After initially filing Chapter 13, Mr. Sheikh converted to Chapter 7 and Mssrs. Mouhtadi and Khalioui commenced an adversary proceeding asserting claims of common-law fraud, violations of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (the “UDTPA”), N.C. Gen. Stat.
§§ 75-1.1 to 75-145, and eeking a determination that the debts related to the case were excepted from discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2) or (a)(4). Mr. Shaikh filed an answer to the complaint, but then failed to respond to numerous discovery requests, including admissions. When Mr. Shaikh still failed to comply with discovery following the entry of an order to compel, Mouhtadi and Khalioui moved for summary judgment. Mr. Shaikh neither responded to that motion nor attended the hearing, at which time summary judgment was granted from the bench.
Prior to entry of a written summary judgment, Mr. Shaikh then filed a Motion to Reconsider, based on his assertion that he was in state district court at the same time. At the hearing on the Motion to Reconsider, Mr. Shaikh appeared , “albeit 43 minutes late”), still having failed to respond to discovery. Despite being mindful that admission are “not intended to be used as a technical weapon to defeat the rights of pro se litigants to have their cases fairly judged on the merits,” Citibank v. Savage (In re Savage), 303 B.R. 766, 772 (Bankr. D. Md. 2003), the bankruptcy court found that Mr. Shaikh had been provided specific details regarding the failure to respond to the motion for Summary Judgment, repeatedly failed to respond to discovery and “habitually declined to appear or participate” in the case. This was sufficient to proceed to summary judgment, with the verified complaints and still undisputed requests for admissions being sufficient to satisfy all claims.
While Mr. Shaikh was represented in the underlying bankruptcy, that representation does not, appear to have persisted into this Adversary Proceeding (or the other three filed), as such can be excluded from representation. The docket also does not indicate whether Mr. Shaikh was referred to the EDNC Pro Bono Program.
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