United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
LIGHTHOUSE PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION, AS LEGAL AND CONVENTIONAL SUBROGEE OF TYRONNE SCOTT AND LUCRETIA SCOTT
BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC, ET AL
ORDER AND REASONS
WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Leave to Supplement Pleadings and
to Add a Related Party Defendant (R. Doc. 45) filed by the
Plaintiff, Lighthouse Property Insurance Corporation, seeking
leave to file a supplemental complaint and to add a related
party defendant based on information learned during
discovery. The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 56. The motion was
submitted on July 26, 2017.
case was removed from the 40th Judicial District Court for
the Parish of St. John the Baptist Parish on August 24, 2016.
R. Doc. 1. Plaintiff Lighthouse Property Insurance
Corporation, as legal and conventional subrogee of Tyronne
Scott and Lucretia Scott, alleges that on November 9, 2015
the Scott's 2008 BMW caught fired while in the
Scott's garage due to a manufacturing defect and causing
significant damage as a result. R. Doc. 1-1, p. 14. The
Scott's were insured by the Plaintiff, who provided
coverage for physical damage to the premise, contents and
loss of use of the property. Id. Pursuant to the
policy, the Plaintiff paid $176, 090.48 to the Scotts.
Id. In addition to another $1, 000 deductible
incurred by the Scotts, the Plaintiff seeks $177, 090.48. As
legal and conventional subrogee to the Scotts, the Plaintiff
alleges that BMW is liable under the Louisiana Products
Liability Act. Id.
time, the Plaintiff has filed a motion to supplement its
pleadings to assert with more detail the particular defects
alleged as well as add a related party defendant. R. Doc. 45,
p. 1. In particular, the Plaintiff seeks to narrow its
allegations to assert that the vehicle was
“unreasonably dangerous in construction, composition,
and design due to a battery cable terminal being mounted too
close to a potential grounding point inside the
Automobile's engine compartment unit.” R. Doc.
45-3, p. 3. The Plaintiff also seeks to add Bayerische
Motoren Wekre AG (“BMW AG”) as a defendant in
this case. Id. at p. 1-2. The instant motion was
filed on July 11, 2017. R. Doc. 45. The deadline for filing
amendments to pleadings, third-party actions, cross-claims,
and counterclaims was November 7, 2016. R. Doc. 8.
Defendant has opposed the motion. R. Doc. 56. The Defendant
argues that the Plaintiff has not demonstrated good cause for
the late filing of a supplemental claim and addition of a
third party. Id.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) governs the amendment
of pleadings before trial. Rule 15(a) allows a party to amend
its pleadings “only with the other party's written
consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Moreover, the Rule urges that the Court
“should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” Id. In taking this liberal
approach, the Rule “reject[s] the approach that
pleading is a game of skill in which one misstep by counsel
may be decisive to the outcome and accept the principle that
the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on
the merits.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 48
15(a) requires a trial court ‘to grant leave to amend
freely, ' and the language of this rule ‘evinces a
bias in favor of granting leave to amend.'”
Jones v. Robinson Prop. Grp., 427 F.3d 987, 994 (5th
Cir. 2005) (internal quotations marks omitted) (quoting
Lyn-Lea Travel Corp. v. Am. Airlines, 283 F.3d 282,
286 (5th Cir.2002)). When denying a motion to amend, the
court must have a “substantial reason”
considering such factors as “‘undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failures to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party ...and
futility of the amendment.'” Marucci Sports,
LLC v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 751 F.3d
368, 378 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting Jones, 427 F.3d at
994). An amendment is deemed to be futile if it would be
dismissed under a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Id. (citing
Briggs v. Miss., 331 F.3d 499, 508 (5th Cir 2003)).
Fifth Circuit [has] clarified that when, as here, a
scheduling order has been issued by the district court, Rule
16(b) governs amendment of pleadings.” Royal Ins.
Co. of America v. Schubert Marine Sales, 02-0916, 2003
WL 21664701, at *2 (E.D. La. July 11, 2003) (Englehardt, J.)
(citing S & W Enterprises, L.L.C. v. Southtrust Bank
of Ala., 315 F.3d 533, 535-36 (5th Cir.2003)). Rule
16(b) limits changes in the deadlines set by a scheduling
order “only for good cause and with the judge's
consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). To determine if good
cause exists as to untimely motions to amend pleadings, the
Court should consider: “(1) the movant's
explanation for its failure to timely move for leave to
amend; (2) the importance of the amendment; (3) the potential
prejudice in allowing the amendment; and (4) the availability
of a continuance to cure that prejudice.” Schubert
Marine Sales, 2003 WL 21664701, at *2 (citing S
& W Enterprises, 315 F.3d at 536). If the movant can
show good cause, the Court will then apply the liberal
standards of Rule 15(a). S&W Enterprises, 315
F.3d at 536.
time, the Plaintiff has filed a motion to amend its complaint
by narrowing its claims under the Louisiana Products
Liability Act as well as to add a third party defendant. R.
Doc. 45. This motion was filed on July 11, 2017. However, the
deadline for filing of motions to amend or add additional
parties was November 7, 2016. R. Doc. 8. As such, the motion
is untimely and must first be evaluated under Rule 16(b)
before the more liberal standard of Rule 15 is applied.