Pettway v. Bank of America Home Loans et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Motion for leave to withdraw as attorney is GRANTED; Attorney Justina R. Davis Doss terminated; Plaintiff's motion to compel is DENIED for reasons as setout within; The court finds good cause to reopen discovery and to extend the dispositive motions deadline; Schedule is AMENDED as follows: Discovery shall be completed by October 19, 2015 and all dispositive motions shall be filed by November 18, 2015. Signed by Judge William M Acker, Jr on 9/21/15. (SAC )
2015 Sep-21 PM 03:58
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
FELESHA G. PETTWAY,
BANK OF AMERICA HOME LOANS,
(a/k/a BANA, BAC Home Loans), }
CIVIL ACTION NO.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
The court held a status conference in the above entitled
case on September 16, 2015 with a court reporter present.
hearing was precipitated by the reassignment of the case to the
undersigned and by the filing of a motion by Justina Davis Doss
and Rodney Dillard for leave to withdraw as counsel for plaintiff
and a motion by plaintiff filed by her newly appearing counsel,
aimed at withdrawing counsel.
All interested parties, including
plaintiff Felesha Pettway, in person, and Monique Okoye, a nonappearing lawyer, were present.
The court outlined what it
perceived to be the problems at hand, listened to the parties,
and took the matter under advisement.
The first problem to be considered arises from the fact that
the action was originally filed before January 1, 2015 and thus
randomly assigned to a magistrate judge when the local rules
regarding the relationship between magistrate judges and district
judges in civil cases was dramatically different from what it is
Under the old regime the parties had at the outset been
notified of their right to consent to full jurisdiction in the
magistrate judge, without any time limitations to the giving of
that consent but with the understanding that if and when a
dispositive motion was filed or the case otherwise became ready
for trial, and unanimous consent had not been obtained, the case
would be routinely reassigned to a district judge, and if a
dispositive motion was filed the magistrate judge would write a
report and recommendation before any reassignment.
In this case
no dispositive motion was timely filed, so the magistrate judge
deemed the case trial-ready and ordered its reassignment.
magistrate judge’s conclusion that the case is trial-ready is
debatable in light of pending controversies that must be decided
before a final pretrial order is entered, but this court will not
quarrel with the magistrate judge’s conclusion and will assume
jurisdiction over both the unresolved pretrial issues and the
The first issue that must be addressed is the efficacy of
the parties’ dismissal by stipulation of the action as against
defendant Ocwen Loan Servicing (“Ocwen”).
The stipulation of
dismissal was filed by all parties through their then counsel of
record on August 19, 2015 pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A).
stipulation did not require an order by the magistrate judge or
by a district judge.
She signed such an order as a ministerial
matter on August 20, 2015 but dismissal was effective on August
The action as against Ocwen was concluded on August
19, 2015, and the said dismissal has not been timely attacked by
a Rule 59(e) motion.
It is as final as it can be.
Consistent with what the court orally stated at the
September 16, 2015 conference, the court declines to assume
jurisdiction over what appears to be a controversy between
plaintiff and her former counsel, whose motion for leave to
withdraw is hereby GRANTED.
This court notes that on September
16, 2015 plaintiff’s former counsel presented plaintiff’s present
counsel with a disc purporting to contain all pertinent records
in its possession (excluding billing records). Plaintiff’s motion
to compel is accordingly DENIED, but without prejudice to the
presentation of any controversy between plaintiff and her former
counsel to a proper forum.
Because there is a hint that a settlement was reached
between plaintiff, through her former counsel, and defendant
BANA, the court finds good cause to reopen discovery and to
extend the dispositive motions deadline.
schedule is AMENDED as follows:
DISCOVERY – Discovery shall be completed by October 19,
DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS – All dispositive motions shall be
filed by November 18, 2015.
TRIAL – The Court will set a trial date at an
appropriate time, but the trial date will be no earlier
than January 18, 2016.
If the remaining parties think the case is trial-ready and
so inform the court, the court will refer the case to mediation
with or without the joint request of the parties.
The case is a
perfect case for mediation.
DONE this 21st day of September, 2015.
WILLIAM M. ACKER, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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