Mize v. Hong Jin Crown Corp, et al

Filing 100

ORDER granting 97 Motion to Vacate and allowing Defendant to file an out-of-time motion for summary judgment that would resolve all claims. This motion shall be filed within 30 days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff shall respond within 20 days thereafter. The Clerk is directed to reopen this case, effective the date of this Order. Signed by Judge Julie E. Carnes on 1/19/06. (ddm)

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Case 1:03-cv-02397-JEC Document 100 Filed 01/19/2006 Page 1 of 4 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FQR THE N ORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA ATLANTA DIVISION FILED IN CLEK ~ JAN' LUTHU ., a. DALLAS MIZE , Plaintiff, V. HJC CORP . and HJ .C .AMERICA, INC ., . :. . ('5 CIVIL ACTION NO . 1 :a3-CV-2397-JEc Defendants . ORDER This case is before the Court on plaintiff's Motion to Vacate Final Judgment and Memorandum of Authorities [97] . Defendant HJC Corporation has objected [98,99] . The relevant procedural history is as follows . Defendant HJCA had moved for summary judgment as to all claims against it . The Court's Order of July 18, 2005 [95] granted this defendant's motion and, accordingly, a judgmentt was properly entered in defendant I-iJCA'ss favor . As plaintiff correctly motes, defendant HJC did not move summary j udgment a s for to all claims, but instead moved for summary other words, it judgment only as to the punitive damages claim . In defendant HJC only moved for a partial summary j ud gment, , albeit filed th i s motion as part of a joint motion denominated as a motion A O 72A ( Aev.8182) Case 1:03-cv-02397-JEC Document 100 Filed 01/19/2006 Page 2 of 4 for summary judgment [55] that was filed as part of defendant HJCA's motion for summary judgment as to all claims . The Court granted defendant HJC's motion for summary judgment as to the claim for punitive damages in its Order of July 18, 2005 . Because HJC's. motion had been denominated as a motion for summary j udgment, however, i nstead of as . a motion for partial summary y judgment, as it should have been characterized,' this Court's Order granting the inaptly denominated motion indicated to the docketing clerk that defendants' motion for summary judgment had been granted . When such a ruling occurs, the Clerk routinely and properly issues a judgment for the defendants, as was done here . Nevertheless, plaintiff is correct that a judgment in favor of defendant HJC was incorrect as HJC never requested that summary judgment as to all claims be granted, nor did this Court ever so rule . . Defendant HJC objects to plaintiff's motion , however , because th i s Court, in i ts July 18, - 2005 Order, granted a motion by HJC to exclude the testimony of plaintiff's expert witness [78], which motion hadd been filed after the joint motion for summary judgment ' As a practice pointer, defendant HJC's motion for partial summary judgment should have been filed separately from defendant HJCA's motion for total summary judgment . Given the volume of pleadings filed each day in this Court, the docketing clerk relies on the captions in pleadings and does not have time to peruse each pleading to ascertain that the captioned heading in a joint pleading accurately captures the relief sought by each party . 2 AO 72A (Rev.8/82) J Case 1:03-cv-02397-JEC Document 100 Filed 01/19/2006 Page 3 of 4 [55], referenced above . Defendant argues that, without this expert, plaintiff's case is doomed and that a judgment for HJC, even though never requested by HJC, is appropriate . See Defendant's Res~onses [98,991 . ~ The Court agrees with plaintiff that a judgment cannot be properly entered when a Court has not issued a ruling that would permit a judgment to be entered . Defendant may be correct', that plaintiff's case cannot survive the loss of plaintiff's expert, but i that contention should be decided on a properly-filed motion for . summary judgment, not by inferences derived from reading an Order that dealt with other motions . The question remains as to the next appropriate step n the litigation . Plaintiff requests a trial date, because a claim against defendant HJC remains to be tried . Defendant argues that such a trial will be a futility, given this Court's earlier ruling exc~uding plaintiff's expert witness . Typically, when the summary judgment period has expired nd claims remain against a defendant, a trial is sche~luled . Nevertheless, the Court sees no advantage to it, the plaintiff, or the defendant to schedule a trial, if the outcome of that trial will be the grant of a motion for directed verdict at the close plaintiff's case . qf the Accordingly, the Court will permit defendant to file an o~t--of3 AO 72A ( Ftev.8/82) Case 1:03-cv-02397-JEC Document 100 Filed 01/19/2006 Page 4 of 4 time motion for summary judgment that would resolve all clazms . This motion shall be filed within thirty (30) days of the date o this days there fter1 this Order . Plaintiff shall respond within twenty (20) The Clerk is directed to reopen this case, effective the date Order . SO ORDERED, this ie'), day of January, 2006 . J E CARNES ~yiCTITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 4 A O 72A (R ev. 8/82)

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