Two Practice Tips

I recently came across two (non-N.D. Tex.) decisions, both involving the same well-known defendant. The decisions highlight two useful reminders.

First, be sure to study the applicable local rules and any presiding judge’s individual rules of practice. In the first case (available here), the court found that defendant violated the presiding judge’s individual rules of practice by using 24-point spacing, rather than double-spacing, thus allowing the defendant to submit a substantially longer memorandum that what was provided for by the judge’s individual rules. Because the subversion of the individual rules was found to be deliberate, the court sanctioned defendants’ counsel $1,048.09 (the cost of what it took defendant to prepare a compliant memorandum).

Second, when filing a motion for an extension—even if it is unopposed—make sure to specify the good cause supporting the extension request. Don’t simply assume that the court will grant the motion. In the second case (available here), the defendant filed a motion seeking its third extension of time to answer (or otherwise respond to) the complaint. Although the defendant filed the motion on the day the responsive pleading was due, the motion did not demonstrate diligence and did not set forth good cause for an extension. The court accordingly denied the motion and, because filing an extension motion itself does not serve to extend the relevant deadline, directed the clerk to enter a default judgment against the defendant. (The court did, however, ultimately set aside the default judgment (order available here).)

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