United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
GARY G. PREWITT, Plaintiff,
HAMLINE UNIVERSITY, Defendant.
WAVERLYD. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Prewitt filed the Complaint against Hamline University after
it locked Prewitt out of Hamline's online student
computer system prior to Prewitt completing the coursework
required to graduate. (Doc. No. 1.) He alleges that Hamline
discriminated against him on the basis of race, in violation
of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000d et seq., and sex, in violation of Title IX of the
Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §
1681(a). (Id.) Before the Court is
Hamline's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 82.)
Also before the Court is Prewitt's Motion to Review the
Magistrate Judge's May 23, 2018 Order finding that good
cause existed for Prewitt's late summary judgment motion
(Doc. No. 104.) For the following reasons, Prewitt's
Motion to Review is granted, the Magistrate Judge's May
23, 2018 Order is affirmed, and Hamline's Motion for
Summary Judgment is granted.
case's progress has been rocked with turbulence from the
beginning. After multiple failed attempts to serve Hamline
and a motion to dismiss that remained pending for fourteen
months, a scheduling order was not entered until April 20,
2017, almost two years after the filing of the Complaint.
(Doc. No. 46.) The Magistrate Judge set a discovery deadline
of September 15, 2017, a dispositive motions deadline of
February 1, 2018, and ordered that “[d]iscovery is not
stayed during dispositive or other motions, unless ordered by
the Court.” (Id. at 2.)
before the discovery deadline, Prewitt filed his first
Discovery Dispute Statement. (Doc. No. 55.) A week later, he
filed a second Discovery Dispute Statement. (Doc. No. 57.) On
September 14, 2017, the Magistrate Judge extended certain
deadlines in response to the Discovery Dispute Statements.
(Doc. No. 58.) Relevant to the instant motions, the
Magistrate Judge ordered supplemental discovery responses and
that Hamline designate its Rule 30(b)(6) representative on or
before September 20, 2017. (Id. at 1.) Prewitt was
also required to confirm to Hamline the manner in which he
sought to take Hamline's Rule 30(b)(6) designee's
deposition by September 20. (Id. at 1-2.) If the
deposition was to take place in person, it was required to
take place in Minnesota. (Id. at 2.)
October, each party filed a Motion to Compel. (Doc. Nos.
62-63.) The Magistrate Judge resolved those in January (Doc.
No. 71), and Prewitt sought review of the Magistrate
Judge's Order. (Doc. No. 72.) Hamline then sought
sanctions against Prewitt, as well as a continuance of the
February 1 dispositive motions deadline and the trial date.
(Doc. No. 74.) The Court affirmed the Magistrate Judge in
February, and stated: “At this stage of the litigation,
the trial date will not be continued absent extraordinary
cause.” (Doc. No. 79.) Hamline's Motion for
Sanctions (Doc. No. 74) remains pending.
in February, Prewitt moved to amend the Amended Case
Management Order to permit him to depose Hamline's Rule
30(b)(6) designee and resolve supplemental discovery issues.
(Doc. No. 80.) On March 12, 2018, Hamline, without a ruling
on its motion to extend deadlines, belatedly filed its Motion
for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 82.) The Magistrate Judge set
a briefing schedule (Doc. No. 90), in compliance with Local
Rule 16.01(f), and issued an Order requiring Hamline to show
cause why its summary judgment motion was filed late without
leave of the Court (Doc. No. 92). Prewitt sought review of
the Magistrate Judge's scheduling Order (Doc. No. 91),
and the Court affirmed. (Doc. No. 97). The Court made clear
that the “briefing on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment is not stayed pending the resolution of the
Order to Show Cause or Plaintiff's second Motion to
Review.” (Id. at 1-2.)
March 13, 2018, the Magistrate Judge denied Prewitt's
Motion to Amend the Case Management Order. (Doc. No. 89.) The
Magistrate Judge found that Hamline had complied with all
discovery requests and Prewitt had not identified why
Hamline's supplemental discovery responses were
inadequate. (Id. at 3.) The Magistrate Judge further
found that while Hamline never designated its Rule 30(b)(6)
representative, Prewitt had not timely noticed the deposition
nor informed Hamline whether the deposition would be
telephonic or in person. (Id. at 4.) She therefore
found that good cause did not exist to extend any of the
expired deadlines. (Id. at 5.) Prewitt sought review
of the Magistrate Judge's Order (Doc. No. 95), which the
Court affirmed (Doc. No. 101).
Motion to Review
23, 2018, the Magistrate Judge found that good cause existed
for the Court to accept Hamline's untimely Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 103.) In short, the Magistrate
Judge found that Hamline “diligently tried to set
Prewitt's deposition and to obtain discovery responses
before taking it and moved to extend the dispositive motion
deadline when it became apparent that the delays in obtaining
that discovery would make its motion untimely.”
(Id. (citing Doc. No. 74)). Therefore, the
Magistrate Judge found that Hamline established the necessary
good cause to amend the scheduling order under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4), and considered the pending
Motion for Summary Judgment timely filed. (Id.)
Prewitt filed a Motion for Review of that Order. (Doc. No.
Motion primarily argues that Rule 16(b)(4) mandates that a
scheduling order can be modified “only for good cause
and with the judge's consent.” (Id. at 2.)
Because Hamline did not obtain the Court's consent to
extend the dispositive motions deadline prior to filing its
motion, Prewitt argues that the Magistrate Judge's
subsequent finding of good cause is contrary to law.
(Id. at 3.) The remainder of Prewitt's Motion
takes issue with the Magistrate Judge's finding of good
cause. (Id. at 4-5.) The Court will address each of
Prewitt's arguments in turn.
explained in the Court's previous Orders resolving
Prewitt's Motions to Review, Local Rule 72.02 allows a
party to object to decisions of Magistrate Judges on
nondispositive matters by filing a Motion for Review. The
Court must consider timely objections and “modify or
set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or
is contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). Local Rule
72.02(b)(1) also allows the Court to modify or set aside the
Magistrate Judge's Order if it is “in the interests
standard for allowing late filings is set forth in Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b). Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v.
Bruswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 113 S.Ct. 1489, 1496
(1993). If a request for an extension of time is made prior
to the expiration of the original time, the extension of time
must be “for good cause.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
6(b)(1)(A). If the motion is made after the time has expired,
then there is an additional requirement that the tardiness of
the motion be “because of excusable neglect.”
Id. at 6(b)(1)(B). Here, because Hamline filed its
motion to extend the deadline prior to the expiration of the
deadline, it only needs to show good cause ...