U.S. v. Cohan
Good cause exists to grant permission to file a motion late, if the litigant could not have met the court's deadline, even if diligent. The government filed an action to collect on a student loan that the U.S. guaranteed. Allegedly, the defendant, Gregory Cohan, defaulted. The government sued Cohan and moved for summary judgment. Two months after an October 2011 deadline, Cohan requested court permission to file a late motion for summary judgment. The government objected that Cohan's motion was not filed timely. Cohan claimed that the government induced Cohan to continue negotiating, in an attempt to settle, as opposed to taking court action. Cohan also claimed that the government's December 2011 responses to discovery provided information that he required to prosecute his motion for summary judgment and that he lacked enough information to file the motion prior to October 2011. Good cause can exist when a movant learns about facts after the expiration of a deadline, pursuant to Smith v. Sentry Insurance, a 1987 decision of the Northern District of Georgia. In Enzymotec Ltd v. NBTY Inc., a 2010 decision of the Eastern District of New York, the court found that good cause existed to amend a complaint after a deadline expired, because discovery delays affected the plaintiff's ability to learn earlier about facts that supported the proposed cause of action. The Connecticut District Court considered whether Cohan could have filed the motion timely, if he had exercised greater diligence. The court found that good cause existed because Cohan, even if diligent, could not have met the October 2011 deadline. There was no evidence that Cohan purposely delayed and acted with bad faith. Settlement negotiations, which can furnish good cause to amend a scheduling order, contributed to delays. Cohan did not qualify for special consideration as a pro se litigant, because he is admitted to the bar. Although Cohan would have been prudent to have filed a motion for an extension, good cause existed for the delay. In the absence of substantial prejudice to the government, the court granted Cohan permission to file a late motion for summary judgment.