People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. Dade City's Wild Things, Inc. et al
ORDER denying without prejudice 196 Motion for Entry of Default; granting in part and denying in part 197 Motion for Extension of Time to Obtain Counsel. Signed by Magistrate Judge Amanda Arnold Sansone on 2/12/2018. (BEE)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL
TREATMENT OF ANIMALS, INC.,
Case No: 8:16-cv-2899-T-36AAS
DADE CITY’S WILD THINGS, INC.,
STEARNS ZOOLOGICAL RESCUE &
REHAB CENTER, INC., KATHRYN P.
STEARNS and RANDALL E. STEARNS,
The deadline for Dade City’s Wild Things, Inc. and Stearns Zoological Rescue & Rehab
Center, Inc. (the “DCWT corporations”) to file notices of appearance of new counsel was February
9, 2018. (Doc. 185). The DCWT corporations have known since at least January 3, 2018,1 that
they need to obtain new counsel—their third set of counsel since the DCWT corporations were
served with this suit. (Doc. 173). Rather than file a notice of appearance by the February 9th
deadline, Kathryn Stearns (on behalf of Stearns Zoological Rescue & Rehab Center, Inc.) instead
seeks a thirty-day extension of the deadline. (Doc. 197). In the motion, Ms. Stearns indicates that
she has contacted “over 100 attorneys and met with several” and attaches correspondence from
two attorneys. (Id.). Both letters are dated February 9, 2018—the deadline to obtain counsel.
In addition to prior counsel indicating that the DCWT corporations have been on notice
since January 3, 2018, Kathryn Stearns confirmed the notice during the January 25, 2018 hearing
on counsel’s motion to withdraw. (See Doc. 188, p. 53).
(Id.). One attorney’s letter indicates that he will be meeting Ms. Stearns on Tuesday, February 13,
2018, after an initial discussion that occurred on February 9, 2018.
This is the third time that the DCWT corporations have sought counsel in this case, and the
second time that the DCWT corporations have sought counsel after their prior counsel have moved
for permission to withdraw. (Docs. 90, 173). Each time, but especially this last time, the DCWT
corporations were repeatedly warned that changing counsel will not result in the extension of any
deadlines or any other delay.
Important dates and deadlines are rapidly approaching. There is an evidentiary hearing
scheduled in this matter on February 21, 2018 (and continuing to February 22, 2018, if necessary).
(Doc. 185). In preparation for this hearing, the parties must file hearing statements by February
16, 2018.2 (Id.).
Accordingly, it is ORDERED:
The Motion for Enlargement of Time (Doc. 197) is GRANTED in part AND
DENIED in part. The DCWT corporations are granted an extension until noon on February 14,
2018, to obtain new counsel. All scheduled hearing dates and deadlines remain in effect and
will not be extended.
Plaintiff People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc.’s Application for Entry
of Default by the Clerk Against Corporate Defendants Dade City Wild Things, Inc. and Stearns
Zoological Rescue and Rehab Center, Inc. (Doc. 196) is DENIED without prejudice to filing the
motion after the February 14, 2018 deadline.
The motions that are the subject of the evidentiary hearing were filed in July and
September, 2017. (Docs. 76, 97). A hearing on these motions has been repeatedly delayed due to
the termination and withdrawal of the defendants’ two previous sets of attorneys, among other
issues. (Docs. 92, 159, 185).
ORDERED in Tampa, Florida on this 12th day of February, 2018.
Kathryn P. Stearns
Randall E. Stearns
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