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Shelton v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 18, 2015

STEVEN RAY SHELTON, Petitioner,
v.
JORDAN HOLLINGSWORTH, Respondent.

Steven Ray Shelton, Petitioner Pro Se.

Irene E. Dowdy, Esq. Office of the U.S. Attorney, Camden, New Jersey, Attorney for Respondent, Jordan Hollingsworth.

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on pro se Petitioner Steven Ray Shelton's ("Petitioner") motion for default judgment and imposition of sanctions, or in the alternative to strike Respondent Jordan Hollingsworth's answer to his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Docket Entry 6). These motions are being decided on the papers pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's motions, with the exception of his motion for an extension of time, are denied.

Procedural History

Petitioner filed a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging the Bureau of Prisons'("BOP") calculation of his sentence. (Docket Entry 1). On February 25, 2015, this Court ordered Respondent to answer the petition within 45 days. (Docket Entry 2).

On April 8, 2015, Petitioner filed a Motion for Default Judgment. (Docket Entry 3). Respondent filed his answer to the petition, (Docket Entry 4), as well as his opposition to Plaintiff's motion, (Docket Entry 5), on April 13, 2015. On April 22, 2015, Petitioner filed a Motion for Default, Motion for Sanctions or, in the alternative, to strike portions of Respondent's answer. (Docket Entry 6).[1] Respondent filed his opposition to those motions on May 4, 2015. (Docket Entry 8).

Simultaneously with his second set of motions, Petitioner filed a motion for the appointment of pro bono counsel and for an extension of time to file a traverse. (Docket Entry 7). Respondent did not file an objection to those motions. ( See generally Docket Entry 8).

DISCUSSION

A. Motion for Default Judgment

Petitioner filed two motions for a default judgment. (Docket Entries 3 and 6). An entry of default by the Clerk of Court serves as a "prerequisite" to obtaining a default judgment by the court. Husain v. Casino Control Comm'n, 265 F.Appx. 130, 133 (3d Cir. 2008); see also Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 55(a). The Clerk of the Court did not enter any default by Respondent, therefore default judgment is not appropriate.

In addition to there being no entry of default, default judgment is additionally inappropriate because Respondent's answer was timely. Petitioner argues that as this Court's order was dated February 24, 2015, Respondent's answer was due on April 10, 2015. (Docket Entry 6 ¶¶ 3-4). As Respondent did not request an extension before filing, Petitioner argues he is entitled to a default judgment. This argument, however, has no merit.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6, the day of the event triggering the 45-day filing deadline, in this case the entry of the Court's order on February 25, 2015, is excluded from the calculation of time. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 6(a)(1)(A). February 26, therefore, was the first day of the 45-day time period. The 45th day was Saturday, April 11, 2015, and under the federal rules "if the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period continues to run until the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 6(a)(1)(C). The time period in which Respondent could file a timely answer to the ...


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