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Indiana Materials Processing, LLC v. Tire Waste Transport, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

April 14, 2015



SUSAN COLLINS, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is a Non-Party Objection and Motion to Quash Subpoena filed by Indiana Materials Processing, LLC ("IMP") on February 25, 2015, asking that the Court quash a subpoena served by Tire Waste Transport, LLC, seeking the production of certain documents and an inspection of IMP's premises.[1] (DE # 1.) The subpoena stems from Tire Waste's breach of contract action against Omnisource Corporation filed on March 11, 2014, in the Northern District of Ohio, No. 3:14-cv-538.

On March 24, 2015, Tire Waste filed a response in opposition to IMP's motion to quash (DE # 15), which IMP then moved to strike on the basis of untimeliness (DE # 17). On March 27, 2015, a hearing was held on the motion to quash and motion to strike, at which oral argument was heard and concluded (DE # 19); both motions are now ripe for ruling (DE # 18, 20, 21).[2] For the following reasons, IMP's motion to quash will be GRANTED and its motion to strike will be deemed MOOT.


A. Background

IMP moves to strike Tire Waste's response brief opposing the motion to quash for the reason that it was untimely filed under Local Rule 7-1(d)(2)(A), which makes a response brief due within fourteen days from the filing of the motion. Indeed, IMP filed its motion to quash on February 25, 2015, and thus, Tire Waste's response brief was due on March 14, 2015. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(d) (adding three days after the period would otherwise expire for certain types of service). Tire Waste, however, did not file its response brief until ten days later on March 24, 2015. Therefore, Tire Waste's response brief was untimely filed.

B. Applicable Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1) provides that "[w]hen an act may or must be done within a specified time, the court may, for good cause, extend the time... on motion made after the time has expired if the party failed to act because of excusable neglect." Excusable neglect is "a somewhat elastic concept, " Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 391 (1993), demanding an equitable determination that can "encompass situations in which the failure to comply with a filing deadline is attributable to negligence." Robb v. Norfolk & W. Ry. Co., 122 F.3d 354, 355-56 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting Pioneer, 507 U.S. at 394).

In doing so, the Court takes "account of all relevant circumstances surrounding the party's omission... includ[ing]... the danger of prejudice to the [nonmoving party], the length of the delay and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant, and whether the movant acted in good faith." Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Lake Shore Asset Mgmt. Ltd., 646 F.3d 401, 404-05 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Pioneer, 507 U.S. at 395); see also Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 606 (7th Cir. 2006).

C. Discussion

In an effort to explain its untimeliness, Tire Waste first states that its attorneys took timely steps to obtain pro hac vice admission, but Attorney Williamson was not granted pro hac vice status until March 18, 2015-four days after the deadline for filing its response brief. ( See DE # 6-10, 13, 14.) Tire Waste emphasizes that under Local Rule 83-5(a), an attorney who is not admitted in this Court may not represent a party before this Court-that is, file a brief-until that attorney is granted leave to do so.

But this proffered explanation is not persuasive to show excusable neglect for the untimely filing. Although Attorney Williamson's pro hac vice application was not approved until March 18, 2015 (DE # 14), [3] the pro hac vice application of Attorney Veprauskas, an attorney from the same firm as Attorney Williamson, was granted on March 11, 2015 (DE # 11)-three days before the deadline for Tire Waste's response brief. Thus, regardless of Attorney Williamson's pending pro hac vice application, Tire Waste could certainly have met the deadline.

Second, Tire Waste argues that it "did not anticipate that [IMP] would demand strict compliance with L.R. 7-1...." (Am. Resp. 2.) Tire Waste urges that the motion to quash should be determined on its merits and not "minor procedural issues" so as to avoid a result that is inefficient, inequitable, and prejudicial to Tire Waste. (Am. Resp. 3.)

Tire Waste's second argument is no more persuasive than its first. It is within the Court's discretion, not IMP's, whether to demand strict compliance with the Local Rules. See Stanciel v. Gramley, 267 F.3d 575, 579 (7th Cir. 2001) (articulating that it within the district court's discretion "whether to apply [a local] rule strictly or to overlook any transgression" (citation omitted)). Therefore, "[o]ne who decides to follow a schedule of his own devising, for reasons of his own invention, has no legitimate complaint when the tribunal adheres to the rules." Smetzer v. Newton, No. 1:10-cv-93, 2012 ...

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