United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending and ready for resolution in this negligence case are
(1) the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants
Maryland Transit Administration (“MTA”) and
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
“Defendants”) (ECF No. 63); (2) the motion to
strike Plaintiff's response filed by Defendants (ECF No.
65); and (3) the motion to allow for late filing filed by
Plaintiff Belinda Hinson (“Plaintiff”) (ECF No.
66). The issues have been fully briefed, and the court now
rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6.
For the following reasons, the motion to strike will be
denied, the motion to allow for late filing will be granted,
and the motion for summary judgment will be granted.
January 23, 2013, Plaintiff took a train operated by
Defendants from Baltimore, Maryland, to New Carrolton,
Maryland. For the ride, she sat on the second deck of the
train. As the train approached New Carrolton, Plaintiff
gathered her belongings. At New Carrolton, she waited for the
train to stop and went to the stairs. Five seconds after the
train initially stopped, the train suddenly moved and
Plaintiff fell down the stairs. (ECF Nos. 2 ¶¶ 7-8;
64-2, at 3).
filed suit in the Circuit Court for Prince George's
County, Maryland, on January 15, 2016. (ECF No. 2). Defendant
Amtrak removed the case to federal court. (ECF No. 1).
Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 63).
Plaintiff responded 21 days later even though Local Rule
105.2.a requires a response be filed within fourteen days.
(ECF No. 64). Defendants replied and moved to strike the
response. (ECF No. 65). Plaintiff responded to the motion to
strike and moved to allow the late filing. (ECF No. 66).
Defendant replied. (ECF No. 67).
Choice of Law & Jurisdiction
to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, “The district courts shall
have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under
the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States.” Congress established Defendant Amtrak as a
corporation, and “[f]ederal question jurisdiction
exists for congressionally incorporated corporations under 28
U.S.C. § 1331.” Aliotta v. Nat'l R.R.
Passenger Corp., 315 F.3d 756, 758 n.1 (7th
Cir. 2003); In re Rail Collision Near Chase, Md. on Jan.
4, 1987 Litig., 680 F.Supp. 728, 730 (D.Md. 1987)
(finding federal jurisdiction for Amtrak because of its
Congressional charter).Federal question jurisdiction exists
because “[e]ven though state law creates [the] cause
of action . . . [the] right to relief under state law
requires resolution of a . . . question of federal
law[.]” Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Constr.
Laborers Vacation Tr. for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 13
situation, the district court applies the substantive law
that creates the cause of action. Hollus v. Amtrak Ne.
Corridor, 937 F.Supp. 1110, 1114 (D.N.J. 1996)
(concluding that New Jersey substantive law applied to a tort
action against Amtrak). Therefore, as this was a negligence
suit brought under Maryland law, Maryland substantive law
applies. Maryland law does not, however, govern procedural
rules in this court.
Motion for leave for late filing and Motion to
filed her response to Defendants' motion late. (ECF No.
64). Defendants moved to strike Plaintiff's late filing.
(ECF No. 65). Plaintiff then moved to allow for the late
filing. (ECF No. 66).
6(b)(2) governs motions for enlargement of time sought after
expiration of the specified time period. The rule provides a
district court with discretion to order an extension even
after the expiration of a specified time period, but only for
“cause shown” and if the failure to act in a
timely fashion is the result of “excusable
neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(2). The Supreme Court of
the United States defined the meaning of excusable neglect in
Pioneer Investment Services Co. v. Brunswick Associates
Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380 (1993), a case dealing
with late filings in bankruptcy proceedings. In defining
neglect, the Supreme Court reasoned that courts could accept
late filings due to inadvertence, mistake or carelessness,
and intervening circumstances beyond a party's control.
To ascertain whether a delay in filing is excusable, courts
must consider “all relevant circumstances surrounding
the party's omission.” Id. at 395.
Plaintiff avers that her delay in filing was due to a mistake
about the timeline within which to file a response. (ECF No.
66). This mistake resulted in only a week delay, and
Defendants have not alleged any prejudice. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's motion to allow for late filing will be
granted, and Defendants' motion to strike will be denied.
Motion for Summary Judgment