United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
TRACEY LAZO, JAMEN HARPER, MUSTAPHA JARRAF, NY'COLE YOUNG THOMAS, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SODEXO, INC., Defendant.
A. O'TOOLE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the Court are three motions: the
plaintiffs' first Motion for Class Certification (dkt.
no. 32), the plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Class
Certification (dkt. no. 61), and the defendant's Motion
to Strike the Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Class
Certification (dkt. no. 63). The competing motions flow from
the parties' disparate interpretations of various court
original deadline for the filing of the plaintiffs' class
certification motion was May 30, 2016, one month after the
close of Phase I fact discovery on (1) the merits of the
plaintiffs' individual claims and (2) whether class
certification is appropriate. One week before the close of
Phase I fact discovery and five weeks before the
plaintiffs' certification motion was due, the defendant
moved to compel discovery and to extend the Phase I discovery
period. The plaintiffs did not oppose the request for an
extension and, although they did not raise the question with
the Court prior to their motion deadline, appear to represent
that they believed the motion “would necessarily and
reasonably have entailed extending the deadline for
submission of the Plaintiffs' motion for class
certification.” (Pls.' Reply to Def.'s
Opp'n to Pls.' Am. Mot. for Class Certification 5
(dkt. no. 76); accord Pls.' Opp'n to
Def.'s Mot. to Strike Pls.' Mot. for Class
Certification 1-2 (dkt. no. 40).) The plaintiffs filed their
Motion to Certify Class on June 16, 2016, and the defendant
moved to strike the motion as untimely.
subsequent hearing on the then-pending motions, which also
included a summary judgment motion and a motion to strike the
summary judgment motion, the Court indicated it considered
the appropriate resolution to be a “Chapter 11
reorganization” where the parties would “just
start again.” (Nov. 18, 2016 Tr. Mot. Hearing 10 (dkt.
no. 59).) The Court permitted the defendant to take
additional discovery in the form of depositions of the
plaintiffs, and proposed that after discovery was completed,
“there will be a motion to certify. It will be a new
motion, and there will be a response, and we'll deal with
it.” (Id. 11; see also id. 14
(suggesting a “new motion to recast” the proposed
class definition).) Both before and after the Court outlined
that course of action, the defendant argued that the
plaintiffs should not be permitted to file a new motion to
certify and that, after the defendant took additional
discovery, it should oppose the then-pending motion to
certify. Ultimately, the parties and Court agreed to extend
Phase I discovery for the defendant through January 31, 2017,
and to set the “deadline to oppose class
certification” for February 17, 2017. (Id. 15;
see also Nov. 18, 2017 Clerk's Note (dkt. no.
February 2, 2017, the plaintiffs filed their Amended Motion
for Class Certification. On February 7, the defendant moved
to strike the amended motion to certify and, on February 17,
opposed the plaintiffs' original Motion for Class
Certification. The plaintiffs contend that the amended motion
is based upon the “explicit statement” and
“plain instructions” that the plaintiffs
“would file a ‘new motion' for class
certification and there would be a Defendant's response
to that motion after discovery was completed.”
(Pls.' Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Strike Pls.'
Am. Mot. for Class Certification 1, 3 (dkt. no. 69); see
also id. 2 (describing that they filed their amended
motion “[i]n accordance with this Court's plain
instructions”).) The defendant maintains that the
plaintiffs' amended motion is untimely as it was
“clear” at the hearing and in the Clerk's
Note that the Court “did not allow a new class
certification.” (Def.'s Reply Mem. of Law in Supp.
of Def.'s Mot. to Strike Pls.' Am. Mot. for Class
Certification 2 (dkt. no. 73).)
of what the Court intended with respect to the various
deadlines, the only thing that is clear from the current
posture of the case is that the resolution of the scheduling
issues surrounding class certification was unclear. While the
better-and most cost-efficient-course would have been for the
parties simply to seek clarification before engaging in
further motion practice, the Court takes plaintiffs'
counsel at their word regarding their understanding of the
purported ambiguities and therefore finds good cause to
consider the plaintiffs' amended certification motion as
timely filed and the original motion replaced. See
the plaintiffs' first Motion for Class Certification
(dkt. no. 32) is MOOT and the defendant's Motion to
Strike (dkt. no. 63) is DENIED. The defendant's
opposition to the plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Class
Certification is due within twenty-one (21) days of this
Order,  and any reply by the plaintiffs is due
fourteen (14) days thereafter.
 The plaintiffs also assert that the
defendant did not complete its document production until May
25, 2016, five days prior to the original certification
 Hours before the hearing, the parties
filed a stipulation of dismissal of the plaintiffs'
individual claims, which, among other things, called into
question the pertinence of the pending motion to compel.
Additionally, the day before the hearing, new counsel entered
an appearance on behalf of the plaintiffs.
 With respect to the defendant's
contention that the Court cannot extend the deadlines without
a motion by the plaintiff, see Fed.R.Civ.P.
6(b)(1)(B), the Court notes that the defendant's motion
to extend Phase I discovery, which the plaintiffs maintain
would result in extending the motion for class certification
deadline, was filed before the original deadline passed and
the plaintiffs' amended motion was filed before the
purported extended deadline expired. Of course, in light of
the confusion, it would not have been misguided to have
protectively sought an extension.
 The Court is mindful that the
defendant has already expended the time and costs of opposing
the original motion. However, in light of the conflicting
interpretations of the Court's scheduling orders, the
defendant likewise could have sought clarification or a ...