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Vanessa T. Hayes v. District of Columbia

July 29, 2011

VANESSA T. HAYES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Beryl A. Howell United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Presently before the Court is plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of this Court's July 15, 2011 decision to deny plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint for failure to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) and Local Civil Rule 7(m). For the reasons explained below, the Court denies the motion for reconsideration, but, in the alternative, the Court will grant the plaintiff an extension of time nunc pro tunc to enable her to file her amended complaint.

I.BACKGROUND

On January 18, 2011, the plaintiff filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. See Compl at 1. The Complaint alleges various claims for relief arising out of the death of Gerard El Hayes while he was in police custody. See generally Compl. On April 27, 2011, the defendant, the District of Columbia, removed the case to this Court. ECF No. 1, Notice of Removal.

On May 20, 2011, the defendant timely filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). ECF No. 6. Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7(b), the plaintiff's opposition to the motion to dismiss was due within 14 days -- i.e., by June 3, 2011. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(d), three extra days may be added to this deadline, which would have required the plaintiff's opposition to the motion to dismiss to be filed by June 6, 2011.

On June 6, 2011, the plaintiff filed a motion, which was consented to by the defendant, to extend her time to respond to the motion to dismiss until July 6, 2011. ECF No. 7 ("Extension Motion"). This motion for extension of time was untimely under this Court's Standing Order, which states that "[m]otions for extensions of time or for continuances of court proceedings are strongly discouraged. . . .When good cause is present, however, the court will consider such a motion that . . . is filed at least 4 business days prior to the deadline the motion is seeking to extend . . . ." ECF No. 2, Standing Order, ¶ 7. Despite the untimely nature of the plaintiff's request for extension of time, the Court granted the request for extension on June 7, 2011 by a Minute Order that stated: "The plaintiff's opposition to the defendant's motion to dismiss shall be filed by July 6, 2011." The language of this order closely paralleled the language of the plaintiff's own motion, which stated that the "plaintiff respectfully requests that she be granted an extension of time extension of time, up to and including July 6, 2011, to file her opposition." *fn1 Extension Motion at 2.

On July 6, 2011, the plaintiff attempted to file an amended complaint instead of an opposition to the motion to dismiss. The plaintiff did not file any motion requesting leave to file an amended complaint, nor was the issue of amending the complaint addressed in the Extension Motion.

Presumably unaware that the plaintiff had attempted to file an amended complaint on July 6, the defendant filed a motion on July 15, 2011, requesting that the Court grant its motion to dismiss as conceded since the plaintiff "still ha[d] not filed an opposition to [the motion to dismiss] by July 6, 2011, the date ordered by the Court, nor has she sought additional time to do so." ECF No. 8.

On July 15, 2011, the Court denied the plaintiff leave to file her amended complaint for failure to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a), which governs the amendment of pleadings, and Local Civil Rule 7(m), which requires that parties confer before filing non-dispositive motions.

The plaintiff now moves for reconsideration of the Court's July 15, 2011 Order denying the plaintiff leave to file the amended complaint.

II.DISCUSSION

The plaintiff contends that the Court "erroneously determined that the plaintiff failed to comply with Rule 15(a)" and that "[t]he fact of the matter is that the plaintiff fully complied with the applicable provisions" of that rule. Pl.'s Motion for Reconsideration ("Reconsideration Motion") at 3-4. According to the plaintiff, she was entitled to amend her complaint as a matter of course under Rule 15(a), and, therefore, the Court was required to accept her July 6 amended complaint as filed.

Rule 15(a) provides, in pertinent part, ...


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