Legal Memorandum: Motion to Enlarge the Time to Act

Issue: When will federal district courts grant a motion to enlarge the time a party has in which to act?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Grant a motion; Enlargement of time to act; Court has discretion
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 167 F. Supp. 2d 731; 41 F. Supp. 2d 576
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)
Date: 05/01/2005

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b), a court has discretion to enlarge for cause shown the time in which to act, even “after the expiration of the specified period . . . where the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect.”  Rule 6(b) is a rule of general application that gives the trial court the discretion to enlarge time limits.  Kernisant v. City of New York, 225 F.R.D. 422, 431 (E.D.N.Y. 2005).  The application for enlargement of time normally is granted absent bad faith or prejudice to the adverse party.  Id. at 431.

Excusable neglect is an equitable and elastic concept whereby the court takes into account all the relevant circumstances surrounding the delay.  Pertinent factors include:   (1) the danger of prejudice to the nonmovant, (2) the length of the delay and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, (3) the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant, (4) whether the movant acted in good faith, (5) whether the inadvertence was the result of professional incompetence such as ignorance of the rules of procedure, (6) whether an asserted inadvertence reflects an easily manufactured excuse incapable of verification by the court and (7) a complete lack of diligence.


Since the determination of excusable neglect is, at root, an equitable one, the court is free to weigh the aforementioned factors as it sees fit.


Schering Corp. v. Amgen, Inc., 198 F.R.D. […]

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