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D'Aquin v. Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

September 12, 2018

THOMAS D'AQUIN
v.
PENSKE TRUCK LEASING CO., L.P. ET AL

         SECTION: “G” (4)

          ORDER

          KAREN WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (R. Doc. 21) filed by the Plaintiff. The motion is not opposed. R. Doc. 21. The motion was heard on the briefs on August 15, 2018.

         I. Background

         This action was originally filed by Thomas D'Aquin in the District Court on March 22, 2018. R. Doc. 1. Liberally construed, the Plaintiff's complaint appears to allege that the Defendants violated his civil rights and the Federal Interstate Commerce Act. Defendants are the truck rental company Penske, Roger Penske, Sr., and several individuals whose relevance to the case was not explained.

         Plaintiff alleges that he leased a truck from Defendants, kept it longer than expected, and that the truck was reclaimed by Defendants, along with many of his possessions, which were never returned. R. Doc. 1, p. 2. Neither the Motion before the Court, the original complaint, nor any other filing in this matter by the Plaintiff discusses the details of the confiscation. It is unclear when the confiscation took place, where it took place, or what roles each Defendant played in the confiscation.

         In the original complaint, the Plaintiff claims that after the Defendants confiscated the truck, they stole, among other things, $23, 500 in cash, two watches, and “[n]umerous pictures” that each have an alleged value of $5, 000. Plaintiff seeks reimbursement for this property, as well as $3, 000, 000 in additional damages. Id.

         In the instant motion, Plaintiff seeks leave of the Court to file an amended complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 15(a) and 19(a). R. Doc. 21. This amended complaint lists eight unknown insurance companies for each of the Defendants. The proposed amended complaint makes no allegation against the unknown insurance companies, and contains no facts regarding Penske truck reclamation. Id.

         II. 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 (1957).

         “Rule 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)).

         III. Analysis

         A. Necessary Joinder

         Plaintiff seeks to add as Defendants the eight unknown insurance companies for the previously named Defendants pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 19(a), which governs required joinder of parties. The Rule states in relevant part that a “person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of subject-matter jurisdiction must be joined as a party” in two situations. First, the person must be joined if “in that person's absence, the court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties” or a person must be joined if “that person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in the person's absence may: (i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to ...


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