United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
MELISSA RIVERA AND RICARDO SILVA, JR.
JENNIFER ROBINSON AND HER INSURER, ET AL
ORDER AND REASONS
ANN VIAL LEMMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs'
Objections (Rec. Doc. 68) to the
Magistrate's Order and Reasons of July 29, 2019 (Rec.
Doc. 67) are SUSTAINED, and the Magistrate
Judge's ruling is reversed.
facts of this case have been set forth in prior orders of the
court and the Magistrate Judge's Order and Reasons and
thus are not restated here. See Rec. Docs. 26, 57,
67. Plaintiffs object to the Magistrate Judge's ruling
denying them leave to amend their complaint to add new and
specific allegations regarding medications which had been
prescribed to defendant Jennifer Robinson
("defendant") at the time of the accident. Under
the operative scheduling order, amendments to pleadings were
due not later than May 28, 2019. On July 2, 2019, plaintiffs
moved to amend and supplement their pleadings. The proposed
amendment includes allegations that defendant was negligent
in causing the fatality in this case in taking, or failing to
take as directed, certain prescription medications, which
plaintiffs further allege affect vision and motor control.
The Magistrate Judge concluded that good cause did not exist
under Federal Rule 16(b) to allow plaintiffs' proposed
amendment of pleadings beyond the deadline imposed by the
scheduling order, and thus did not reach the requirements of
Federal Rule 15(a)(2).
Standard of Review
order issued by a magistrate judge concerning non-dispositive
pretrial matters, such as an order on a motion for leave to
file an amended complaint, is reviewed by the district court
under the clearly erroneous standard. See Perales v.
Sasilla, 950 F.2d 1066, 1070 (5th Cir.1992); 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A) (2009).
Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) governs amendment of pleadings
once a scheduling order has been issued by the district
court." S&W Enterprises, L.L.C. v. SouthTrust
Bank of Alabama, NA, 315 F.3d 533, 535 (5th Cir. 2003).
Rule 16(b) mandates that a scheduling order “shall not
be modified except upon a showing of good cause and by leave
of the district judge.” "Only upon the
movant's demonstration of good cause to modify the
scheduling order will the more liberal standard of Rule 15(a)
apply to the district court's decision to grant or deny
leave." S&W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536 (5th
determining whether good cause exists for an untimely motion
to amend pleadings, courts 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. S & W
Enterprises, 315 F.3d at 536.
cause for untimeliness is established, the court then
considers whether the amendment should be allowed under the
standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a). S
& W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536.
Federal Rule 15(a)(2), “a party may amend its pleading
only with the opposing party's consent or the court's
leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” The court has discretion on whether to grant
or deny leave to amend. Union Planters Nat. Leasing, Inc.
v. Woods, 687 F.2d 117, 121 (5th Cir. 1982). In deciding
whether to grant leave to file an amended pleading under Rule
15(a), a district court may consider factors 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,
and futility of amendment. Id.