United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. Poplin United States Magistrate Judge
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636, the Rules of this Court, and Standing Order 13-02.
before the Court is a Motion to Amend Complaint [Doc. 33].
Defendant has responded in opposition [Doc. 35] to the
Motion. The parties appeared before the Court telephonically
on July 29, 2019, for a motion hearing. Attorney Richard
Baker appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Attorney Kari
Sutherland appeared on behalf of Defendants. Accordingly, for
the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's Motion [Doc. 33].
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
Motion requests [Doc. 33] leave to amend the Complaint by
filing a Short Form Complaint [Doc. 33-1], which is attached
as an exhibit to the Motion. Plaintiff states that the
amendment is necessary to respond to Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment and to add Johnson & Johnson as a
defendant in this case.
filed a Response [Doc. 35] in opposition to the Motion.
Defendants argue that any proposed amendment would be futile
because Plaintiff's claim is time-barred under
Tennessee's six year statute of repose for
product-liability actions. Further, Defendants state that
allowing the amendment would be prejudicial because the
dispositive deadline has already expired. Defendants request
an extension of the dispositive motion deadline should the
Court grant Plaintiff's instant request. Defendant also
filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority [Doc. 53], which the
Court has also reviewed.
Court has considered the parties' positions, and the
Court finds Plaintiff's Motion [Doc. 33]
well taken, and it is GRANTED.
of background, the Court notes that Plaintiff's case was
originally part of a MDL action, which was remanded to this
Court on April 11, 2019. [Doc. 40]. Plaintiff filed her
Motion on October 23, 2018, prior to the case being remanded.
During the telephonic hearing, Plaintiff explained that [Doc.
33-1] is her first Short Form Complaint. Plaintiff stated
that she seeks to correct Johnson & Johnson's name
and adopt the causes of action that were pled in the First
Amended Master Complaint. Defendants argued that
Plaintiff's amendment is futile for the reasons stated in
their Motion for Summary Judgment and that the amendment is
Court begins with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, which
provides that courts should “freely give leave where
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The
decision as to whether justice requires the amendment is
committed to the district court's discretion. Moore
v. City of Paducah, 790 F.2d 557, 559 (6th Cir. 1986).
Despite the liberality of Rule 15(a)(2), courts have
explained that motions to amend may be denied if the court
finds undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive, repeated
failures to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice, and futility of the amendment.
Scheib v. Boderk, No. 3:07-CV-446, 2011 WL 208341,
at *2 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 21, 2011) (citing Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
the above analysis in mind, the Court turns to the facts of
the present matter. The only objections Defendants raise are
futility and prejudice. With respect to their futility
argument, the Court observes that Defendants have already
briefed the statute of repose in their Motion for Summary
Judgment. Thus, with respect to whether the amendment is
futile, it appears that the District Judge will determine
whether Plaintiff s claim will proceed. See also Wiggins
v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., No. 3:12-cv-115, 2014 WL
1267574, at *2 (E.D. Tenn. Mar. 26, 2014) (allowing plaintiff
to amend the complaint while noting that the related issues
raised in the parties' briefs can be addressed through
the filing of appropriate dispositive motions after the
plaintiff files an amended complaint).
Defendants argue that the filing of an amended Complaint
would be prejudicial because it would moot their dispositive
motion and the deadline to file dispositive motions has
expired. The Court finds that filing an amended Complaint
does not necessarily moot a motion for summary judgment. In
any event, however, even if the filing of Plaintiff s amended
Complaint renders Defendants' dispositive motion moot,
the Court intends on setting a scheduling conference with the
parties to discuss the deadlines in this case, including the
deadline for dispositive motions.
for the reasons explained above, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiffs Motion to Amend Complaint
[Doc. 33]. Plaintiff SHALL
file the complete operating amended Complaint, without
incorporating prior Complaints, in CM/ECF on or before
August 26, 2019.See E.D. Tenn.
L.R. 15.1 (“Any amendment to a pleading, whether filed
as a matter of course or upon a motion to amend, shall,
except by leave of ...