Schrotberger v. Grays Harbor County et al

Filing 80

ORDER granting 75 Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time; the Court INVITES Defendants to respond to Schrotberger's Motion for Reconsideration by 8/4/17; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN)

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HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 BRYAN SCHROTBERGER, CASE NO. C15-5949-RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER ON MOTIONS v. GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY, et al. 12 DKT. #75, 77 Defendants. 13 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Schrotberger’s Motion for an Extension 15 of Time [Dkt. #75] and his Motion for Reconsideration [Dkt. #77]. Schrotberger sued 16 Defendants for their use of excessive force while he was detained at the Grays Harbor County 17 Jail. A jury returned a verdict in Schrotberger’s favor on May 10, 2017, and judgment was 18 entered the next day. Thirty-two days later, Schrotberger moved for attorneys’ fees and costs. 19 The Court misread the motion’s noting date and mistakenly thought Schrotberger had neglected 20 to file a reply, and as such, had failed also to explain why his motion was untimely. The Court 21 denied his motion: 22 23 24 ORDER ON MOTIONS - 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 See Dkt. #74 (Order on Motion for Fees) at 2. Schrotberger post-hoc moved for an extension of time asking the Court to permit him to bring his already-late-filed motion for fees. His attorney argues she could not have brought his motion sooner because she and defense counsel were attempting to resolve the matter outside court. She also explains that her paralegal was out of town and she was busy with another case, so she overlooked the deadline to request fees. Defendants argue Schrotberger has failed to establish excusable neglect, and to allow him to move for fees so late would prejudice them because they missed the window to appeal. The Court may extend a deadline “on a motion made after the time has expired if the party failed to act because of excusable neglect.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b). When determining whether the party’s neglect is “excusable,” courts consider (1) the danger of prejudice to the opposing party, (2) the length of the delay, and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, (3) the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant, and (4) whether the movant acted in good faith. See Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P’ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395, 113 S. Ct. 1489 (1993). The totality of these factors persuade the Court to grant Schrotberger’s motion. While this delay was entirely in his control, any prejudice to the Defendants can be eliminated by the Court extending their time period to appeal for good cause under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure DKT. #75, 77 - 2 1 4(a)(5)(A)(ii); the delay did not affect the judicial proceedings, as they were already complete; 2 and Defendants concede Schrotberger acted in good faith. If defense counsel was collaborating 3 with Schrotberger’s attorney to resolve the matter outside of court, as Schrotberger contends, 4 then defendants cannot be genuinely surprised that after negotiations failed, Schrotberger moved 5 for fees. Therefore, Schrotberger’s Motion for an Extension of Time [Dkt. #75] is GRANTED. 6 Schrotberger also asks the Court to reconsider denying his motion for fees, now that he 7 has explained why his motion was untimely. The Court will not grant a motion for 8 reconsideration until it has allowed the non-moving party to file a response. See Local Rule CR 9 7(h)(3). The Court INVITES Defendants to respond to Schrotberger’s motion for reconsideration 10 by Friday, August 4. 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 Dated this 17th day of July, 2017. 14 A 15 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 13 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 DKT. #75, 77 - 3

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