United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CHARLES F. JONES, Plaintiff,
ANDERSON COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION, JOSEPH CRONK, Individually and in His Official Capacity as Director of Operations for the Anderson Community School Corporation, NANCY FARLEY, Individually and in Her Former Official Capacity as Director of Transportation for the Anderson Community School Corporation, MARY ANN HEINEMAN, Individually and in Her Official Capacity as Assistant Director of Transportation for the Anderson Community School Corporation, BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF THE ANDERSON COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION, Individually and in Their Official Capacities, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE BELATED
RESPONSE (DKT. 36)
EVANS BARKER, United States District Court Judge
Charles F. Jones (“Plaintiff”) brought this
employment discrimination action under 42 U.S.C § 1983
against the Anderson Community School Corporation (“the
School”), its Board of Trustees (“the
Board”), and three of its employees (“the
Employees”), all in their individual and official
capacities (“Defendants”). Before the Court
is Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a belated
response, Dkt. 36, in opposition to Defendants' motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim. Dkt. 23. For the reasons
stated below, the motion is denied.
filed an initial complaint on August 11, 2016, as an action
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), and
under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, naming the School as the sole
defendant. Dkt. 1. Defendants answered on September 30, 2016,
Dkt. 8, and moved for partial judgment on the pleadings on
November 22, 2016. Dkt. 12.
motion, Defendants contend that Plaintiff's Section 1981
action cannot be maintained against the School because
Section 1981 “does not create a private right of action
against state actors.” Defs.' Br. Supp. (Dkt. 13),
p. 2 (quoting Campbell v. Forest Pres. Dist., 752
F.3d 665, 671 (7th Cir. 2014)). Defendants might have added
that Plaintiff's Title VII claim could not be maintained
against the School either because Plaintiff alleges that he
was previously an “independent, contract school bus
driver” for the School, Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 10, and
“independent contractors are not protected by Title
VII.” Knight v. United Farm Bureau Mut. Ins.
Co., 950 F.2d 377, 380 (7th Cir. 1991).
than oppose Defendants' motion, Plaintiff filed his
amended complaint on November 28, 2016. Dkt. 14. The amended
complaint names the Board and the Employees in their
individual and official capacities in addition to the School.
Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 4-8. Gone are all
references to Title VII or Section 1981; in their place
Plaintiff pleads “unlawful . . . discriminat[ion] . .
. on the bases of race and sex” under the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Id. ¶ 2.
Plaintiff filed his amended complaint, the magistrate judge
set a telephonic status conference for December 8, 2016, to
discuss the status of Defendants' motion for judgment on
the pleadings. Dkt. 15. Plaintiff's counsel failed to
appear at that conference. Dkt. 17. On December 13, 2016, the
magistrate judge denied Defendants' motion as moot, made
so by the amended complaint, and ordered Plaintiff's
counsel to show cause why he should not be sanctioned for his
failure to appear. Id.
December 17, 2016, Plaintiff's counsel explained that his
legal assistant had neglected to calendar the status
conference. Pl.'s Resp. (Dkt. 20) ¶ 8. On January 6,
2017, the magistrate judge entered an order finding a
“calendaring mishap” to be an
“unacceptable” explanation. Dkt. 25. The
magistrate judge ordered Plaintiff's counsel to review
counsel's professional obligations as set out by the
magistrate judge in an order in another case. See
Id. Plaintiff's counsel complied, Dkt. 26, thereby
discharging the show-cause order. Dkt. 31.
Plaintiff's counsel sought to avoid sanctions for the
missed conference, on January 3, 2017, Defendants moved to
dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. 23.
Defendants' filed a brief in support of their motion the
same day. Dkt. 24. Plaintiff's counsel did not respond
within the fourteen-day period allotted under our local rule.
S.D. Ind. L.R. 7-1(c)(2)(A). Twenty days later, on January
23, 2017, six days after the deadline to respond to their
motion had passed, Defendants filed a reply brief in support
of their motion to dismiss, Dkt. 30, noting Plaintiff's
failure to respond, urging a finding of waiver, and restating
their arguments for dismissal.
than a month later, and nearly two months after
Defendants' motion to dismiss was filed, on February 26,
2017, Plaintiff's counsel filed the instant motion for
leave to file a belated response. Dkt. 36. Counsel again
blames a calendaring mishap. See id., Pl.'s Mot.
Leave to File ¶¶ 7-9. Defendants oppose the motion
as without good cause, without excusable neglect, and, in any
event, futile to rescue the amended complaint from dismissal.
Defs.' Br. Opp. (Dkt. 37), p. 2.
an act . . . 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B)
(emphasis added). This rule “clearly gives courts both
the authority to establish deadlines and the discretion to
enforce them.” Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442
F.3d 600, 605 (7th Cir. 2006). A district court is not merely
entitled, but required, to enforce its deadlines in the
interests of speed, efficiency, and justice. Reales v.
Consol. Rail Corp., 84 F.3d 993, 996 (7th Cir. 1996).
“We live in a world of deadlines. . . . The practice of
law is no exception.” Spears v. City of
Indianapolis, 74 F.3d 153, 157 (7th Cir. 1996).
is at bottom an equitable [notion], taking account of all
relevant circumstances surrounding the party's omission.
These include . . . the danger of prejudice to [the
nonmovant], the length of the delay and its potential impact
on judicial proceedings, the reasons for the delay, including
whether it was within ...