In court Wednesday, a U.S. District Court Magistrate said if the Donald Trump Administration doesn’t take the deposition of the plaintiffs in the Juliana v. United States case — the climate lawsuit brought by 21 young plaintiffs —it forfeits its right to take their deposition.

During a case management conference, Judge Thomas Coffin told attorneys for the administration, “the government is not in charge of how we proceed with discovery.”

Coffin told attorneys for the plaintiffs that the court is able to admit statements found in government documents without the defendants admitting those facts.

Plaintiff Alex Loznak said the government decided to flip flop on its earlier decision to take the plaintiff’s testimony over the summer when they were available.

“The major take away today was the judge told the government if you don’t take the plaintiff’s depositions over the summer you forfeit you’re right to take the depositions,” Loznak said.

He said the attorneys for the administration said they would potentially take the despositions at a later date.

“The judge wasn’t having any of that,” Loznak said.

He said he believes the government is trying to delay the process and avoid having to turn over documents the plaintiffs are asking for in the discovery process.

“What we have is essentially the government trying to hide the truth and not hand over these very important documents that will likely show how bad their policies have been,” Loznak said.

In March, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the administration’s petition to have the case dismissed.

The federal government had claimed the evidence discovery process was too burdensome and the case should not go to trial. But the judges wrote in a statement the administration did not establish that it would be harmed by the discovery process.

Currently, Loznak said the government is deciding whether or not to take the case to the Supreme Court to get it dismissed.

“I just say stay tuned for that,” Loznak said.

The trial is set for Oct. 29.

Saphara Harrell can be reached at 541-957-4216 or sharrell@nrtoday.com. Or on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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Crime and Natural Resources Reporter

Saphara Harrell is the crime and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She previously worked at The World in Coos Bay. Follow her on Twitter @daisysaphara.

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