United States District Court, D. Maryland
ANNA BORKOWSKI, et al.
BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND, et al.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending and ready for resolution in this civil rights class
action is the motion to enlarge time to file the third
amended complaint filed by Plaintiffs Anna Borkowski, Katelyn
Frank, Marcella Fegler, Annemarie Hendler, and Kaila Noland
(“named Plaintiffs”), on their own behalf and on
behalf of those similarly situated (“class
Plaintiffs”). (ECF No. 69). 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 for an extension of time will be granted.
factual and procedural background of this case is laid out in
the Memorandum Opinion dated September 30, 2019. (ECF No.
67). On September 30, 2019, the court granted Defendants'
motions to dismiss the second amended complaint without
prejudice and permitted Plaintiffs to file a third amended
complaint within 21 days - by October 21, 2019. (ECF No. 69).
Plaintiffs filed the presently pending motion for an
enlargement of time on October 7, 2019. (ECF No. 69).
Defendants Freeman Hrabrowski, Paul Dillon, Mark Sparks, the
University System of Maryland's Board of Regents, the
University of Maryland Baltimore County (“UMBC”
or the “University”), and the UMBC Police
Department (collectively, the “University
Defendants”) objected to Plaintiffs' motion, (ECF
No. 71), and Plaintiffs replied, (ECF No. 72).
motion requests an extension from October 21, 2019 to
December 3, 2019 to file the third amended complaint. (ECF
No. 69). Plaintiffs argue that “[a]mendment requires
the integration of significant new information to address the
pleading issues[.]” (Id., at 1 ¶ 2).
Plaintiffs highlight the complex nature of the case and
counsel's other upcoming obligations. (Id., at 2
¶¶ 5-6). Finally, Plaintiffs emphasize that they
“have never objected to an extension request in this
case, including the two made by counsel for UMBC.”
(Id., at 3 ¶ 8).
University Defendants oppose Plaintiffs' motion and
emphasize that “this case has been pending for over a
year, and Plaintiffs have already submitted three versions of
their [c]omplaint without objection[.]” (ECF No. 71, at
3 ¶ 2). They note that Plaintiffs' extension request
amounts to “three times the period initially granted. .
. to file a more ‘focused, modest'
complaint[.]” (Id., at 1). They argue the
six-week extension of time is “unwarranted and
prejudicial” to them, especially the individual
defendants. (Id., at 1-2). They are concerned by
Plaintiffs' statement that they need to integrate new
information, arguing “[t]he implication is that
Plaintiffs are looking to add to the complaint and presumably
maintain claims against all previously named defendants,
rather than streamline it and drop meritless claims against
several of the defendants[.]” (Id. at 3 ¶
3). They also note that Plaintiffs' counsel's
upcoming obligations end in mid-October and argue
“Plaintiffs have failed to explain why they need until
December 3, 2019 to produce a modest, focused complaint,
especially in light of the fact that this case has been
pending for over a year, the factual issues and allegations
are not new, Plaintiffs have been advised of the deficiencies
in their allegations for months, and several of the claims
are unsalvageable.” (Id. at 4 ¶ 4).
reply draws a distinction between the resources of the
Attorney General's Office and the resources of their
small law firm and highlights the University Defendants'
earlier requests for extensions. (ECF No. 72, at 2). They
note that while their upcoming obligations end in
mid-October, the subsequent time is “still filled with
a typical volume and the Thanksgiving holidays.”
court may grant a party's motion for an extension of time
“for good cause[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1).
“Good cause” “means that scheduling
deadlines cannot be met despite a party's diligent
efforts.” Potomac Elec. Power Co. v. Elec. Motor
Supply, Inc., 190 F.R.D. 372, 375 (D.Md. 1999) (citation
and quotation marks omitted).
University Defendants agree that Plaintiffs'
counsel's scheduling conflicts support a reasonable
extension of time. (ECF No. 71, at 1; id., at 3
¶ 4). Plaintiffs and the University Defendants disagree
about what amount of time is reasonable. Plaintiffs'
point to the case's complexity and the need to integrate
“significant new information[.]” (ECF No. 69, at
1). These reasons trouble the University Defendants, who
argue several of Plaintiffs' “claims cannot be
salvaged, ” and the remaining claims must be more
focused, modest, and streamlined. (ECF No. 71, at 3 ¶
3). The University Defendants miss the mark by arguing that
Plaintiffs should require less time to focus and streamline
the complaint. Writing clearly and concisely often requires
more, not less, time. Plaintiffs are cautioned, however, to
heed the decisions and the tone of the court's memorandum
opinion and order. The University Defendants also argue that
the extension is “unwarranted and prejudicial to
[them], especially the individual defendants, who have been
unfairly subjected to baseless allegations for over a
year.” (ECF No. 71, at 1-2). On balance, the prejudice
to the University Defendants does not overcome
foregoing reasons, the motion to enlarge time to file the
third amended complaint filed by Plaintiffs will be ...