Moussavi et al v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. et al

Filing 28

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 5/9/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND SOllt"erll Dh';s;o/l ',' _ n , SEYED MOUSSAVI, ef :11., - 0 I~,' I:; ....• , * Plaintiffs, ,-\ * v. Case No.: G,IH-15-209-1 * .11'MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., ef al., * Defendants. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION This Memorandum Opinion and Order addresses Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration of the Order Denying Extension of Time to Amend Complain!. ECF No. 27. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons. Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration is denied. The Court issued its Iirst Opinion in this ease on August 19.2016. granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. but allowing I'laintifls fourteen days to Iile an Amended Complain!. ECF No. 14: ECF No. 15. The parties subsequently agreed to extend this deadline by three weeks. stating that "[t]he parties are discussing a potential resolution of this matter," and "[tJhe parties believe the requested extension will facilitate these discussions." ECF No. 16 at 1.1 The Court thus extended the deadline for Plaintifls to tile their Amended Complaint until September 23. 2016. ECF No. 17. I Pin cites to documents b~"that systelll. tiled 011 the Court"s electronic filing system (CM/ECF) refer to the page numbers generated Plaintiffs did not submit an Amended Complaint by the September 23.2016 deadline. however. nor did Plaintiffs move for a second extension of time. As a courtesy. the Court's chambers emailed counsel on September 26. 2016. inquiring as to the status of the casco ECF No. 21-1 at 6. Plaintiffs' counsel replied to chambers. stating that "'wJe are still engagcd in settlement negotiations. so we will need to seek additional timc:' ECF No. 21-1 at 6. l3ut Plaintiffs did not file a motion seeking additional time. In IllCt.morc than five months passcd by without any activity of any kind on the docket. Thc Court finally dismissed the case with prejudice on March 3. 2017. ECF No. 18. Allcr thc Court's final order was entered. Plaintiff<; filed a Motion on March 10.2017. requesting an "extension of time to amend and replace counsel:' ECF No. 19. Plaintiffs explained that they had originally sought an extension of time "because it was expected that the parties would either settle this case or amend the complaint. if settlement negotiations fail:' ECF No. 19'i 2. Howevcr. they complained that "Defendants took well over 6 months to consider Moussavi for a loan modification:' which was the stated purpose of the settlement negotiations. Id. ~ 4. In support of their Motion. Plaintiffs attach several emails between Plaintiffs' counsel and Defendants' counsel - to which the Court was not copied - stating in one email on December 13.2016 ... 'tlhe District Court has not bothered us. so I"m not sure where we are with time:' ECF No. 21.1 at 4. In consideration of PlaintifTs' Motion fiJr Extension of Time. the Court found that nothing was extraordinary about unsuccessful settlement negotiations. and that Plaintill's' excuse ultimately amounted to no more than palpable oversight or administrative fllilure. ECF No. 25 at 5. The Court reasoned that failed attempts at settlement do not excuse noncompliance with the Court's deadlines, especially considering that Plaintill's could have requested additional extensions of time or a stay of the casc. but lailed to do eithcr. Id. Thercfore, the Court dcnied Plaintiffs' Motionf()r Extension of Timc on April 6.2017. Id. Now. Plaintiffs havc movcd f(lr reconsideration of the Court's dccision. ECF No. 27. Plaintiffs state that ..the Court misscd the December 13.2016 email ... whcrc Moussavi[s'] counsel scnt [a message] to opposing counsel stating shc was under thc impression the Court was giving the parties timc to ncgotiatc a settlcmcnt but was unaware of how much timc [thcy] had to ncgotiate:' ECF No. 27 2. Plaintiffs further protest that "[h]ad the Court given a new timc lI'ame or replied. Counsel would have complied:' Id. ~ 3. In sum. Plaintiffs e1aim that the "Court is missing the point:' ECF No. 27 at 2. It is Plaintiffs who miss the point. When. as a courtesy. the Court's chambers contacted counsel to inquire as to the status of the Amended Complaint. thc Cou~t-imposcd deadline f()r amcnding thc complaint had already passcd. Thus. on that datc. rathcr than sending a courtcsy cmail from chambers. the Court would havc becn well within its discretion to dismiss thc case absent a showing of"excusablc ncglcct:' Fcd. R. Civ. 1'. 6(b)( I): sre a/so Fed. R. Civ. 1'.41 (b): Link v. Wahash R.R. Co .. 370 U.S. 626. 630-31 (1962) ("Thc authority of a court to dismiss sua sponte for lack of prosecution has gencrally been considcred an . inhcrcnt powcr.. govcrncd not by rulc or statutc but by thc control necessarily vcstcd in courts to managc thcir own affairs so as to achicve the orderly and cxpeditious disposition of cases:"): Uniled Stales I'. i'v/ollssaolli. 483 F.3d 220.236 (4th Cir. 20tl7). Plaintiffs' counsel rcspondcd to the Court's chambers. stating that "wc will need to scek additional time." ECF No. 21-1 at 6. Howevcr. thai additional time was ncvcr sought. and live full months elapsed beforc the Court took action. Evcn Plaintiffs' Dccembcr 13. 2016 email. which Plaintiffs point to as indicating their belief that thcy wcre not "sure where wc are with timc:' ECF No. 21-1 at 4. was sent approximately three months beforc the Court finally , .' dismisscd rcviewed thc cas~ with prcjudicc. and considercd Nothing in Plaintiffs' in thc Court's "auachcd cvidcncc:' April 6. 2017 Mcmorandum which was alrcady Opinion. changes this calculus. In sum. it is not thc job of the Court to monitor deadlincs stays. It is thcjob the complaint. not cstablish of the parties. Plaintiffs missed thc Scptcmbcr As indicated where excusable in thc Court's excusable 23. 2016 deadlinc ••... <.. cannot and will district court's dismissal becausc proccdural contusion was not an Brandon \'. Marsh. 943 F.2d 48. at *2 (4th Cir. 1991) (aflinning wherc "the rccord bcforc thc court was with an acccptable reason for Smith \'. Look C~)'c1e USA. 933 F, Supp. 2d 787. 792 (E.D. Va. 2013) (finding this inactivity"): confusion was "beyond Motion for Rcconsideration law has occurrcd. (2) evidcncc thc rcalm ofcxcusable suggests not previously ncglccC). that ..( I) an intervcning available Supp. 2d 680. 681 (D. Md. 2002) (iistingjustifications Accordingly. Morcovcr. nothing in change in thc controlling has bccomc availablc. to corrcct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice:' reconsideration). casc" , a blank pagc for fIlieen months. and counsel was not f()rlhcoming neccssary !()r amending prior opinion. this is not an "extraordinary district court' s denial of motion t(Jr rclief from judgmcnt Plaintiffs' or (3) it is Turner \', Kig/u. 2\7 F. for granting a motion \()r the Motion I()r Reconsideration is denicd. A separate Order shall Issue. Datc: Mav , or nel-tlect in this casco See, e,~.. Herman \'. AI. L Mkt~. Co.. 116 F.3d 91. 96 reason lor neglcct): that counsel's I()r cxtcnsions ncglect can bc found. ECF No. 25 at 5. Indced. mcre confusion (4th Cir. 1997) (aflirming acceptable and requcsts .20\7 GEORGE J. HAZEL United Statcs District Judge 4

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