Rentas v. Mapfre Praico Insurance Co.

Case Type:
Case Status:
Reversed and Remanded
17-018 (1st Circuit, May 04,2018) Not Published
Reversed and remanded for further proceedings in accordance with the decision.
Procedural context:
In August 2015, the Chapter 7 Trustee of Luis Diesel Services, Inc., commenced an adversary proceeding against MAPFRE Praico Insurance Company (“MAPFRE”) and Puma Energy Caribe, LLC (“Puma”) with a two-count complaint (the “Complaint”). The Trustee alleged that on July 5, 2013, the Debtor transferred $95,325.00 to MAPFRE to obtain a $200,000.00 bond. She further alleged that MAPFRE never provided the bond but, instead, transferred the funds to Puma, in payment of an antecedent debt. Accordingly, in Count I, the Trustee asserted a cause of action for fraudulent transfer under § 548,1 and in Count II, she alleged a preferential transfer under § 547.
On February 8, 2016, Puma served discovery requests on the Trustee which included interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admission (“Puma’s Discovery Request”). Shortly thereafter, on February 23, 2016, MAPFRE served a similar discovery request on the Trustee (“MAPFRE’s Discovery Request”). The Trustee did not serve a response or object to any part of Puma’s Discovery Request or MAPFRE’s Discovery Request (collectively, the “Discovery Requests”) within the 30-day period prescribed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (March 9, 2016 for Puma, and March 24, 2016 for Puma),3 or even before the expiration of the discovery deadline, March 31, 2016. The Trustee did not serve any discovery request on her own behalf before the expiration of the discovery deadline. On April 1, 2016—the day after the discovery deadline expired—the Trustee filed a motion for extension of time (the “Extension Motion”), seeking an additional 60 days (until May 30, 2016) to “comply with the [o]rder of December 2, 201[5].” In support, she represented she was still reviewing the Debtor’s documents in order to properly respond to the outstanding Discovery Requests, and her attorneys were in the process of relocating. The Trustee also represented that Puma had consented to the requested extension. Both parties objected to the motion, which was denied, as was a motion for reconsideration. As a sanction for failure to comply with the discovery deadline, the bankruptcy court (Tester, J.), dismissed the adversary proceeding. The Trustee appealed
Hoffman, Cary & Panos (Per Curiam unpublished opinion).

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