United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
suit, Plaintiff Chevy Chase Funding, LLC (“Chevy
Chase”) has sued Defendants Timothy F. Walsh, as
Trustee for the Berwyn Road Historic Preservation and
Conservation Trust (the “Berwyn Road Trust”),
Gregory J. Walsh and Christina Walsh (the
“Walshes”), and Branch Banking and Trust Co.
(“BB&T”) over a mortgage that the Walshes took
out on their property. See ECF No. 1. Chevy Chase
seeks an order from the Court either amending the contracts
between the parties, or declaring that Chevy Chase has a
first-priority lien on the Walshes' property.
Id. at 6-7. The Clerk submitted entries of default
against the Walshes for failure to answer the Complaint. ECF
No. 24, ECF No. 34. Now pending before the Court is Chevy
Chase's Motion for Default Judgment, ECF No. 36, and the
Walshes' Motion Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(b) For Leave to File An Answer Later Than The 21 Days
Required Due To Excusable Neglect (“Motion for
Extension of Time”), ECF No. 37. No hearing is
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the
following reasons, Chevy Chase's motion, ECF No. 36, is
granted and the Walshes' motion, ECF No. 37, is denied.
parties dispute the property rights of a piece of real
property, 5012 Berwyn Road, College Park, Maryland 20740 (the
“Property”). ECF No. 1 ¶ 1. On January 12,
2004, Gregory and Christina Walsh purchased the Property for
$206, 000. The entire purchase was funded with two purchase
loans from Impac Funding Corp. d/b/a Impac Lending Group
(“Impac”). Id. ¶¶ 9- 10. One
loan was for $164, 800, and the other was for $41, 200; both
loans were secured by Deeds of Trust, which were recorded in
the Land Records for Prince George's County. Id.
28, 2004, Gregory, Christina and Timothy Walsh (as trustee)
(collectively, the “Walshes”) recorded a deed
purporting to transfer the Property from Gregory and
Christina to the Berwyn Road Trust for no consideration.
Id. ¶ 13. The deed certified that Gregory and
Christina are the sole beneficiaries of the Berwyn Road
Trust, which is a revocable trust. Id. ¶ 14.
October 1, 2004, Gregory and Christina borrowed $212, 000
from Chevy Chase Bank, FSB, whose terms and conditions were
set forth in a promissory note (together, the “Subject
Loan” and “Subject Note”). Id.
¶ 18. To secure the loan, they executed a deed of trust
(the “Subject DOT”) in which they purported to
grant the Property as security for the Subject Loan; at
closing, they signed an affidavit declaring that they were
the owners of the Property. Id. ¶¶ 19-20.
Gregory and Christina used the proceeds of the Subject Loan
to pay off the Impac loans, which were released on October
26, 2004, and December 13, 2004. Id. ¶ 23.
Chevy Chase is the owner of the Subject Loan and beneficiary
of the Subject DOT. Id. ¶ 24.
Chase commenced this action on June 2, 2016. ECF No. 1.
Gregory and Christina Walsh submitted a Motion to Dismiss on
July 27, 2016, ECF No. 7, which the Court denied on March 7,
2017, ECF No. 20. The Court instructed the Walshes to file
their Answer to the Complaint within 21 days. ECF No. 20. The
Walshes failed to file an Answer, and the Clerk entered an
order of default against Timothy Walsh on June 7, 2017, ECF
No. 24, and against Christina and Gregory Walsh on November
1, 2017, ECF No. 34. Chevy Chase filed the now-pending Motion
for Default Judgment on November 14, 2017, ECF No. 36, and
the Walshes filed the now-pending Motion for Extension of
Time on December 27, 2017, ECF No. 37.
Chase argues that it is entitled to default judgment in its
favor because the Walshes have not filed an Answer to their
Complaint. ECF No. 36. The Court addresses the Walshes'
motion first, as granting the Walshes' motion would
render Chevy Chase's motion moot.
Motion for Extension of Time to Answer
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a court
“may, for good cause” extend the time for a party
to file a briefing “on motion made after the time has
expired if the party failed to act because of excusable
neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b). “Excusable neglect
is not easily demonstrated.” Martinez v. United
States, 578 Fed. App'x. 192, 194 (4th Cir. 2014)
(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Indeed,
“‘[a] district court should find excusable
neglect only in the extraordinary cases where
injustice would otherwise result.'” Ward v.
Branch Banking & Trust Co., No. ELH-13-1968, 2016 WL
4492706, at *5 (D. Md. Aug. 25, 2016) (quoting Thompson
v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 76 F.3d 530, 534 (4th
Cir. 1996)) (emphasis in Thompson). The Supreme
Court articulated the standard for “excusable
neglect” in Pioneer Inv. Serv. Co. v. Brunswick
Assoc. Ltd. P'ship, identifying four factors for
courts to consider, including “ the danger of
prejudice to the [non-movant],  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.” 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993); see
also Thompson, 76 F.3d at 533. “The most important
factor considered by a court is the reason for the
delay.” Rothenberg v. Marriott Int'l,
Inc., No. CCB-08-173, 2008 WL 687033, *1 (D. Md. Feb.
29, 2008) (citing Thompson, 76 F.3d at 534); see
also United States v. Munoz, 605 F.3d 359, 372 (6th Cir.
2010) (noting that “the Pioneer factors do not
carry equal weight; the excuse given for the late filing must
have the greatest import”) (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted).
their Motion for Extension of Time, ECF No. 37, the Walshes
argue that the Court should allow them to file a late Answer
because Gregory Walsh has “a heavy work schedule as a
NASA engineer and [he] cannot always take time away from work
activities to do legal research and prepare pleadings,
” and that his wife, Christina, “also works and
does not have the time and experience for legal research and
legal document preparation.” ECF No. 37 at
The Walshes further urge that they are “not experienced
nor are [they] trained at the level of an attorney.”
ECF No. 37 at 2.
response, Chevy Chase points out that nine months have passed
since the Walshes' Answer was due. ECF No. 39 at 1. Chevy
Chase further points out that in that same period of time
during which the Walshes claim they were too preoccupied with
work to file legal briefings, they in fact filed twenty
documents in six open cases. Id. at 3. Chevy Chase
argues that the Walshes were not unaware that they had missed
their deadline to file an Answer, because Chevy Chase told
them so when it filed a request for default in this case in
May 2017, ECF No. 23. The Walshes did not respond to that
not a situation where inexperienced litigants missed a
deadline that they were unaware of by a few days for reasons
outside of their control. Instead, the Walshes, who are
serial litigants, have never filed their Answer, which was
due on March 28, 2017. ECF No. 20, ECF No. 23. They were
expressly made aware of the deadline by the Court on March 7,
2017, ECF No. 20, and were informed by Chevy Chase that they
had missed the deadline on May 19, 2017, ECF No. 23. The
Walshes did not seek an extension or attempt to justify their
delay until December 27, 2017. ECF No. 37. The Walshes'
only excuse is that their work schedules do not permit them
the ability to take the time to file legal pleadings. As
discussed above, this has not prevented them, however, from
filing twenty documents in six open cases between March and
December 2017. The Court finds that the Walshes have not
demonstrated excusable neglect in failing to submit an
Answer, and denies their Motion for Extension of Time.