Summary Judgment – Can You Get An Extension of Time To Do Discovery?

You cannot count on getting more time to do “discovery” in response to a motion for summary judgment. In Guzman-Ruis v.. Hernandez-Colon the defendant filed motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs received one extension of time to respond, but failed to respond by the extended deadline. Some two months later, plaintiffs requested another extension to conduct further discovery. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of plaintiffs’ motion, stating that such extensions required due diligence both (a)in pursuing discovery before the summary judgment initiative surfaces and (b)in pursuing an extension of time thereafter. Read the opinion here.

To avoid this problem, start your discovery as early as reasonably possible. If the motion for summary judgment comes early, immediately serve the discovery you need and seek the depositions you need. Make sure your motion for an extension does not just ask for “more time;” be specific about what you need. And, for heaven’s sake, if you get an extension do your best to get your discovery done in the time you have been given.