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MT. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Porta Bella Yacht & Tennis Club Condominium Association, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

February 8, 2018

MT. HAWLEY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
PORTA BELLA YACHT & TENNIS CLUB CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. & MARIJA POSAVAC, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO AMEND ANSWER AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          ROBIN L. ROSENBERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Marija Posavac's Motion to Amend Answer [DE 40] and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 29]. Plaintiff responded to the Motion to Amend Answer. The Motion for Summary Judgment is fully briefed. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Amend Answer is denied and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

         Defendant Posavac's Motion to Amend Answer

         On March 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed its Complaint in this case. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleged:

36. Posavac's injuries arose directly or indirectly from the work performed by Kantrowitz.
37. Posavac's injuries arose directly or indirectly from the work performed by Miami Carpet and Tile.

         DE 1 at 8. On May 19, 2017, Defendant Posavac filed her answer. In her answer, Posavac responded as follows:

36. Admitted.
37. Admitted.

         DE 19 at 4. On June 12, 2017, the amended pleadings deadline in this case expired. Posavac did not move to amend her answer. On November 17, 2017, discovery closed in this case. Posavac did not move to amend her answer. On December 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed the Motion for Summary Judgment presently before the Court. That Motion substantially relied upon Posavac's admissions quoted above. Notwithstanding Plaintiff's reliance upon those admissions, Posavac did not move to amend her answer. To the contrary, on January 16, 2018, Posavac filed her response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and, in that response, Posavac confirmed her admissions “for the limited purpose of responding to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.” DE 36 at 2. Plaintiff then filed its reply, on January 23, 2018, and Plaintiff again relied upon Posavac's admissions.

         On January 26, 2018, two hundred and fifty-two days after she filed her answer, Posavac moved to amend. Posavac moved to retract the admissions quoted above on the grounds that she “mistakenly admitted” the same. For the reasons set forth below in the Court's decision on summary judgment, Posavac's admissions are important enough that Plaintiff has constructed much of its case on those admissions. Posavac's admissions are not tangential or peripheral issues. As a result, Plaintiff substantially relied upon Posavac's admissions throughout the discovery period and throughout the briefing of dispositive motions. The Court is also unable to square Posavac's assertion that she discovered her error “while preparing a response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment” because Posavav confirmed her admission in her response to the Motion for Summary Judgment. Moreover, Posavac did not move to amend her answer during the briefing of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Only now, after discovery has closed, after the dispositive motions period has run, after Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment has fully ripened for adjudication, and with trial rapidly approaching does Plaintiff request leave to amend her answer on an important issue-an issue that Plaintiff has substantially relied upon, to its potential prejudice, for two hundred and fifty-two days. The Court concludes that Posavac has not shown good cause to amend her answer at this late stage of the proceedings, nor does the Court accept Posavac's contention that she discovered her error while responding to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. See Zucco Partners, LLC v. Digimarc Corp., 552 F.3d, 981, 1007 (9th Cir. 2009) (noting that a court may deny leave to amend “due to undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, . . . or undue prejudice to the opposing party . . . .”). Posavac's Motion to Amend Answer is denied.

         Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment

         A. BACKGROUND

         Defendant Porta Bella operates a residential condominium association. Defendant Marija Posavac sustained injuries while walking on Porta Bella property. Porta Bella is an insured pursuant to a contract for insurance between Porta Bella and Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed the instant case to ascertain whether it must indemnify and defend Porta Bella in its suit with Posavac.

         B. SUMMARY ...


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