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Lax suit date pushed back

The defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought against the city of Durham and 13 individuals by the three former Duke lacrosse players have been granted an extended deadline for their response to the suit.

Chief Judge James Beatty of the middle district of North Carolina of the U.S. District Court entered an order last Thursday that would give defense lawyers until Jan. 15 to respond to the law suit and the plaintiffs 90 days after to file their opposition.

The defense's response was originally scheduled for Dec. 10.

Assistant City Attorney Kim Grantham said the time extension will affect both sides of the case.

"There was a joint motion that established an answer and briefing schedule," she said. "It affects time limitations and briefing as well. The extension lends an advantage to all parties--everyone receives an extended time to fully state their case."

Grantham said the parties jointly decided on the new schedule.

Although she said she could not comment on the frequency of such extensions, she noted that similar extensions are not uncommon in lawsuits with complex litigation.

In their initial lawsuit, lawyers representing former lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans, Trinity '06, requested that an independent monitor be assigned to oversee the Durham Police Department for 10 years in addition to a $30-million settlement and a list of other reforms.

The suit was filed against those believed to have prolonged the rape case in which the former players were falsely accused. Other defendants include DPD members and former Durham district attorney Mike Nifong.

Mayor Bill Bell declined to comment, and City Manager Patrick Baker could not be reached.

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