Sanders v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America
ORDER DENYING 19 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge David A. Ezra. (aej)
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SAN ANTONIO DIVISION
UNUM LIFE INSURANCE
COMPANY OF AMERICA,
ORDER (1) DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AND
(2) DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Before the Court is an Opposed Motion for Leave to File and Motion
for Reconsideration filed by Plaintiff Carrie Sanders. (Dkt. # 19.) On April 11,
2016, this Court issued an Order to Enforce the Mediated Settlement Agreement
negotiated between Sanders and Defendant UNUM Life Insurance Company of
America (“Unum”). (Dkt. # 17.) Plaintiff, who recently obtained counsel, requests
that this Court permit her to file a response to Unum’s Motion to Enforce (Dkt.
# 10), alleging she was not aware of the motion; Plaintiff also asks that this Court
reconsider its April 11 ruling. (Dkt. # 19 at 1–2.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b) “sets out the proper approach in
the case of late filings,” and gives the court authority “for good cause [to] extend
the time” for filing “on motion made after the time has expired if the party failed to
act because of excusable neglect.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)(1)(B); see Woods v. Allied
Concord Financial Corp. (Del.), 373 F.2d 733, 734 (5th Cir. 1967). Extensions of
time to file after the filing deadline has passed may only be granted upon motion,
and may only be granted where the Court finds “as a substantive matter that there
was indeed ‘cause’ for the late filing, and that the failure to file on time ‘was the
result of excusable neglect.’” Lujan v. Nat’l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 896–97
(1990) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)); see Hetzel v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 50 F.3d
360, 367 (5th Cir. 1995) (finding the district court did not abuse its discretion when
it accepted defendant’s summary judgment motion one day late, nor did it abuse its
discretion when it denied plaintiff’s request for additional time to respond to the
motion, because such an extension would delay the court’s schedule).
Here, Plaintiff filed motion for leave to file a response after the
deadline had passed, satisfying the first criteria of Rule 6(b). Whether there is
cause to permit late filing is considered below.
On January 18, 2016, Unum filed a Motion to Enforce the Mediated
Settlement Agreement. (Dkt. # 10.) Plaintiff’s response was originally due on
February 1, 2016. 1 On January 21, 2016, Plaintiff’s former attorney Jessica
Pursuant to the Local Rules, a party opposing a dispositive motion has fourteen
days to respond. W.D. Tex. Civ. R. 7(e)(2). In the Western District, time is
computed in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. W.D. Tex.
Civ. R. 6. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(a)(1) calculates the due date of any
filing by “exclud[ing] the day of the event that triggers the period; count[ng] every
Taylor, moved to withdraw as attorney, and moved for an extension of time for
Plaintiff to respond to Unum’s Motion to Enforce. (Dkt. # 11 at 1, 7.) This Court
explicitly granted Plaintiff additional time to respond to the Motion to Enforce; the
new due date for a response was February 19, 2016. (Dkt. # 16 at 5.) Plaintiff did
not respond, and this Court issued an order granting the Motion to Enforce on
April 11, 2016. (Dkt. # 17.)
Plaintiff now argues that there is good cause to file a response to the
Motion to Enforce after both the February 19, 2016 deadline passed and after the
Court ruled on the motion, because she was not aware of the motion’s existence.
(Dkt. # 19 at 1–2.) Ms. Taylor’s Motion to Withdraw specifically requested an
extension of time to respond to Unum’s Motion to Enforce on Plaintiff’s behalf.
(Dkt. # 11 at 1, 7.) Further, Ms. Taylor’s Motion to Withdraw discusses Unum’s
Motion to Enforce on multiple occasions, cites the Motion to Enforce as a primary
reason for seeking to withdraw from representation of Plaintiff, states that she emailed Plaintiff her draft Motion to Withdraw on January 18, 2016, and that she
left two voicemails with Plaintiff regarding the motion on the same day. (Id. at 4–
7.) This Court’s order granting Ms. Taylor’s Motion explicitly granted Plaintiff
additional time to respond to the Motion to Enforce; notice of this order was
day, including intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays; and
includ[ing] the last day of the period . . . ” Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(1)(A)–(C).
delivered to Ms. Sanders at her address. (Dkt. # 16 at 5; Dkt. # 16 at “Receipt of
Service”.)2 Accordingly, the Court finds that Ms. Sanders has failed to show that
her failure to timely respond “was the result of excusable neglect.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
6(b)(1)(B). Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File is DENIED (Dkt.
To the extent that Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to file is also a motion
for reconsideration, it presents no particularized facts upon which this Court could
make a reasoned decision. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration is
DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE (Dkt. # 19).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: San Antonio, Texas, May 4, 2016.
David Alan Ezra
Senior United States Distict Judge
Notably, both Ms. Sanders and her husband contacted Judge Ezra’s chambers via
telephone to inquire about responding to the Motion to Enforce.
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