, by January 24, 2018, to move to rescind the Order. Id. Notably, defendants never moved to rescind. See Docket.

         Also on January 16, 2018, EnerLux filed its Motion to Strike. ECF 45. It seems that the motion was docketed after the Court had already approved ECF ...


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