Plaintiff, represented by John Thomas Steinkamp, accepted an offer of judgment on an FDCPA claim under Rule 68 and filed a fee petition. Defendant failed to file a response and the court didn’t enter an order on the motion, so Plaintiff filed a second and then third petition for fees, increasing the amount requested each time (to include the fees for each additional motion filed).
The district court, judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, found the second and third motions were unnecessary and denied those additional fees.
The Court first turns to Ms. Nevins’ argument that Med-1 was obligated to respond to her first fee Motion in accordance with Local Rule 7-1. [Filing No. 17-2]. Local Rule 7-1(a)(3)(A) states: “Any response is due within 14 days after service of the motion.” S.D. Ind. LR 7-1(a)(3)(A). The Seventh Circuit empowers District Courts to interpret and enforce their local rules. Elustra v. Mineo, 595 F.3d 699, 710 (7th Cir. 2010). The meaning of Rule 7-1(a)(3)(A) is plain: it does not create an independent obligation to respond; it merely provides a timetable for response. Therefore, Ms. Nevins’ argument that the “failure to file a response in a timely fashion constitutes a violation of local rules and this court may issue a finding against Defendant as a result of its conduct” [Filing No. 17-2], mischaracterizes Local Rule 7-1.