Reddy v. Superior Global Solutions, Inc., et al
ORDER DENYING MOVING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER GRANTING EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE DEFENDANTS' BELATED ANSWERS AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE re 88 Report and Recommenda tions; denying 77 MOTION for Entry of Default of the defendants - SUPERIOR GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, INC.; GARY SMITH; KATHY COOS; and KAREN BOUDREAUX - filed by Krishna Reddy; denying 25 Request for Entry of Default by Clerk, filed by Krishna Reddy; denying 79 MOTION for Default Judgment as to the defendants SUPERIOR GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, INC., GARY SMITH, KATHY COOS, and KAREN BOUDREAUX, filed by Krishna Reddy. Signed by Judge Ron Clark on 5/9/2013. (kls, )
**NOT FOR PRINTED PUBLICATION**
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SUPERIOR GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, INC., §
CASE NO. 4:11cv845
Judge Clark/Judge Mazzant
ORDER DENYING MOVING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF
ORDER GRANTING EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE DEFENDANTS’ BELATED
ANSWERS AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Came on for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate Judge in this action, this
matter having been heretofore referred to the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636. On February 22, 2013, the report of the Magistrate Judge was entered containing proposed
findings of fact and recommendations that plaintiff’s Motion for an Order for Entry of Default by
the Court Clerk and for Default Judgment as to the Defendants Superior Global Solutions, Inc., Gary
Smith, Kathy Coos, and Karen Boudreaux [Doc. #79] be denied [Doc. #88]. On February 22, 2013,
the Magistrate Judge also granted defendants’ Motion for Enlargement of Time in which to File
Answer, and deemed the answers filed on January 7, 2013 as timely [Doc. #89]. On March 11, 2013,
plaintiff filed Objections to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge and Motion
for Reconsideration of Order Granting Extension of Time to File Defendants’ Belated Answers [Doc.
#90]. On March 25, 2013, defendants filed a response [Doc. #92]. On April 4, 2013, plaintiff filed
a reply [Doc. #93]. On April 15, 2013, defendants filed a sur-reply [Doc. #98].
On December 22, 2011, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants. Defendants timely
responded to the suit by filing motions to dismiss plaintiff’s claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Magistrate Judge issued reports and recommendations on the
motions. Objections were filed, and an order adopting was entered on December 17, 2012, in which
the motions were granted in part and denied in part. The answer date, as calculated pursuant to the
rules, was January 3, 2013. Defendants did not file an answer or any other appropriate motion on
January 3, 2013. On January 7, 2013, plaintiff then filed a motion for entry of default and motion
for default [Doc. #77, #79]. After the motion for default was filed, defendants filed answers on
January 7, 2013 [Doc. #78, #80]. Defendants also filed a joint motion for enlargement of time in
which to file their answers [Doc. #81]. The Clerk has taken no action on the request for entry of a
default. On February 22, 2013, the Magistrate Judge granted efendants’ motion for extension of
time to file answer and deemed answers filed on January 7, 2013 as timely [Doc. #89].
Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider asserts that the Magistrate Judge lacked authority to grant the
request to deem the late answers timely filed. Plaintiff asserts that the Magistrate Judge cannot sign
an order that would moot the district judge’s review of a Magistrate Judge’s recommendations.
Federal law affords a Magistrate Judge broad discretion in the resolution of non-dispositive
pretrial matters. See FED. R. CIV. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The standard for a motion for
reconsideration is “clearly erroneous.” Parks v. Collins, 761 F.2d 1101, 1104 (5th Cir. 1985). The
court may modify or set aside a Magistrate Judge’s order only if it is clearly erroneous or contrary
to law. Castillo v. Frank, 70 F.3d 382, 385 (5th Cir. 1995). “A finding is ‘clearly erroneous’ when
although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co.,
333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948).
Plaintiff fails to assert how the Magistrate Judge’s decision is clearly erroneous or contrary
to law. The motion for extension is a non-dispositive motion that only required an order as opposed
to a report and recommendation. Rule 6(b) (1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that when a party moves the court to accept a filing after the relevant deadline, the court may “for
good cause, extend the time ... if the party failed to act because of excusable neglect .” FED. R. CIV.
P. 6(b). Although plaintiff asserts that defendants must demonstrate a meritorious defense, this
requirement is not required under Rule 6(b). The Magistrate Judge acted well within his discretion
based upon the facts of this case to grant an extension of the answer deadline. After considering the
motion to reconsider and all responses, the court finds that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate how
the Magistrate Judge’s decision was clearly erroneous or contrary to law, and the motion to
reconsider is denied.
