The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary R. Jones United States Magistrate Judge
On May 16, 2011, the Court entered a Case Management and Scheduling Order (Doc. 22) which a established a discovery deadline of August 15, 2011. The Court subsequently granted extensions of the discovery period to both parties, with discovery concluding on November 29, 2011. Pursuant to the initial Case Management and Scheduling Order, dispositive motions are due within 20 days of the end of the discovery period.
Should neither party file a motion for summary judgment and the case becomes ready to proceed to trial, the Case Management and Scheduling Order provides that a "second, brief discovery period will be provided for trial preparation for those claims which will be going to trial." (Doc. 22.) In accordance with this provision of the Case Management and Scheduling Order, the parties shall file separate status reports providing in detail what, if any, additional discovery is required in the second discovery period and how much additional time is needed to complete discovery for trial preparation. If no additional discovery is required the parties shall advise the Court in the status reports that this matter should be set for trial.
Further, because of the nature of the claims in this case the parties are encouraged to consider consenting to trial before a magistrate judge. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) and N.D. Fla. Loc. R. 73.1, the parties may consent to full trial before the undersigned, a magistrate judge. Upon consent of the parties a magistrate judge may conduct any or all proceedings in a jury or non-jury civil matter and order entry of judgment in the case. The parties would have the same right of appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upon entry of a final judgment. The parties, of course, are entirely free to withhold such consent without any adverse consequences. If Plaintiff desires to consent, the form shall be signed and forwarded to Defendants' counsel. If Defendants consent, the form shall be signed and filed with the Clerk of Court.
In the event the parties advise in their status reports that each of them is prepared for trial, and the parties consent to trial before the undersigned magistrate judge, the Clerk is directed to refer the case to the undersigned and a trial will be scheduled for a date certain consistent with the schedule of counsel. If consent is not given, the Clerk shall refer the file to a district judge for scheduling the trial consistent with the district judges' trial schedule.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED:
1. The parties shall file motions for summary judgment, if any, on or before December 19, 2011.
2. If no party has filed a dispositive motion on or before December 19, 2011, the parties are directed to file their status reports with the Court on or before January 3, 2012 advising the Court of the status of discovery and whether this case is ready to proceed to trial.
3. The Clerk shall send the parties a consent from in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(2).
4. If Plaintiff wishes to consent to trial by a magistrate judge he shall sign the form and send it to Defendants' counsel on or before January 3, 2012. If Defendants consent, the form shall be signed and returned within 10 days of receipt.
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