Grant v. Blytheville Arkansas, City of
ORDER denying 7 Motion for Default Judgment; denying as moot 16 Motion for Leave to File. The Court therefore directs the Clerk to set aside the 8 entry of default. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 6/9/2014. (ks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CITY OF BLYTHEVILLE, ARKANSAS
Grant’s amended motion for default judgment, № 7, is denied. At the
outset, the Court notes that service on the City of Blytheville was proper.
Service on a municipal corporation may be made in a manner prescribed by
state law. FED. R. CIV. P. 4(j)(2)(B). And Arkansas law allows service on
municipalities by first-class mail with a notice and acknowledgment. ARK. R.
CIV. P. 4(d)(8)(B). Grant complied with the Rule. № 7-1 & 7-2.
Applying the Pioneer factors and the precedent, and considering all the
material circumstances, the Court sets aside the entry of default against the
City of Blytheville for good cause. FED. R. CIV. P. 55(c); Union Pacific Railroad
Co. v. Progress Rail Services Corp., 256 F.3d 781, 782-83 (8th Cir. 2001). The
City’s reason for the delay in filing its answer is excusable. The Mayor, and
the City employee who reviewed the complaint, mistakenly believed it to be
part of the ongoing investigation about Grant’s termination by the EEOC; they
didn’t realize any action was needed. № 15 at 3, 18-21. It is understandable
that the City could mistake the complaint for more EEOC paperwork. United
States ex rel Shaver v. Lucas Western Corp., 237 F.3d 932, 933 (8th Cir. 2001). The
Court sees no intentional delay or bad faith on the part of the City of
Although the City’s delay was substantial—more than three
months—there was also delay on Grant’s part in seeking the default. The
Court pointed out to Grant that proof of service was needed. № 3. And as
soon as the City was made aware of the lawsuit, it acted quickly to respond.
Johnson v. Dayton Electric Manufacturing Co., 140 F.3d 781, 784 (8th Cir. 1998).
Finally, there is no real prejudice to Grant by allowing the case to proceed on
its normal course. The Court therefore directs the Clerk to set aside the entry
of default, № 8. Grant’s motion for leave to file a surreply, № 16, denied as
D.P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
9 June 2014
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