United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO
SET ASIDE JUDGMENT [#8] AND DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION
TO VACATE ARBITRATION AWARD AND RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO
PETITION TO CONFIRM ARBITRATION AWARD [#9]
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge.
before the Court is Respondent's Motion to Set Aside
Judgment Based on Excusable Neglect and Respondent's
Application to Vacate Arbitration Award. ECF Nos. 8, 9.
Petitioner filed responses to each motion on August 30, 2019.
ECF Nos. 11, 12. Respondent filed its replies on September 6,
2019. ECF Nos. 14, 15.
review of the parties' submissions, the Court concludes
that oral argument will not aid in the disposition of this
matter. Therefore, the Court will resolve the instant motion
on the briefs. See E.D. Mich. L.R. § 7.1(f)(2).
For the reasons discussed herein, the Court will DENY
Respondent's Motion to Set Aside Judgment Based on
Excusable Neglect [#8] and DENY Respondent's Application
to Vacate Arbitration Award [#9].
Thyssenkrupp Presta Danville (“Presta”) commenced
arbitration against Respondent TFW Industrial Supply &
CNC Machine (“TFW”) in December 2017.
See ECF No. 1-5, PageID.54. Presta sought monetary
damages for breach of an automobile equipment supply
contract. TFW filed a counter-complaint against Presta with
seven claims, including breach of contract and fraud.
than a year after their original contract formation, TFW and
Presta began disagreeing about equipment prices as stated in
the contract, subsequent negotiations, and email
communications. TFW attempted to negotiate a price above the
original contract amount, at times “threate[ning] to
cease production to Presta absent a price increase.”
ECF No. 1-5, PageID.63. As a result, Presta sent TFW multiple
notices of breach and demands to cure. Additionally, the sole
arbitrator in this matter, Scott A. Wolfson, found that
“testimony and documentary evidence also established
that TFW was under significant financial strain during the
relevant time period . . . .” Id. at
PageID.66. This required Presta to pay various vendors and
suppliers on behalf of TFW to cover TFW's production
arbitrator found that Presta and TFW's contract was
“for a fixed price, unambiguous, and integrated”
with all terms in writing. ECF No. 1-5, PageID.69. This
included clear language that the parties were bound only by
the terms of the contract as written, so oral negotiations or
agreements could not be considered. Further, the arbitrator
determined that Presta demonstrated by a preponderance of the
evidence that TFW breached contractual obligations and caused
Presta to incur significant costs. The arbitrator also found
that TFW failed to carry its burden of proving any of its
seven counterclaims. Ultimately, on May 20, 2019, the
arbitrator found that Petitioner Presta was entitled to an
award totaling $2, 417, 095.98. Id. at PageID.88.
filed the instant action on June 7, 2019, seeking
confirmation of this arbitration award and entry of judgment
pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).
ECF No. 1; 9 U.S.C. §§ 9, 13. Respondent was served
on July 10, 2019 but failed to timely file its response. ECF
No. 5, PageID.100. The Court therefore presumed that
Respondent had no objection to the Petition. Id. On
August 7, 2019 the Court entered judgment confirming the
award in favor of Petitioner and against Respondent. ECF No.
Motion to Set Aside Judgment Based on Excusable
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides,
“[w]hen an act may or must be done within a specified
time, the court may, for good cause, extend the time on
motion made after the time has expired if the party failed to
act because of excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
6(b)(1). Rule 60 further states, “[o]n motion and just
terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal
representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding
for . . . excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). In
defining excusable neglect, the Supreme Court has specified
four factors for courts to consider: (1) the danger of
prejudice to the nonmoving party, (2) the length of the delay
and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, (3) the
reason for delay, including whether it was within the
reasonable control of the movant, and (4) whether the movant
acted within good faith. Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v.
Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395
(1993). The Sixth Circuit has “considered excusable
neglect in different contexts and repeatedly underscored that
it is a difficult standard to satisfy.” In re
Edwards, 748 Fed.Appx. 695, 698 (6th Cir. 2019) (citing
Nicholson v. City of Warren, 467 F.3d 525, 526 (6th
Cir. 2006) (“Excusable neglect has been held to be a
strict standard which is met only in extraordinary
timely filed to confirm the arbitration award within one year
of the award's issuance. Respondent failed to file any
response to the Petition to Confirm, this Court's Order,
or this Court's Judgments in favor of Petitioner until
the present motions. In moving to set aside the Judgments,
Respondent argues its delay was the result of excusable
neglect. Respondent states that a month and a half before the
award was issued, its paralegal's husband died
unexpectedly. Respondent explains that this death caused
unexpected disruptions in the paralegal and legal
assistant's schedules, leading to the Respondent
firm's inadvertent failure to meet the award confirmation