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Latin America Finance Group, Inc. v. Pareja

[1] UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


April 2, 2007

[5] LATIN AMERICA FINANCE GROUP, INC. AND WILLIAM VAN DIEPEN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CARLOS PAREJA AND PAREJA Y ASOCIADOS, DEFENDANTS.

[11]  The opinion of the court was delivered by: Denise Cote, District Judge

[12]   MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

[13]   Defendants have brought a motion for attorneys' fees against plaintiffs and plaintiffs' attorneys under the Court's inherent power and 28 U.S.C. § 1927 ("Section 1927"). Judgment was entered on July 24, 2006, in defendants' favor following a bench trial. Rule 54(d)(2)(B), Fed.R.Civ.P, required a motion for attorneys' fees -- other than one brought for a violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or Section 1927 -- to be filed within 14 days of judgment or by August 7, 2006.

[14]   On November 3, defendants filed this motion.*fn1 Defendants request that this Court exercise its discretion under Rule 6(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., find that the untimely filing was due to excusable neglect, and accept the motion as if filed nunc pro tunc. Defendants seek recovery of attorneys' fees and expenses on the ground that the plaintiffs' claims were meritless and brought for the improper purpose of extracting payments from associates of the defendant Dr. Pareja. The defendants contend that plaintiffs' counsel was aware of the plaintiffs' improper purpose in bringing the litigation from at least January 25, 2005. It is hereby

[15]   ORDERED that the motion to extend time to file the motion brought pursuant to the Court's inherent power is denied. An attorney's failure to follow clear and unambiguous procedural rules does not usually constitute excusable neglect, In re Lynch, 430 F.3d 600, 603-04 (2d Cir. 2005) (discussing Pioneer standard in context of untimely bankruptcy filing), and the defendants have not shown that an exception to that general principle is warranted.*fn2

[16]   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Section 1927 motion is denied. The defendants have not pointed to conduct by plaintiffs' counsel which unreasonably or vexatiously multiplied the proceedings in this action. See Section 1927. The defendants essentially comlain that the plaintiffs pursued a meritless lawsuit, and not that the plaintiffs' counsel litigated the action in a way that multiplied or delayed the proceedings. See United States v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & helpers of America, 948 F.2d 1338, 1345 (2d Cir. 1991) (holding that the purpose of Section 1927 is "to deter unnecessary delays in litigation").

[17]   SO ORDERED.


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