Krishna Patel v. Terrell Hughes, Jr.
- Case Type:
- Case Status:
- 22-5696 (6th Circuit, May 09,2023) Not Published
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Circuit) affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (DC) dismissing, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), a case that had been administratively closed due to the defendants' then-pending bankruptcies six years before Krishna and Vijay Patel and their company, AcTax Solutions, Inc. (Plaintiffs), finally moved for reopening, having never been barred by the automatic stay from doing so any earlier and having been invited to do so by an order on thier attorney's May 2015 motion to withdraw.
- Procedural context:
- The Plaintiffs filed a motion to reopen their administratively closed case; the DC granted this request. Once it did so, however, the former defendants sought dismissal on various grounds, including that the Plaintiffs had failed to prosecute the matter for far too long. Finding that the Plaintiffs were at fault for not attempting to advance the case for six years, and that the Terrell D. Hughes Jr. (Hughes) and TRX Software Development, Inc. (TRX) (collectively, Defendants) would suffer prejudice if it were prosecuted now, the DC dismissed. The Plaintiffs timely appealed.
- In July 2013, the Plaintiffs sued the Defendants for copyright infringement. Just weeks before they did so, Hughes filed for bankruptcy; just weeks after, TRX did so. In both cases, the bankruptcy court granted relief from the automatic stay to allow for their continued prosecution. Thereafter, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the DC granted in part. At that point, the bankruptcy trustee for TRX and Hughes cases and the Defendants asked the DC to stay all deadlines through January 15, 2015, so the former could evaluate the case and all possible counterclaims. Going farther, the DC administratively closed the case. For the next six years, the case lay dormant except for one motion (for withdrawal by Plaintiffs’ counsel) and one order (granting motion, and reminding the parties of their right to reopen the case when ready). On January 8, 2021, after filing other suits in other courts, the Plaintiffs filed a pro se motion to reopen this closed case.
- Stephanie D. Davis; Jeffrey Sutton; and Joan Larsen
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