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Legal Memorandum: Motion to Extend Pre-trial Deadlines

Issue: What is the standard for granting a motion to extend pre-trial deadlines?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motion to extend pre-trial deadlines; Discovery; Excusable neglect
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 507 U.S. 380
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)(1)(B)
Date: 12/01/2008

When the discovery deadline has passed, a moving party should demonstrate excusable neglect, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)(1)(B).  “Whether neglect is excusable depends on ‘the danger of prejudice to the [nonmovant], 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 acts in good faith.'”  Waxman v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y, No. 07-80942-CIV, 2008 WL 2047881, *1 (S.D. Fla. May 13, 2008) (quoting Pioneer Inv. Servs. v. Brunswick Assoc. Ltd. P’ship, 507 U.S. 380 (1993)).  Accord Fisher v. Office of the State Attorney, 162 F. App’x 937, 940, 2006 WL 133148, at *2 (11th Cir. 2006).  See Creative Tile Mktg., Inc. v. Sicis Int’l, 922 F. Supp. 1534, 1537 (S.D. Fla. 1996) (finding excusable neglect where the defendant acted in a timely fashion as to some aspects of the case, his dilatoriness was not willful, he had meritorious defenses, and the plaintiff was not prejudiced by the delay).  See also Nucletron Corp. v. Alpha-Omega Servs., Inc., No. 8:04-cv-2628-T-30TBM, 2006 WL 4877551 (M.D. Fla. July 13, 2006) (finding excusable neglect sufficient to justify extension of time for completing discovery). Excusable neglect includes “‘intervening circumstances beyond the party’s control.'”  Fisher, 162 F. App’x at 940, 2006 WL 133148, at *2 (quoting Pioneer Inv., 507 U.S. at 388).  “Whether neglect is excusable is an equitable determination ‘taking account of all relevant circumstances surrounding the party’s omission.'”  […]

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