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D.C. Area Pension Fund v. Western Surety Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

September 7, 2017



          GEORGE J. HAZEL, United States District Judge

         In this action. Plaintiffs, the Sheet METAL Workers' Local Union No. 100 (the "Union""). Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Pension Fund. Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 401 (k) Fund. Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Apprenticeship Fund, Sheet Metal Workers" Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Vacation Fund, and Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 100 Washington. D.C. Area Health Fund (collectively. "Benefit Funds") seek to recover on a fringe benefit bond on which Defendant. Western Surety Company ("Western Surely"), is the surety. Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Scheduling Order. ECF No. 38. No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.). For the reasons that follow. Plaintiffs Motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court thoroughly summarized the tactual and procedural background of this suit in its May 17. 2016 Memorandum Opinion on Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment. See BCF No. 35 at 2-8.[1]A brief summary of the relevant facts follows.

         United Sheet Metal, Inc. ("United") was a sheet m subcontractor that employed members of the Union on various construction projects. Id. at 2. In July 2009. the Union and United entered into a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") under which United agreed to pay set amounts to the Benefit funds. Id. These funds were to be governed in accordance with the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 157 et seq., and the Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 el seq. The CBA also required that United post a bond to ensure the satisfaction of its requirements under the CBA. Id., at 3. On September 1. 2011. Defendant issued a Contractors Fringe Benefits Bond (the "Bond") in the amount of $500, 000 naming United as its principal and the Union and Benefit Funds as its obliges. Id., In late 2013 and early 2014, United became delinquent on multiple payments, and ultimately ceased all operations in March 2014. Id. at 5. Plaintiffs sent multiple letters to Defendant requesting payment on the Bond, and ultimately filed this suit when Western Surety refused to remit any payment on Plaintiffs' bond claim. Id., at 8.

         On May 7. 2015. this Court entered a Scheduling Order for this suit. ECF No. 20. The Scheduling Order specified that "the schedule will not be changed except for good cause." Id. at 1. As part of this Scheduling Order, the Court directed that all "Dispositive pretrial motions" would be filed by October 19. 2015. Id. at 2. Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on October 19, 2015, alleging that they were entitled to judgment on Western Surety's liability. ECF No. 30. The Court granted in part and denied in part that motion on May 17. 2016. ECF No. 35. In its Memorandum Opinion, the Court found that Western Surety is liable under the Bond as a matter of law, but that there was insufficient evidence to determine Plaintiffs" damages. Id. at 26. Five months later, on October 25. 2016. Plaintiffs submitted their Motion for Scheduling Order, asking the Court to allow the Plaintiffs to submit a supplemental motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 38. Specifically. Plaintiffs contend that the Court should adopt a "burden-shifting analysis." which would allow Plaintiffs to rely on certain documents provided by United in assessing damages. ECF No. 38-1 at 5. The Court interprets this request as being either a Request for Reconsideration of its initial decision on Plaintiffs" Motion for Summary Judgment. or a Request for Extension of the tiling deadlines, as the deadline for filing dispositive motions has passed. The Court addresses Plaintiffs" motion under these two standards, and finds it to be without merit under either standard.


         A. Motion to reconsider

         "A motion to reconsider is appropriate to raise a significant change in the law or I acts, or when "the Court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension. "" Ledo Pizza Sys., Inc. v. Singh, 983 F.Supp.2d 632. 638 (D. Md. 2013) (quoting Above the Bell. Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing. Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99. 101 (E.I). Va. 1983)). "A motion to reconsider is inappropriate where it merely seeks to re-debate the merits of a particular motion." Remediation Products. Inc. v. Advcntiis Americas. Inc., No. 3:07CV153-RJC-DCK. 2010 WL 2572555. at *1 (W.D. N.C. June 22. 2010). or merely request that the district court change its mind. United States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310. 313 (4th Cir. 1982). "The power to reconsider an order is 'committed to the discretion of the district court.* In exercising this discretion, courts must be sensitive to "concerns of finality and judicial economy."' Asher & Simons. P.A. v. j2 Glob. Canada, inc., 977 F.Supp.2d 544. 546-47 (D. Md. 2013) (quoting Am. Canoe Ass'n v. Murphy Farms. Inc., 326 F.3d 505. 51 5 (4th Cir.2003)). In this Court, "any motion to reconsider any order issued by the Court shall be filed with the Clerk not later than fourteen (14) days after entry of the order." Local Rule 105.10 (D.Md. 2014).

         B. Motion for extension of time

         Generally, this Court's scheduling orders "must be obeyed absent good cause." Wonasue v. Univ. of Md. Alumni Ass'n., 2013 WL 5719004 (D. Md. Oct. 17. 2013). "A court's scheduling order 'is not a frivolous piece of paper, idly entered, which can be cavalierly disregarded by counsel without peril."' Jams v. Koons Auto., Inc., No. DKC-09-3362. 2013 WL 3713845. at *8 (D. Md. July 15. 2013) (quoting Potomac Etec. Power Co. v. Elec, Motor Supply. Inc., 190 F.R.D. 372. 376 (D. Md. 1999)). After a deadline in a scheduling order has expired, "the good cause standard must be satisfied" to justify leave to file a dispositive motion. Nourison Rux Corp. v. Parvizian, 535 F.3d 295. 298 (4th Cir. 2008). This requires more than simply identifying a new argument that had not been previously raised. See Id. The movant can satisfy the good cause requirement only "by showing that, despite due diligence, it could not have [filed the dispositive motion] in a reasonably timely manner." Holliday v. Holliday, No. 09-cv-01449-AW. 2012 WL 1409527. at *3 (D. Md. Apr. 20, 2012). "Absent a showing of good cause, untimely cross-motions for summary judgment are subject to being stricken." Carter v. VNA, Inc., No. GLR-12-868. 2013 WL 3967925. at *7(D. Md. July 30. 2013).


         Plaintiffs' motion is without merit, whether it is assessed as a Motion for Reconsideration or as a Motion for Extension."[2]

         A. Motion for ...

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