United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ALTMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE came before the Court on the Plaintiffs'
First Motion to Amend Complaint, filed on February 8, 2019
(“Motion”) [ECF No. 47]. Because the Motion was
filed before the deadline for moving to amend pleadings, see
[ECF No. 42], it does not require a modification of the
scheduling order and thus will be reviewed under the
standards set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(a)(2). Under that Rule, “a party may amend its
pleading only with the opposing party's written consent
or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave
when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). While
“the grant or denial of an opportunity to amend is
within the discretion of the District Court, ” leave
should be freely given “[i]n the absence of any
apparent or declared reason . . . such as undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party[, or] futility
of amendment.” See Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S.
178, 182 (1962).
Plaintiffs seek leave to amend in order to (1) add
allegations based on newly-discovered evidence, (2) add
“CTX” as a Defendant, and (3) add a new claim
against the Defendants. See Mot. at 1. The Plaintiffs claim
that their “ongoing investigation has yielded new
information, ” Id. at 3, and that they are
“diligently undertaking discovery that will further
corroborate this newfound information, ” Id.
at 4. In sum, they seek a limited amendment that would do
little more than bring their complaint in line with what they
say is newly-discovered evidence. Id.
Defendants oppose the Motion. See Defs.' Resp. Opp'n
(“Opposition”) [ECF No. 51]. Despite the lenient
standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), the
Defendants argue that the amendment “is futile, is
untimely, prejudices the Defendants and the proper
administration of this action, and should not be
permitted.” Opp. at 2. Worse, they characterize the
Plaintiffs' motion to amend as a “procedural
snipe-hunt.” Id. at 1.
aside, this Court sees no reason to deny the Motion. This
appears to be the Plaintiffs' first motion to amend, and
the Plaintiffs indisputably filed their motion prior to the
expiration of the February 8, 2019 deadline the Court set for
the amendment of pleadings. See [ECF No. 42]. Moreover,
because the Plaintiffs sought leave at a relatively early
stage in the proceedings, the amendment is not likely to
create any unnecessary delay. And, given that the trial in
this case is not set to begin for another eight months, the
Defendants will not be prejudiced by this Order. Accordingly,
the Court will GRANT the Plaintiffs' Motion.
the Defendants' pending motion to dismiss [ECF No. 26] is
directed at the Plaintiffs' first complaint, that motion
is DENIED as moot. The Defendants may refile their motion
after they have reviewed the Plaintiffs' amended
this Court would remind counsel that “it is a
fundamental tenet of this Court that attorneys in this
District be governed at all times by a spirit of cooperation,
professionalism, and civility. . . . [I]t remains the
Court's expectation that counsel will seek to accommodate
their fellow practitioners, including in matters of
scheduling, whenever reasonably possible.” S.D. Fla.
L.R. at Introductory Statement. This Court notes that, of the
many motions filed thus far in this case, only one-a Motion
for Extension of Time [ECF No. 34]-was unopposed. And, of the
sixty extant filings, only the court-ordered Joint Scheduling
Report [ECF No. 22] was filed jointly. Counsel are reminded
that they should “work to eliminate disputes by
reasonable agreement to the fullest extent permitted by the
bounds of zealous representation and ethical practice.”
See S.D. Fla. L.R. at Introductory Statement.
fully advised, this Court hereby
AND ADJUDGES that
Motion for Leave to Amend [ECF No. 47] is GRANTED. The
Plaintiffs shall file their Amended Complaint [ECF No. 47-1]
as a separate docket entry by May 3, 2019.
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF No.
26] is DENIED as moot. The
Defendants will have the time permitted under the Rules to
file a combined response or separate answers to the Amended
purposes of compliance with the good faith conferral
requirement of Local Rule 7.1(a)(3), the parties are
instructed that a single e-mail exchange with opposing
counsel shall not constitute a good faith effort under the
Local Rules. The parties are instructed to confer either
telephonically or in person.