United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
J. DINSMORE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATC JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Amy Stevens'
Motion for Enlargement of Time to Respond to Defendant Chris
Heaton's Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 176]. Heaton has filed a
response opposing any extension of time. [Dkt. 177.] For the
reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS
Stevens' motion over Heaton's objection.
case was originally filed on September 30, 2018. Heaton was
added as a Defendant when the Amended Complaint was filed on
January 3, 2019; however, Heaton was not served until May 10,
2019. Before Heaton responded to the Amended Complaint, the
Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint on June 11,
2019. Heaton filed a motion to dismiss the
Second Amended Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction on
June 25, 2019. See [Dkt. 148.]
Plaintiffs' response to the motion to dismiss was due on
July 16, 2019. See Local Rule 7-1(c)(2). On July 15,
2019, Plaintiffs' counsel moved to withdraw their
appearances in this case. [See Dkt. 162 and Dkt.
163.] On July 22, 2019, new counsel appeared for Stevens; the
following day, new counsel (different from Stevens' new
counsel) appeared for Plaintiff Jane Doe.
instant motion for extension of time, Stevens, by her new
counsel, seeks an extension of the deadline to respond to
Heaton's motion to dismiss to August 15, 2019. As Stevens
recognizes, the applicable standard is “excusable
neglect” because Stevens' motion was filed after
the expiration of the original deadline. “When a
district court is considering whether excusable neglect
exists, it should take into account such factors as
‘the danger of prejudice [to the non-moving 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.'” Whitfield v.
Howard, 852 F.3d 656, 660 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd.
P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993)).
case, Heaton articulates no prejudice that will result from
the requested extension of time, and the Court sees none.
There is no question that the good cause standard would have
been satisfied and an extension to August 15th would have
been granted had Stevens' original counsel filed a motion
prior to the deadline on the grounds that they were in the
process of withdrawing and therefore additional time was
needed for new counsel to appear and respond to the motion.
Heaton concedes as much. [See Dkt. 177 at 3]
(“Plaintiff's prior counsel had the ability and
opportunity to prevent this situation in its entirety by
filing a simple motion for extension on or before July 3,
2019, when they were still counsel of record for the
Plaintiffs.”). The fact that that did not occur, but
instead new counsel filed a motion for time a week later,
changes nothing about “this situation” in any
practical sense, and therefore does not prejudice Heaton in
the other relevant factors, the amount of additional time
sought is very reasonable in light of the circumstances, and
the short delay will have minimal effect on the proceedings.
There is no evidence that Stevens, her prior counsel, or her
new counsel have acted in bad faith with regard to the
requested extension. The Court is aware of no other factors
that would weigh in favor of denying the motion for time.
position is that Stevens' prior counsel missed the
deadline and Stevens should pay the price for their failure.
[See Dkt. 177 at 3] (“When considering
relevant circumstances, Courts have specifically held that
‘clients must be held accountable for the acts and
omissions of their attorneys.'” (citing Pioneer
Inv. Srvs. Co., 507 U.S. at 396; Tango Music, LLC v.
Deadquick Music, Inc., 348 F.3d 244, 247 (7th Cir. 2003)
(“If the lawyer's neglect protected the client from
ill consequences, neglect would become all too
common.”); Suarez v. Town of Ogden Dunes, 2006
WL 2982107, *3 (N.D. Ind. 2006) (Refusing to find excusable
neglect where “the reasons for [failure to respond]
were entirely within the control of Plaintiff[‘s]
attorney.”)). But those cases simply stand for the
unremarkable proposition that “it was my lawyer's
fault” does not equate to excusable neglect; whether an
attorney's failure to act constitutes excusable neglect
must be determined by analyzing the relevant factors. As set
forth above, when those factors are applied to the
circumstances of this case, the answer is clear.
motion for extension of time to August 15,
2019, to respond to Heaton's motion to dismiss
is GRANTED. For the sake of consistency, the
time for Jane Doe to file any response to Heaton's motion
is also enlarged to and including August 15,
 Heaton inexplicably filed a motion to
dismiss the Amended Complaint three days after the Second
Amended Complaint was filed. That motion, [Dkt. 139], is