United States of America v. $50,900 in United States Currency
ORDER denying 50 Claimants' Application for Extension of Time to File Answer to Verified Complaint Out of Time or Alternatively to Deem the Answer as Timely Filed (as more fully set out). Signed by Honorable Vicki Miles-LaGrange on 6/16/2017. (ks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
$50,900.00 IN UNITED STATES
CURRENCY OF IBC BANK CASHIER’S )
CHECK #162263996 IN THE AMOUNT )
OF $250,910 IN UNITED STATES
CURRENCY, SEIZED ON MAY 27, 2015, )
FROM INSURED AIRCRAFT TITLE
Case No. CIV-16-934-M
Before the Court is Claimants Benjamin Polat and Luis Saldana Grillo’s (“Claimants”)
Application for Extension of Time to File Answer to Verified Complaint Out of Time or
Alternatively to Deem the Answer as Timely Filed, filed February 14, 2017. On February 16,
2017, plaintiff filed its response. Based upon the parties’ submissions, the Court makes its
On December 11, 2015, plaintiff filed its verified complaint for forfeiture in rem against
$50,900.00 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. On March 11,
2016, Benjamin Polat filed a verified claim to $42,000.00 of the $50,900.00. On April 5, 2016,
Claimant Polat filed a motion to dismiss. On April 19, 2016, Luis Grillo filed a verified claim to
$8,900.00 of the $50,900.00. Along with his verified claim, Claimant Grillo filed a motion to
dismiss. On August 11, 2016, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
transferred this case to this Court. On October 5, 2016, Claimants filed a renewed motion to
dismiss. On December 14, 2016, this Court entered an order denying Claimants’ renewed motion
to dismiss. Claimants’ answer was due by or before December 28, 2016. Claimants filed their
answer on January 23, 2017.
Claimants now move this Court, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b) and Local
Civil Rule 7.1(h), for leave to extend the time to file their answer and/or to deem the answer filed
on January 23, 2017, as timely filed.
Under Rule 6(b)(1), a district court may extend a deadline for “good
cause.” If the request is made before the original deadline, the court
need only find good cause for the extension. But if the extension
request is made after the original deadline, as it was here, the court
must also determine whether the party failed to act because of
excusable neglect. In other words, an extension can only be granted
for good cause regardless of when the extension was requested. But
if the extension request was filed after the original deadline, the
court must also determine whether the failure to timely meet the
deadline was due to excusable neglect.
Utah Republican Party v. Herbert, No. 16-4058, 2017 WL 460987 at *2 (10th Cir. 2017). Further,
Rule 6(b)(1) “should be liberally construed to advance the goal of trying each case on the merits.”
Rachel v. Troutt, 820 F.3d 390, 394 (10th Cir. 2016). However, “an enlargement of the time period
is by no means a matter of right.” Eller v. Trans Union, LLC, 739 F.3d 467, 478 n.10 (10th Cir.
2013) (internal quotations omitted).
“[G]ood cause” requires a greater showing than “excusable
neglect.” The two standards, although “interrelated,” are not
identical. Excusable neglect requires some showing of good faith
on the part of the party seeking the enlargement and some reasonable
basis for noncompliance within the time specified. We have said
that [w]ithout attempting a rigid or all-encompassing definition of
“good cause,” it would appear to require at least as much as would
be required to show excusable neglect. Good cause comes into play
in situations in which there is no fault – excusable or otherwise. In
such situations, the need for an extension is usually occasioned by
something that is not within the control of the movant. It requires
the moving party to show the deadline cannot be met despite the
movant’s diligent efforts.
Utah Republican Party, 2017 WL 460987 at *3 (internal quotations and citations omitted)
(emphasis in original).
Having carefully reviewed the parties’ submissions, the Court finds that Claimants have
not shown good cause for their requested extension. Claimants assert that their counsel did not
receive notice of the Court’s December 14, 2016 Order until January 23, 2017.1 Claimants,
however, provide no further reason or explanation as to why counsel did not receive notice.
Through counsel’s various filings with this Court and her responses to motions filed by plaintiff,
counsel has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to timely receive notice of court filings. Further,
regardless of whether counsel receives electronic notice, “[i]t is the litigant’s affirmative duty to
monitor the court’s docket.” Brown v. Zarek, 162 F.3d 1172, *1 (10th Cir. 1998). Additionally,
Claimants do not assert that their failure to timely file an answer was outside their control nor do
they claim that the deadline could not be met despite diligent efforts.
Accordingly, the Court DENIES Claimants’ Application for Extension of Time to File
Answer to Verified Complaint Out of Time or Alternatively to Deem the Answer as Timely Filed
[docket no. 50].
IT IS SO ORDERED this 16th day of June, 2017.
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike the Verified Claims filed by Benjamin Polat and Luis Grillo on
January 23, 2017. The Court presumes Claimants’ counsel became aware of the Court’s December
14, 2016 Order when she accessed Pacer to retrieve the copy of plaintiff’s motion.
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