SE Property Holdings, LLC v. Center et al
Order granting 192 MOTION for Extension of Time of Deadline for Accounting and Memorandum filed by SE Property Holdings, LLC. The deadline for filing its expert report and memorandum as to the accounting is extended 11/20/2017. Responses due by 12/4/2017. Signed by District Judge William H. Steele on 10/23/2017. (tgw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SE PROPERTY HOLDINGS, LLC,
TAMMY T. CENTER, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION 15-0033-WS-C
This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff’s Motion for Extension of Deadline for
Accounting (doc. 192). The Motion has been briefed (see docs. 193 & 194) and is now ripe.
On August 8, 2017, the undersigned entered an Order (doc. 180) directing an accounting
to shed light on the dissipation of fraudulently transferred assets by the transferee defendants. In
conjunction with that directive, the August 8 Order fixed a deadline of September 27, 2017 for
SEPH to file its expert’s report documenting the results of that accounting, as well as a
supporting memorandum of law. By Order (doc. 185) entered on September 13, 2017, the Court
extended that deadline through October 18, 2017 based on SEPH’s representation that it needed
additional documents from defendants and its accountant required more time to complete her
analysis and corresponding report.
In its timely Motion for Extension, SEPH now requests a second enlargement of time for
submitting its accountant’s report. According to plaintiff, a 21-day extension is needed because
its accountant is still awaiting certain documentation and information from defendants. In their
Response (doc. 193), defendants agree that an extension of the deadline for completing the
accounting is appropriate; however, defendants request that the accounting process be continued
for a much longer period of time, through February 2018. As grounds for this request,
defendants assert that (i) a 21-day continuance is insufficient to enable defendants to respond to
plaintiff’s latest request for new information; and (ii) the impending resolution of cross-motions
for summary judgment in the related Bama Bayou proceedings in state court may obviate the
need an accounting altogether. Defendants’ proposed extension of the accounting deadline
would run through February 2018 to match the continuance granted by this Court of the jury trial
setting in related proceedings styled SE Property Holdings, LLC v. George S. Braswell et al.,
Civil Action 13-0267-WS-N.
Insofar as defendants’ position is that SEPH’s accounting-related requests for information
are excessively burdensome and that compliance is not possible within a 21-day period, it does
not appear that counsel have sought to work these issues out among themselves before presenting
the matter to the undersigned. (See doc. 193, ¶¶ 6, 9, 10.) The Court is sensitive to concerns that
information being requested in the accounting may be unduly burdensome or that production of
the subject materials may not be reasonably achievable within the allotted time frame. But
counsel must first attempt to resolve those issues themselves. If, based on those discussions,
they reach agreement that the information requests should be circumscribed in some way and/or
that defendants reasonably require additional time to comply, then they may follow up with an
appropriate joint motion to extend the accounting deadline further. If, however, they are unable
to reach good-faith agreement on these matters, then the Court will consider any motion for relief
from the information requests and/or the accounting deadline that defendants may file. At
present, there has been no showing that judicial intervention is necessary for what is essentially a
difference of opinion as to the scope and timing of discovery.
As for defendants’ suggestion that the accounting deadline in this case should be
extended in a manner commensurate with the continuance in Braswell, the trouble is that the two
cases are not similarly situated. Here, a multi-day trial has already been conducted and
completed. The parties have already completed post-trial briefing. And the Court has already
entered an extensive Order making the requisite findings of fact and conclusions of law as to
liability. The only outstanding questions relate to remedy, and resolution of those issues should
not consume extensive additional litigant or judicial resources above and beyond those
previously expended. By contrast, Braswell is set for jury selection and trial, which would
require a considerable commitment of litigant, judicial and juror resources to conduct. The
calculus for delay pending a Bama Bayou ruling is thus materially different in the two actions
because Center is much further along in the litigation process than Braswell is. Simply put, most
of the heavy lifting has already been done here. Upon balancing the equitable considerations on
both sides, in the exercise of its discretion, the Court finds that it is appropriate to move forward
with the accounting process in this case at this time, inasmuch as that is the only remaining step
for entry of final judgment herein.
For all of the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s Motion for Extension of Deadline is granted.
Plaintiff’s deadline for filing its expert report and memorandum as to the accounting is extended
through November 20, 2017. Defendants’ corresponding deadline for filing a response is
extended through December 4, 2017. No further enlargement of these deadlines will be granted
except upon a showing of diligence and good cause, as well as a certification that the parties
have worked together in good faith to attempt to resolve any disagreements about the scope of
SEPH’s information requests or the time reasonably needed for defendants to comply with same.
DONE and ORDERED this 23rd day of October, 2017.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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