Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Liberty Corporate Capital Limited v. Club Exclusive, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

November 21, 2017

LIBERTY CORPORATE CAPITAL LIMITED, Plaintiff,
v.
CLUB EXCLUSIVE, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         On June 26, 2017, the Court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 36) filed by Plaintiff Liberty Corporate Capital Limited (“Liberty”) and dismissed this case with prejudice. (Docs. 38, 39). Pending before the Court is Defendant's Club Exclusive, Inc.'s (“Club Exclusive”) Motion To Set Aside, Alter, Or Vacate the Court's Order on Summary Judgment (doc. 40) (the “Motion”) filed pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1) on July 24, 2017. Liberty opposed the Motion on August 8, 2017. (Doc. 41). Club Exclusive filed no reply. For the reasons discussed below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         II. Standard

         Here, Club Exclusive seeks post-judgment relief under Rule 60(b)(1) which provides that a district court “may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for . . . mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). Club Exclusive more specifically relies upon excusable neglect.

         In Cheney v. Anchor Glass Container Corp., 71 F.3d 848, 849 (11th Cir. 1996), the Eleventh Circuit summarized the Supreme Court's clarification of the excusable neglect standard in Pioneer Investment Services Co. v. Brunswick Associates Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380, 113 S.Ct. 1489, 123 L.Ed.2d 74 (1993):

While we have been at some pain to define “excusable neglect” in different fact situations, see, e.g., Solaroll Shade, Varnes v. Local 91, Glass Bottle Blowers Assn., 674 F.2d 1365 (11th Cir. 1982), and Seven Elves. The Supreme Court has now clarified the meaning of “excusable neglect” in Pioneer Investment Services Co. v. Brunswick Associates Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380, 113 S.Ct. 1489, 123 L.Ed.2d 74 (1993). There the Court held that a bankruptcy court abused its discretion by refusing to permit the late filing of a proof of claim pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9006(b)(1). In reaching its decision, the Court reviewed the meaning of excusable neglect in the context of analogous rules that allow for late filings. It stated that “for purposes of Rule 60(b), ‘excusable neglect' is understood to encompass situations in which the failure to comply with a filing deadline is attributable to negligence.” Id. at __, 113 S.Ct. at 1497. The Court concluded that whether a party's neglect of a deadline may be excused is an equitable decision turning on “all relevant circumstances surrounding the party's omission.” Id. at __, 113 S.Ct. at 1498 (citations and footnotes omitted). The factors we must weigh include “the danger of prejudice to the [opposing 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.” Id.

Cheney, 71 F.3d at 849-50 (emphasis added). Concerning “Pioneer's good-faith inquiry, [the Eleventh Circuit] assess[es] whether the movant intentionally sought advantage by untimely filing.” Yang v. Bullock Fin. Grp., Inc., 435 F. App'x 842, 844 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Cheney, 71 F.3d at 850).[1]

         The Cheney court then applied the Pioneer factors to the movant's failure to file a timely trial de novo motion because of a lack of communication between the associate counsel and the lead counsel and concluded:

On balance, the lack of prejudice to Anchor Glass, the minimal degree of delay and the reason therefor, and the lack of impact on the judicial proceedings, when coupled with the lack of bad faith on the part of Cheney, require a finding by the district court that the neglect of Cheney's counsel was “excusable.” The district court's failure to so find and to apply the correct legal standard and factors as announced in Pioneer constitute an abuse of discretion. For these reasons, we REMAND the case to the district court for further proceedings on the merits of Cheney's claim.

71 F.3d at 850 (emphasis added); see also Walter v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin, 181 F.3d 1198, 1202 (11th Cir. 1999) (finding that “Pioneer and Cheney directly control the outcome of this case [involving a plaintiff's failure to timely respond to a motion to dismiss], and [that] all four factors weigh in favor of [movant]'s position”).

         III. Analysis

         A. Preliminary Issues Regarding the Parties' Filings and the Appropriate Standard for the Court To Apply

          At the beginning of its argument, Club Exclusive suggests that the three-factor framework utilized by the Supreme Court of Alabama when deciding whether to set aside a default under Ala. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) is the model that this Court should apply in light of its failure to oppose summary judgment. (See Doc. 40 at 7 (“[T]he Court must apply the following three factors: (1) whether the defaulting party has a meritorious defense, (2) whether the nondefaulting party will be unfairly prejudiced if the default judgment is set aside, and (3) whether the default judgment was a result of the defaulting party's own culpable conduct.” (citing Kirtland v. Fort Morgan Auth. Sewer Serv., Inc., 524 So.2d 600, 605 (Ala. 1988)))). In suggesting this standard arising under Alabama procedural law, Club Exclusive does not attempt to explain why this federal case should be governed by authorities applying Ala. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) rather than Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1).

         Citing to Sampson v. Cansler, 726 So.2d 632 (Ala. 1998), Club Exclusive then maintains that “[a]lthough Kirtland involved a Rule 55(c) motion to set aside a default judgment, Alabama courts also apply the Kirtland factors to Rule 60(b) motions to set aside [all] judgments.” (Doc. 40 at 7). However, Sampson does not support Club Exclusive's position. Instead, Sampson states that “[a]lthough Kirtland involved a Rule 55(c) motion to set aside a default judgment, we also apply the Kirtland analysis to Rule 60(b) motions to set aside default judgments.” 726 So.2d at 633 (emphasis added). Therefore, Club Exclusive's reliance upon Kirtland and Sampson is misplaced for multiple reasons.

         Later in its Motion, Club Exclusive discusses the Pioneer-Cheney model and cites to several different cases applying it. (Doc. 40 at 9-20). However, Club Exclusive does not ever directly apply those four factors to its facts. Instead, Club Exclusive generally contends that the “application of the four-factor test should ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.