Plaintiff also filed an objection to the report and recommendation that recommended denial
of the motion for default. Plaintiff’s last objection is that the motion is not moot as found by the
Magistrate Judge. The court has determined that the Magistrate Judge correctly granted the
extension to file a late answer, which the court agrees would moot any request for a default
judgment. However, the Magistrate Judge made this recommendation only as an alternative ground
for denial of the motion for default. The Magistrate Judge fully considered the merits of the motion
and recommended denial of the motion on the merits. After making that finding on the merits, the
Magistrate Judge then determined that the motion should also be denied as moot. The court
overrules the objection and finds no error by the Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff then objects that the Magistrate Judge failed to consider whether there was a
meritorious defense, that the “mis-calendering” the deadline is not considered excusable neglect, and
that she would suffer prejudice if the default was not granted.
None of the objections have any merit. Plaintiff repeatedly argues in her pleadings that
defendants’ various motions should be struck and not recognized because defendants are in default.
These arguments are frivolous and are rejected. Plaintiff’s belief that a default has been entered is
mistaken. Again, the record is clear, the fact that defendants missed a deadline to answer by a few
days is not the same thing as a default judgment being entered against defendants. All that happened
in this case was that defendants missed their deadline to file an answer by a few days. Plaintiff
seems to want to take a missed deadline and declare herself the winner in this lawsuit, simply
because a deadline was missed by a few days. The court will consider all motions currently pending
that have been filed by defendants, because those motions are properly before the court. No default
has ever been entered in this case, and the court is not addressing a motion to set aside a default
Even if a defendant is technically in default, a plaintiff is not entitled to a default judgment
as a matter of right. Lewis v. Lynn, 236 F.3d 766, 767 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam). “In fact,
‘[d]efault judgments are a drastic remedy, not favored by the Federal Rules and resorted to by courts
only in extreme situations.” Id. (quoting Sun Bank of Ocala v. Pelican Homestead and Savs. Ass'n,
874 F.2d 274, 276 (5th Cir. 1989)). The Fifth Circuit favors resolving cases on their merits and
generally disfavors default judgments. Rogers v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 167 F.3d 933,
936 (5th Cir. 1999). Default judgment “should not be granted on the claim, without more, that the
defendant had failed to meet a procedural time requirement.” Mason & Hanger—Silas Mason Co.,
Inc. v. Metal Trades Council, 726 F.2d 166, 168 (5th Cir. 1984) (per curiam). The decision to enter
a judgment by default is discretionary. Stelax Indus., Ltd. v. Donahue, No. 3:03–CV–923–M, 2004
WL 733844, at *11 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 25, 2004).
The court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that a default judgment should not be entered in
this case. Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate any prejudice in this case. Plaintiff has failed to assert
how a delay of two business days caused her any harm. Plaintiff tries to argue that there is some
prejudice from the defendants filing a motion for summary judgment. However, the court does not
see how a delay of a few days in filing an answer causes any prejudice to plaintiff. The summary
judgment is a proper motion filed by defendants and will be considered at the appropriate time. The
court sees no prejudice to the fact that plaintiff must establish that there is a fact issue in responding
to a motion for summary judgment. The drastic remedy of a default judgment against defendants
is not appropriate based upon the facts of this case.
The bottom line is that defendants have properly filed an answer. No default has ever been
entered against any of the defendants and no default should be entered against any of the defendants.
Defendants were well within their rights to seek discovery and file motions which are now pending
before the court. The court agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s handling of these matters and finds
Having received the report of the United States Magistrate Judge, and considering the
objections thereto filed by plaintiff [Doc. #90], this court is of the opinion that the findings and
conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct and adopts the Magistrate Judge’s report as the
findings and conclusions of the court.
It is, therefore, ORDERED that plaintiff’s Motion for an Order for Entry of Default by the
Court Clerk and for Default Judgment as to the Defendants Superior Global Solutions, Inc., Gary
Smith, Kathy Coos, and Karen Boudreaux is DENIED.
It is further ORDERED that laintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration of Order Granting
Extension of Time to File Defendants’ Belated Answers is DENIED.
So ORDERED and SIGNED this 9 day of May, 2013.
Ron Clark, United States District Judge
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