United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia
CLINTON EUGENE GILLEY, as Administrator of the Estate of CARL DAVID GILLEY, Nicole Leigh Le, As Administrator of the Estate of CHRISTINE TARA WARDEN GILLEY, and Clinton Eugene Gilley and Nicole Leigh Le as Co-Administrators of the Estates of J.G. and G.G., minor children. Plaintiffs,
C.H. ROBINSON WORLDWIDE, INC., J&TS TRANSPORT EXPRESS, INC., and BERTRAM COPELAND, M & K TRUCK LEASING, LLC, And RIVER VALLEY CAPITAL INSURANCE, INC. Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. FABER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
with the court's Order on April 10, 2019 (ECF No. 84),
the court hereby GRANTS the Stipulated
Motion to Amend Complaint (ECF NO. 83), which adds defendants
M & K Trucking Leasing LLC and River Valley Capital
Insurance, Inc to the case, for the reasons stated below.
to the Stipulated Motion, all parties-the plaintiffs and the
defendants joined at the time-consented to the filing of the
Amended Complaint. Id. At the time of the filing of
the motion the parties to be added-M & K Trucking Leasing
LLC and River Valley Capital Insurance, Inc-had not, however,
had an opportunity to file a response to the motion. After
the court entered its Order granting the parties'
Stipulated Motion to Amend Complaint, the new defendant, M
& K Truck Leasing, LLC, filed a Response to Stipulated
Motion to Amend Complaint. (ECF NO. 90). The plaintiffs have
since filed a Motion to Strike Response to Stipulated Motion
to Amend Complaint. (ECF No. 92).
stipulated motion, the parties contended they were filing the
motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). (ECF No. 83). Thus,
because the plaintiffs' time to amend their complaint as
a matter of course passed and because the parties to be
joined did not consent in writing to being joined, this court
has to determine whether “justice so requires”
allowing the parties to amend the complaint, which adds the
two new parties.
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2), [after a party's right to an
amendment as a matter of course is no longer applicable]
“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.” While Rule 15 does not specifically address
whether a party may join additional parties by amending a
complaint, the Fourth Circuit has held that Rule 15 is
applicable to amendments seeking to add parties. See
Galustian v. Peter, 591 F.3d 724, 730 (4th
the Fourth Circuit's “policy to liberally allow
amendment in keeping with the spirit of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(a). Id. at 729. Furthermore, this
district has held that allowing the use of Rule 15(a) to add
claims against parties, at least where no prejudice results,
is appropriate. Smith v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC,
No. 2:09-cv-710, 2010 WL 1050350, F.Supp.2d, at *3 (S.D.W.V.
March 18, 2010) (citing Galustian, 591 F.3d 724). In
making this determination [of whether an amendment under Rule
15(a) should be granted], a court should consider whether
there has been undue delay in filing, bad faith or dilatory
motives, prejudice to the opposing parties, and the futility
of the amendment. See Forman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
the court finds that any potential unfair prejudice can be
remedied through amending the current scheduling order. In
its Response to Stipulated Motion to Amend Complaint (ECF NO.
90), M & K Truck Leasing, LCC did not demonstrate any
unfair prejudice that cannot be resolved through a new
scheduling order. Furthermore, the court does not find, and
the defendants sought to be added have not alleged, futility
or that the plaintiffs are acting in bad faith. Therefore,
consistent with the court's Order entered on April 10,
2019 (ECF No. 84), the court GRANTS the
Stipulated Motion to Amend Complaint (ECF NO. 83).
even though M & K Trucking Leasing, LLC filed their
response to the plaintiffs' motion to amend after the
court entered its Order (ECF NO. 90), the court took their
brief under consideration. Nonetheless, the court was not
persuaded by M & K Trucking Leasing, LLCs argument, and
did not find their reasoning to justify the court overruling
its previous Order. Thus, because the court took M & K
Trucking Leasing, LLCs filing under consideration, the court
DENIES plaintiff's Motion to Strike
Response to Stipulated Motion to Amend complaint (ECF No.
foregoing reasons, the Stipulated Motion to Amend Complaint
(ECF NO. 83) is GRANTED and plaintiff's
Motion to Strike Response to Stipulated Motion to Amend
complaint (ECF No. 92) is DENIED.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this Order to all counsel