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Edwards v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District Circuit

September 6, 2013

PATSY EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER [1]

ROBERT L. WILKINS, District Judge.

In accordance with the Court's Third Amended Scheduling Order, the United States of America filed its Motion for Summary Judgment in this case on June 14, 2013. Plaintiff's opposition, in turn, was due to be filed by July 16, 2013, but this deadline came and went without any action on Plaintiff's part. Plaintiff failed to file any opposition, nor did Plaintiff seek any additional time within which to do so. The docket simply sat dormant. Out of an abundance of reasonableness, however, the Court offered Plaintiff a second chance. On August 23, 2013, the Court issued a Minute Order directing Plaintiff to respond to the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment within seven days. Therein, the Court also explicitly advised Plaintiff that, absent a timely response, the Court would deem the motion conceded. But the Court's warning went unheeded. Plaintiff again failed to file any response to the United States' motion, nor did Plaintiff timely seek any extension of time. Accordingly, as forewarned, the Court granted the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment on September 3, 2013, and since the United States was the only remaining defendant, [2] Plaintiff's remaining claims were dismissed and the case was closed. Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Extend Time to File an Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 47) and Plaintiff's Motion to Reinstate Case (Dkt. No. 48). For the reasons that briefly follow, both motions will be DENIED.

Notably, the Court dismissed this case once already for failure to prosecute, ( see Dkt. No. 38), after Plaintiff's counsel, Patrick J. Christmas, failed to respond to an Order to Show Cause, ( see Dkt. No. 37).[3] Plaintiff then filed her (first) Motion to Reinstate, (Dkt. No. 39), and the Court held a hearing on the matter on January 7, 2013. After hearing from the parties, the Court reluctantly granted Plaintiff's Motion and reopened the case. In so doing, though, the Court clearly admonished Mr. Christmas that any further dilatory conduct in prosecuting this case would not be tolerated. During that hearing, the Court also set-in consultation with counsel- the above-described summary judgment briefing deadlines, and those deadlines were then memorialized in the Court's Third Amended Scheduling Order, issued on January 7, 2013. (Dkt. No. 42). The United States appropriately filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on June 14, 2013, but, as laid out above, Plaintiff failed to submit any timely response.[4] On August 23, 2013, the Court issued its Minute Order directing Plaintiff to respond to the United States' Motion within seven days, by no later than August 30, 2013; Plaintiff ignored this directive. With its Motion unopposed, the Court thus granted the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment, resulting in the dismissal of Plaintiff's remaining claims. See Twelve John Does v. District of Columbia, 117 F.3d 571, 577 (D.C. Cir. 1997) ("Where the district court relies on the absence of a response as a basis for treating the motion as conceded, we honor its enforcement of the rule."); see also LCvR 7(b) ("If such a[n] [opposition] memorandum is not filed within the prescribed time, the Court may treat the motion as conceded.").

Plaintiff now asks the Court to reinstate the case, whereby Mr. Christmas asserts that he was "unable to timely file his Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment because of the recent relocation of his office and the Labor Day Holliday(s) [sic]." ( See Dkt. No 48 at 1).

For several reasons, the Court finds this request altogether unpersuasive. First, Mr. Christmas has been aware of the original summary judgment deadline (July 16th) since January, when the Court issued its most recent Scheduling Order. In fact, the Court discussed the summary judgment deadlines with counsel in person during the January hearing, so Mr. Christmas should have placed those obligations on his calendar then. In turn, his reliance on the Labor Day holiday and a recent office move is disingenuous, at best.[5] Second, the Court already forgave Mr. Christmas' inaction once, and he was admonished-during the same January hearing-to strictly comply with the Court's directives and deadlines moving forward. Third, the fact that Mr. Christmas filed a stipulation to dismiss the District of Columbia on August 21, 2013, ( see Dkt. No. 46), confirms that he accessed the docket in this case on that date and should have been reminded that an opposition to the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment was long overdue. And fourth, Mr. Christmas fails to articulate what, if any, meritorious argument Plaintiff could make to defeat the United States' Motion in any event.[6]

For these reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time to File an Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 47) and Plaintiff's Motion to Reinstate (Dkt. No. 48) are DENIED. Plaintiff's claims against the United States remain DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, and this action shall remain closed.

SO ORDERED.


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