UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ALL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT AT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 1000 The Lazarenkos' motion for leave to add the "undue delay" affirmative defense. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on January 4, 2018. (MA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
ALL ASSETS HELD AT BANK JULIUS, )
Baer & Company, Ltd., Guernsey
Branch, account number 121128, in the
Name of Pavlo Lazarenko et al.,
Defendants In Rem.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civil Action No. 04-0798 (PLF)
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion [Dkt. No. 1000] of claimants Pavel
Lazarenko and the Lazarenko children for leave to add an undue delay defense. The Court has
carefully considered the motion and its exhibits, the opposition filed by the United States, and
the Lazarenkos’ reply. While captioned as a motion for leave to add a defense, it is in reality a
motion for reconsideration of this Court’s Opinion and Order of January 10, 2017, denying the
original motion to add an undue delay defense. See United States v. All Assets Held at Bank
Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., 229 F. Supp. 3d 62 (D.D.C. 2017). The Court previously has described
the factual and procedural history of this case in numerous prior opinions and will not repeat it
See, e.g., United States v. All Assets Held at Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., 251
F. Supp. 3d 82, 85-87 (D.D.C. 2017); United States v. All Assets Held at Bank Julius Baer &
Co., Ltd., 307 F.R.D. 249, 250-51 (D.D.C. 2014); United States v. All Assets Held at Bank Julius
Baer & Co., Ltd., 959 F. Supp. 2d 81, 84-94 (D.D.C. 2013); United States v. All Assets Held at
“Motions for reconsideration are not specifically addressed in the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. While the most analogous rule is Rule 60, which provides relief from a final
judgment or order, motions to reconsider interlocutory orders are not governed by Rule 60(b),
but rather, such determinations ‘are within the discretion of the trial court,’” Estate of Klieman v.
Palestinian Auth., 82 F. Supp. 3d 237, 241-42 (D.D.C. 2015) (quoting Keystone Tobacco Co. v.
U.S. Tobacco Co., 217 F.R.D. 235, 237 (D.D.C. 2003)), and relief may be provided “as justice
requires.” Capitol Sprinkler Inspection, Inc. v. Guest Servs., Inc., 630 F.3d 217, 227 (D.C. Cir.
2011); Ali v. Carnegie Inst. of Washington, 309 F.R.D. 77, 80 (D.D.C. 2015); see also FED. R.
CIV. P. 54(b) (“. . . any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than
all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to
any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment
adjudicating all the claims and all the parties’ rights and liabilities.”). “Notwithstanding the
broad discretion of a court to reconsider its own interlocutory decisions, however, and ‘in light of
the need for finality in judicial decision-making,’ district courts should only reconsider
interlocutory orders ‘when the movant demonstrates (1) an intervening change in the law; (2) the
discovery of new evidence not previously available; or (3) a clear error of law in the first order.’”
Estate of Klieman v. Palestinian Auth., 82 F. Supp. 3d at 242 (quoting In re Vitamins Antitrust
Litig., No. 99-1097, 2000 WL 34230081, at *1 (D.D.C. July 28, 2000)); see also Ali v. Carnegie
Inst. of Washington, 309 F.R.D. at 80-82.
The Lazarenkos’ motion lacks merit. It characterizes the Court’s prior futility
determination as simply a decision concerning a failure of pleading that can be corrected at any
Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., 772 F. Supp. 2d 205, 207-08 (D.D.C. 2011); United States v. All
Assets Held at Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., 571 F. Supp. 2d 1, 3-6 (D.D.C. 2008).
time: “[I]t appears that the Court was really stating that the allegation was deficient by not
providing sufficient factual or legal support.” Dkt. No. 1000 at 4. That is incorrect. Here is
what the Court concluded, in full:
Lazarenko’s undue delay affirmative defense fails as
legally meritless because there are no facts that Lazarenko could
add that would support a claim that the United States has engaged
in undue delay in the filing of the complaint or in commencing
discovery. The United States filed this in rem action on May 14,
2004, roughly one month before a jury in United States District
Court for the Northern District of California found Lazarenko
guilty of a variety of criminal offenses. See All Assets I, 571 F.
Supp. 2d at 4. The United States then filed its amended complaint
on June 30, 2005, see generally Am. Compl., more than a year
before Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California sentenced Lazarenko for his
crimes on August 25, 2006. See N.D. Cal. No. 00-cr-00284 [Dkt.
1054]. The United States therefore did not engage in undue delay
in “the filing of the Amended Complaint,” as Lazarenko pleads in
his proposed amended answer. Proposed First Am. Answer ¶ 163.
Lazarenko’s allegation that [ ] the United States has unduly
delayed in “commencing discovery” also lacks merit. Lazarenko
provides no supporting explanation for this claim, and the Court is
not inclined to comb the record for itself to document how the
United States has litigated discovery in this case. Suffice it to say
that both parties have made strategic choices about how to litigate
this case that delayed the commencement of discovery and
lengthened the duration of discovery. Even if Lazarenko had pled
more about how the United States delayed in commencing
discovery, he has not alleged that the delay prejudiced him in any
way. The Court therefore denies as futile Lazarenko’s motion for
leave to amend his answer to assert the affirmative defense of
United States v. All Assets Held at Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., 229 F. Supp. 3d at 72-73. In
other words, the United States did not delay this case, and, even if it did, Lazarenko failed to
even make any arguments about how he was prejudiced.
This new motion attempts to make the prejudice argument, but the argument
comes too late. Lazarenko had the chance to do so in briefing his original motion for leave to
add the undue delay defense and chose not to do so. He therefore has forfeited this argument.
Nor is the documentary evidence that Lazarenko includes in an appendix to the motion as
support for his prejudice argument in fact new. He could have made these arguments and
presented this evidence in the original briefing. Lazarenko has failed to satisfy the discretionary
standards governing motions to reconsider, and justice would not be served by granting his
motion. Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that The Lazarenkos’ Motion for Leave to Add the “Undue Delay”
Affirmative Defense [Dkt. No. 1000] is DENIED.
PAUL L. FRIEDMAN
United States District Judge
DATE: January 4, 2018
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