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Howmedica Osteonics Corp v. Zimmer


August 1, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patty Shwartz United States Magistrate Judge


This matter having come before the Court by way of Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an Amended Complaint; and the Court having considered the record, the parties' submissions,*fn1 and the governing law;

and Rule 15(a) stating that, in pertinent, "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);

and the federal rules allowing for liberal amendments in light of the "principle that the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits," Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962);

and the Court having the discretion to determine whether to grant leave to amend, see id.; Heyl & Paterson Int'l Inc. v. F.D. Rich Hous. of V.I., Inc., 663 F.2d 419, 425 (3d Cir. 1981);

and the Court noting that leave to amend may be denied where there is: (1) undue delay,

On July 18, 2011, Defendants filed an opposing brief arguing that leave to amend should be denied for undue delay and undue prejudice. (Defs.' Br., July 18 2011, ECF No. 130.) As for undue delay, Defendants contend that Plaintiff acted strategically by filing on "the last permissible day," having known the underlying facts two months beforehand, and having waited to file the motion until after discovery responses were due. (Id. at 1--3.) As for undue prejudice, Defendants assert that they: (1) "tailored their discovery efforts" to the existing claims, (2) would be unable to propound new discovery related to the proposed claims since the document production deadline has passed, and (3) would be prejudiced by having to propound new discovery. (Id. at 4--6.) Notably, Defendants also state that Plaintiff "does not suggest what circumstances would give rise to liability under one of the two proposed new counts that would not already be covered by the existing counts." (Id. at 1.) Finally, although Defendants state in a single sentence, that the new pleading, like the original complaint, suffers from a lack of particularity, their opposition explicitly focuses on objections based on undue delay and undue prejudice. (See id. at 1--2, 5.)

On July 25, 2011, Plaintiff filed a reply brief arguing that: (1) Defendants were fully aware of Plaintiffs' intentions to amend the Complaint as early as May 13, 2011, (2) Plaintiff acted timely under the Scheduling Order, (3) neither the facts nor the case law support a finding of undue delay, (4) Defendants have failed to identify what additional discovery would be necessary and in fact implicitly suggest no further written discovery would be needed, and (5) additional discovery may be obtained as discovery does not end until September 16, 2011. (Pl.'s Reply Br. 2--7, July 25, 2011, ECF No. 141.)

(2) bad faith or dilatory motive, (3) undue prejudice, or (4) futility of amendment, see Foman, 371 U.S. at 182; accord Arthur v. Maersk, Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 204--05 (3d Cir. 2006); Alvin v. Suzuki, 227 F.3d 107, 121 (3d Cir. 2000); Long v. Wilson, 393 F.3d 390, 400 (3d Cir. 2004);

and Defendants having argued that Plaintiff has unduly delayed and that granting leave to file the proposed Amended Complaint would cause undue prejudice;

and, with regard to undue delay and undue prejudice, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit having stated that [t]he passage of time, without more, does not require that a motion to amend a complaint be denied; however, at some point, the delay will become "undue," placing an unwarranted burden on the court, or will become "prejudicial," placing an unfair burden on the opposing party. The question of undue delay, as well as the question of bad faith, requires that we focus on the plaintiffs' motives for not amending their complaint to assert this claim earlier; the issue of prejudice requires that we focus on the effect on the defendants, Adams v. Gould Inc., 739 F.2d 858, 868 (3d Cir. 1984) (internal citations omitted);

and the Court recognizing that under Rule 15, leave to amend is generally granted where, during the course of discovery, a party discovers "new evidence," see, e.g., Kronfeld v. First Jersey Nat'l Bank, 638 F. Supp. 1454, 1460 (D.N.J. 1986);

and the Court finding that the Plaintiff did not unduly delay seeking leave to file the proposed Amended Complaint and Defendants will not be unduly prejudiced by its filing at this time;*fn2

IT IS THEREFORE on this 1st day of August, 2011

ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an Amended Complaint [Docket No. 125] is granted; and

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, no later than August 4, 2011, Plaintiff shall file the Amended Complaint.

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