McNeal v. Tate County School District
ORDER finding as moot 125 Motion to Strike ; finding as moot 128 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 123 MOTION /PETITION FOR CLOSURE OF COLDWATER HIGH SCHOOL ; finding as moot 130 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 123 MOTION /PETITION FOR CLOSURE OF COLDWATER HIGH SCHOOL ; finding as moot 132 Motion to Expedite; granting in part and denying in part 140 Motion to Amend/Correct; granting 141 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 123 MOTION /PETITION FOR CLOSURE OF COLDWATER HIGH SCHOOL Replies due by 6/20/2022.. Signed by District Judge Debra M. Brown on 6/13/22. (jla)
Case: 2:70-cv-00029-DMB Doc #: 142 Filed: 06/13/22 1 of 3 PageID #: 5767
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
KELLY MCNEAL, et al.
TATE COUNTY SCHOOL
DISTRICT, et al.
Since August 4, 1970, the Tate County School District has operated under a
desegregation order issued by this Court. Doc. #13-1 at 1. On September 14, 2021, the School
District filed a “Petition for Closure of Coldwater High School” (“Closure Petition”). Doc.
#123. Over two months later, the plaintiffs filed an untimely response.
November 24, 2021, the day after its deadline to reply, the School District filed (1) an untimely
motion to strike the response, Doc. #125, and (2) a motion for leave to file its reply brief in
support of the Closure Petition, Doc. #128.
The plaintiffs did not respond to the School District’s motion for leave. However, on
December 7, 2021, the plaintiffs filed a “Motion for Additional Time to Respond to Defendants’
Motion to Strike and Motiion [sic] to File Supplemental Response to Motion for Closure of
Coldwater High School.” Doc. #130. The School District responded to this filing on December
21, 2021. Doc. #131.
On March 28, 2022, the School District filed a “Motion Requesting Expedited Review or,
Alternatively, for Status Conference.” Doc. #132. The Court subsequently held a telephonic
status conference with the parties on May 19, 2022. Doc. #136.
On June 2, 2022, the plaintiffs filed an “Amended Response to Petition for Closure of
Case: 2:70-cv-00029-DMB Doc #: 142 Filed: 06/13/22 2 of 3 PageID #: 5768
Coldwater High School,”1 Doc. #139, and a memorandum in support, Doc. #138.
later, they filed a “Motion for Leave of Court to File Plaintiffs Corrected Amended Response to
Petition for Closure of Coldwater High School,” 2 Doc. #140, and included as one of the exhibits
a proposed corrected amended response, Doc. #140-21. On June 8, 2022, the School District
filed a motion to extend until June 20, 2022, its deadline to reply to the plaintiffs’ Amended
Response. Doc. #141.
As this Court has previously recognized, “[w]here, as here, there has been a finding of de
jure segregation, a court must exercise its broad equitable power to review and modify proposed
remedies which are intended to create and maintain a unitary school system.” Doc. #33 at 7
(internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Flaxx v. Potts, 567 F. Supp. 859, 861 (N.D. Tex.
1983)). In this regard, the Court “must ensure the adequacy of the record” in determining
whether the proposed amendments work towards “the ultimate goal of achieving a unitary school
system.” Id. at 7, 8.
In the effort to ensure an adequate record on the Closure Petition and decide the Closure
Petition on the merits:3
The plaintiffs’ motion for leave  is GRANTED in Part and DENIED in
It is GRANTED to the extent it requests leave to file the proposed
corrected amended response and DENIED in all other respects. The proposed
Because the response was docketed as a motion, the Clerk of Court instructed the plaintiffs’ counsel to refile the
document as a response to a motion.
In addition to seeking leave, the plaintiffs request that they be allowed to conduct discovery and have “the
opportunity to file a supplemental response and memorandum” after such discovery, the Court hold an evidentiary
hearing, and the School District be “required to present affirmative proof that it has come into compliance with the
1970 Desegregation Order.” Doc. #140.
The plaintiffs ordinarily must show excusable neglect to justify their untimely responsive filings, including their
initial response to the Closure Petition. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b). The Court doubts whether the reasons they proffer
would rise to such a standard. However, given the specific directive imposed on the Court related to desegregation
cases, the Court will allow the filing to ensure an adequate record.
Case: 2:70-cv-00029-DMB Doc #: 142 Filed: 06/13/22 3 of 3 PageID #: 5769
corrected amended response [140-21] is DEEMED the plaintiffs’ controlling
response to the Closure Petition; however, the plaintiffs are DIRECTED to file it
as a separate docket item no later than June 17, 2022.
The School District’s motion to strike the initial response  is DENIED as
The School District’s motion for leave to reply  is DENIED as moot.
The plaintiffs’ December 7 motion  is DENIED as moot.
The School District’s motion for extension  is GRANTED. The School
District’s deadline to reply in support of the Closure Petition is extended through
and until June 20, 2022.4 After this date, the Court will review the filings on the
Closure Petition and determine whether any discovery or an evidentiary hearing is
Given that the Court previously held a status conference with the parties, the
motion to expedite  is DENIED as moot.
SO ORDERED, this 13th day of June, 2022.
/s/Debra M. Brown
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Any reply by the School District should address the plaintiffs’ proposed corrected amended response, Doc. #14021, the affidavits filed in support, Docs. #140-1 to #140-20, and the memorandum in support, Doc. #138.
Before filing any additional documents regarding the Closure Petition, the parties should either move to do so or
contact chambers to request a conference.
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