United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER AFFIRMING MAY 30, 2019 AND OCTOBER 17, 2019
ORDERS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Christine M. Arguello United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court upon the May 30, 2019 (Doc. # 111)
and October 17, 2019 (Doc. # 135) Orders by Magistrate Judge
Crews, which granted Plaintiff's Motions to Strike
Defendant's expert disclosures from April 30, 2019 (Doc.
# 107), and July 1, 2019 (Doc. # 118), respectively.
Defendant Mr. James Stahl filed Objections to these Orders on
June 13, 2019 (Doc. # 114), and October 31, 2019 (Doc. #
140). For the reasons that follow, the Court overrules
Defendant's Objections and affirms the Orders.
CAR ACCIDENT AND RESULTING INSURANCE CLAIMS
October of 2016, Defendant Mr. James Stahl
(“Stahl”), and Ms. Karen Zohar, a third party,
were involved in a car accident in Colorado on I-70 West. Ms.
Zohar was driving her personal vehicle and she carried $50,
000 in bodily injury liability coverage. Stahl was driving a
work vehicle that was insured by Plaintiff Owners Insurance
Company (“Owners”) with a $1, 000, 000
underinsured motorist policy. After the accident, both
vehicles pulled to the side of the road. Neither party called
the police nor requested an ambulance, and no accident report
was filed. Other than minor paint scratches, there was no
damage to the vehicles.
days after the accident, Stahl sought medical treatment for
pain in his neck. (Doc. # 130 at 13.) Stahl's x-rays
showed chronic degenerative changes to the C5-6 and C6-7
parts of his spine, and he eventually had surgery in March
2017 to correct this. (Id. at 14.) Stahl claims that
his neck surgery and permanent spinal injuries were caused by
the collision with Ms. Zohar. (Doc. # 88 at 3.)
Ms. Zohar admitted liability for the accident and her
insurance paid Stahl the maximum amount allowed under her
policy: $50, 000. After calculating his total losses as a
result of the collision at $875, 000, Stahl submitted a claim
to Owners for $825, 000-the outstanding amount not covered by
Ms. Zohar's policy. On January 29, 2017, Owners told
Stahl that his claim was denied. Owners then initiated the
instant case, seeking a declaratory judgment that Stahl was
not entitled to receive underinsured motorists benefits.
MAGISTRATE CREWS' ORDERS STRIKING EXPERT
May 30, 2019 Order
13, 2018, Magistrate Judge Crews set November 14, 2018 as the
deadline for the disclosure of affirmative experts. (Doc. #
34.) Because of a motion by Stahl on October 29, 2018 (Doc. #
62), the court extended the deadline for disclosure of
affirmative experts to January 28, 2019 (Doc. # 64). On
January 25, 2019, Stahl again requested an extension of all
remaining deadlines, including expert deadlines. (Doc. # 70).
Because Magistrate Judge Crews concluded that Stahl had not
demonstrated good cause for extending any of the deadlines,
the court denied the motion. (Doc. # 80.) Stahl did not
disclose any experts by the deadline.
March 7, 2019, after conducting additional discovery, Owners
amended its Complaint to include a claim that Stahl
negligently caused the accident with Ms. Zohar, and
therefore, was not entitled to any benefits under Owners'
insurance policy. On April 16, 2019, at a status conference
to discuss what additional discovery was necessary as a
result of the amendment, Stahl proposed to significantly
expand discovery. (Doc. # 111 at 3.) Magistrate Judge Crews
interpreted Stahl's proposal as an attempt to circumvent
his prior denial of Stahl's deadline extension request.
(Id. at 3-4.) The court expressed that any
additional discovery should be limited to the narrow issue of
accident causation raised by Owners' Amended Complaint.
Both parties submitted discovery briefs on April 30, 2019.
same day, more than ninety days past the expert disclosure
deadline, Stahl served Owners with his Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)
expert disclosures and reports, which opined on a wide range
of issues, including those that had been at issue since the
beginning of the case. This was done in the absence
of a court order allowing additional expert
disclosures and without Stahl first seeking leave of
the court to make the designations. (Doc. # 111 at
4.) Owners moved to exclude these experts (Doc. # 107), and
the court granted Owners' motion (Doc. # 111). Stahl
timely appealed that Order. (Doc. # 114.)
Magistrate Judge Crews issued a Discovery Order on May 31,
2019 allowing Stahl to designate one rebuttal expert to
testify on the limited issue of whether Ms. Zohar or Stahl
caused the accident. (Doc. # 113.)