from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana
KING, ELROD, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.
case presents another in the line of cases related to the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The 104 appellants here
(collectively referred to as "Plaintiffs") appeal
the district court's order dismissing their claims with
prejudice. We AFFIRM.
are individuals and associations located in Mexico that rely
on the fishing industry as a primary source of income. They
are a part of the remaining group of plaintiffs from
multidistrict litigation ("MDL") 2179, which was
created following the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010 to
ensure that the people and entities affected by the accident
with legitimate claims could recover from appellees, various
corporate entities of British Petroleum, collectively
referred to as "BP."
settlements of certain claims in the MDL, the district court
issued pretrial order 60 ("PTO 60"), which required
that all remaining individuals or entities whose claims had
not been settled file individual lawsuits with the district
court. Plaintiffs, along with other foreign plaintiffs, filed
a complaint which was transferred to the MDL court in May
2013. Significantly, PTO 60 required individual lawsuits to
have a wet-ink signature from each plaintiff, to be received
by the court by May 2, 2016. PTO 60 warned that
non-compliance would result in "dismissal of their
claims with prejudice without further notice."
attorneys filed a motion for extension of time and requested
an additional ninety days to comply with PTO 60. They stated
that they needed the additional time because they represented
1510 plaintiffs and it would be logistically difficult to
comply. The district court granted a fourteen-day extension,
but emphasized that "[n]o further extensions of time
will be granted."
attorneys then filed a second motion for extension of time
and explained that they were having technical filing issues,
and that they had "clients that [were] out of town, out
of the country, or working offshore and unable to respond to
counsel in the 48-day window and [could] not provide the
sworn declaration." The district court did not rule on
the motion, and Plaintiffs did not properly file their
declarations by the deadline. The district court then issued
a show cause order, mandating that plaintiffs that failed to
comply with PTO 60 "show cause in writing on or before
June 28, 2016, why this Court should not dismiss their B1
claim(s) with prejudice for failing to comply with the
requirements of PTO 60."
attorneys argued that: (1) certain plaintiffs should be
granted additional time to submit the signed declaration, (2)
other plaintiffs had, since the deadline, filed an individual
declaration and had an individual lawsuit filed, and (3) the
plaintiffs in the mass joinder complaint needed additional
time to comply because of a "lack of electronic means,
working offshore, inaccessibility, and change of contact
information." BP countered that any plaintiffs that had
not complied with PTO 60 by that time should be dismissed.
December 16, 2016, the district court dismissed
Plaintiffs' claims with prejudice. Plaintiffs filed a
motion for reconsideration on January 13, 2017, and the
district court denied that motion. Plaintiffs appeal the
dismissal of their claims with prejudice and the denial of
their Rule 59(e) and 60(b) motions.
Standard of Review
review matters concerning docket management for an abuse of
discretion. See Garcia v. Woman's Hosp. of Tex.,
143 F.3d 227, 229 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). "A trial
court abuses its discretion when its ruling is based on an
erroneous view of the law or a clearly erroneous assessment
of the evidence." Elementis Chromium v. Coastal
States Petroleum, 450 F.3d 607, 610 (5th Cir. 2006)
(internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Bocanegra v.
Vicmar Servs., Inc., 320 F.3d 581, 584 (5th Cir. 2003)).