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In re Complaint of Smithland Towing & Construction, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

June 17, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT OF SMITHLAND TOWING & CONSTRUCTION, LLC, AS TITLE OWNER, AND WRBM, LLC D/B/A WESTERN RIVERS BOAT MANAGEMENT, INC. AS OPERATOR AND OWNER PRO HAC VICE OF THE WILLIAM E. STRAIT, OFFICIAL NO. 270550, FOR EXONERATION FROM OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Claimants Tranika Marie Smith and Rakena Antoinette Smith's (“Claimants”) Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Ferrellgas, LP and Ferrellgas, Inc.'s (“Ferrellgas”) Motion to Dismiss. [R. 106.] Ferrellgas responded. [R. 114.] This matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated herein, Claimants' Motion for Extension of Time to Respond, [R. 106], is GRANTED.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(B), “[w]hen an act may or must be done within a specified time, the court may, for good cause, extend the time on motion made after the time has expired if the party failed to act because of excusable neglect.” “The Supreme Court has said that ‘excusable neglect under Rule 6(b) is a somewhat elastic concept.'” Delta Alcohol Distributors v. Anheuser-Busch Int'l, Inc., 28 F.Supp.3d 682, 686 (E.D. Mich. 2014) (quoting Pioneer Inv. Serv. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd., 507 U.S. 380, 392 (1993)). And “[a]lthough inadvertence, ignorance of the rules, or mistakes construing the rules do not usually constitute ‘excusable' neglect, it is clear that ‘excusable neglect' under Rule 6(b) . . . is not limited strictly to omissions caused by circumstances beyond the control of the movant.” Pioneer Inv. Serv. Co., 507 U.S. at 392.

         DISCUSSION

         In their Motion for Extension of Time, the Claimants request an extension of fourteen days to respond to Ferrellgas's Motion to Dismiss, [R. 75], pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(B). [R. 106 at 1.] Ferrellgas opposes this motion, arguing that the Claimants failed to comply with Local Rule 7.1(b) and that Claimants' actions did not amount to excusable neglect under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(B). [R. 114 at 1.]

A. Local Rule 7.1(b)
Local Rule 7.1(b) provides:
Motions for an Extension of Time.
Subject to any deadlines established by the Court, parties may extend time limits by agreed order. Absent an agreed order, the party seeking the extension must file a motion setting forth the reasons for the extension and whether other parties consent. A response opposing the motion must be filed within 7 days of service of the motion.

LR 7.1(b). Here, Ferrellgas argues that the Claimants failed to contact Ferrellgas in order to ascertain whether it would consent, and, therefore, the Claimants' motion should be denied due to failure to comply with Local Rule 7.1(b). [R. 114 at 2.]

         The Court takes note of Local Rule 7.1 but, consistent with this Court's discretion, will not deny the Claimants the opportunity to respond to Ferrellgas's Motion to Dismiss. The Court believes that equity demands that Claimants be given a fair opportunity to respond to Ferrellgas's allegations. Furthermore, the period of delay here was quite short. To be sure, a deadline is titled as such because a filing is due on or before that date, and not a day or two or fourteen afterwards. However, there is, in practice, a substantial difference between fourteen days and thirty days or forty days. Moreover, when the Claimants filed the instant motion seeking a fourteen-day extension, they also filed, contemporaneously, their proposed Response to Ferrellgas's Motion for Summary Judgment. Thus, the Court will not deny the Claimants the opportunity to respond due to Ferrellgas's argument concerning Local Rule 7.1(b).

         B. Federal Rule of Civil ...


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