64 F.3d 5 (1st Cir. 1995), 95-1148, Ramsdell v. Bowles

Docket Nº:95-1148.
Citation:64 F.3d 5
Party Name:Yvonne RAMSDELL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Erskine BOWLES, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:August 30, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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64 F.3d 5 (1st Cir. 1995)

Yvonne RAMSDELL, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Erskine BOWLES, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 95-1148.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 30, 1995

Argued June 5, 1995.

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Ralph A. Dyer, with whom Law Offices of Ralph A. Dyer, P.A., was on brief, for appellant.

Stephen G. Morrell, with whom Judy A.S. Metcalf and Eaton, Peabody, Bradford & Veague, P.A., were on brief, for appellees.

Before BOUDIN, Circuit Judge, CAMPBELL, Senior Circuit Judge, and SCHWARZER, [*] Senior District Judge.

SCHWARZER, District Judge.

Yvonne Ramsdell brought suit against Machias Savings Bank and its directors (collectively the "Bank") alleging claims arising out of a series of loan transactions in which the Bank provided financing to Ramsdell Construction Company ("Ramsdell"), owned by Mrs. Ramsdell's husband and son. Because Mrs. Ramsdell alleged a violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (the "ECOA"), 15 U.S.C. Secs. 1691-1691f (1988), the district court had jurisdiction over that claim under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 and over the supplemental state law claims under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1367. Mrs. Ramsdell now appeals the district court's grant of the Bank's motion for summary judgment. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1291 and affirm.

Ramsdell Construction Company was engaged in the construction business in Machias, Maine. In 1989 and 1991, it obtained loans from the Bank to finance its operations. In early 1992, having defaulted on the loans, Ramsdell decided to obtain additional financing to enable it to complete a construction project for which it had a contract with the Town of Lubec, Maine. The Bank agreed to

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make the loan on the condition that the loan would be guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (the "SBA") and that Mrs. Ramsdell would also sign a personal guarantee. This loan, sometimes referred to as the SBA loan, closed in June 1992. Meanwhile Ramsdell continued work on the Lubec project with interim financing from the Bank. At the closing, $75,000 of the loan proceeds was used to set off advances the Bank had made in the interim to finance the work. Notwithstanding this infusion of funds, Ramsdell defaulted on the Lubec contract in the fall of 1992 and went into bankruptcy. Foreclosure proceedings were brought in the state court against Mrs. Ramsdell and others who were borrowers or guarantors of the loans. Apparently, discovery taken in the state court action was later used by the parties in the instant action.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The complaint, filed on April 14, 1994, alleged that the Bank had violated the ECOA (Count I), breached the loan agreement with Ramsdell (Count II), interfered with plaintiff's and Ramsdell's advantageous relationships (Counts IV, VI and VII), violated its duty of good faith and fair dealing (Count V), and acted negligently (Count VIII). It also alleged that individual defendants had aided and abetted the breach (Count III) and had interfered with advantageous relationships (Counts IV and VII). Additional counts have been abandoned on appeal. Originally, the complaint also named the SBA as a defendant; however, the claims against the SBA were later dismissed.

The Bank filed a motion for summary judgment on November 2, 1994. Mrs. Ramsdell moved for an extension of time to file her opposition until November 21, 1994 (the date on which it would have been due, in any event, under Local Rule 19(c) of the District of Maine). She filed her opposition on November 22, 1994, one day late. On December 2, 1994, the Bank moved to strike the opposition as untimely and further asked that certain marked material be struck as immaterial or as barred by an earlier confidentiality order issued by the court. On December 6, 1994, the magistrate judge granted the motion to strike, before objections had been filed; on December 8, 1994, he filed his recommended decision granting summary judgment. After receiving the objections, the magistrate judge treated them as a motion for reconsideration, which he denied by order of December 12, 1994. Mrs. Ramsdell then filed a brief seeking de novo review of the magistrate judge's recommended decision; on January 3, 1995, the district court issued its order adopting the recommended decision and granting judgment for the Bank.

THE MOTION TO STRIKE

In his initial order granting the motion to strike, the magistrate judge, relying on the court's inherent power to enforce its rules, concluded that although the court is "usually generous to those who miss by slight...

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