In re Beeghley, ___ Fed. App’x ___, 2018 WL 3060089 (3d Cir. 2018) (unpublished)
(a) Facts: The parties were divorced in Delaware in 1995. The trial court divided the husband’s pension and ordered the wife to prepare a DRO. No DRO was ever signed.
The husband remarried, and he and his new wife filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case in 1997. The wife intervened, asserting various claims. She was so litigious that an order was entered requiring court approval for future filings. A final order was entered in 2001; the wife still had no DRO.
The wife also filed a simultaneous claim in federal district court, seeking relief related to the parties’ assets. Her claim was dismissed as frivolous, and she was again barred from future filings without court approval. The wife appealed and obtained a reversal, but her claim was then dismissed in 2004 for lack of prosecution. She still did not have a DRO. She filed some proceeding in Pennsylvania state court in 2011 but failed to serve the husband with due process.
In 2014, the wife filed still another federal court action, arguing that it was the husband’s duty to obtain a DRO, which had still not been entered in state court. She sought damages for the husband’s breach of this duty and also sought to reopen the husband’s bankruptcy. Her claim was denied based upon res judicata and laches by both the bankruptcy and district courts, and the wife appealed to the Third Circuit.
(b) Issue: Is the wife entitled to pursue her claim?
(c) Answer to Issue: No.
(d) Summary of Rationale: The wife is guilty of laches.