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World Express & Connection, Inc. v. Crocus Investments, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 26, 2018

WORLD EXPRESS & CONNECTION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CROCUS INVESTMENTS, LLC, et al., Defendants/Third Party Plaintiffs, MARINE TRANSPORT LOGISTIC INC., et al., Third Party Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Kevin McNulty, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on the Motion (ECF No. 119) of the Defendants/Third-Party Plaintiffs, Crocus Investments, LLC, Crocus FZE, Alexander Safanoy, and Middle East Asia Alfa FZE (collectively, the "Third-Party Plaintiffs"), to appeal Magistrate Judge Hammer's January 8, 2018 order (the "Order," ECF No. Ill), denying Third-Party Plaintiffs' letter request ("Letter Two," ECF No. 102), to nullify the effect of Judge Hammer's December 18, 2017 order. (ECF No. 98). I endorse Judge Hammer's sound and practical approach to case management-there is a scheduling order in place, and requests to amend have to stop somewhere-so I affirm the Order.

         I. Background

         Because I write for the parties, I summarize only the procedural history relevant to this appeal.

         Third Party Plaintiffs filed a Third-Party Complaint, (ECF No. 17), against Marine Transport Logistic Inc. ("Marine Transport"), Royal Finance Group, Inc. ("Royal Finance"), Car Express & Import Inc. ("Car Express"), Aleksandr Solovyev ("Solovyev"), Vadam Alper a/k/a Dimitry Alper ("Alper"), Alia Solovyeva ("Solovyeva"), Raya Bakhirev ("Bakhirev"), and Roman Chernin ("Chernin") (collectively, the "Third-Party Defendants"), alleging fraud, civil conspiracy, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit and account stated.

         On July 17, 2017, Judge Hammer granted the Third-Party Plaintiffs' timely request for leave to amend the Third-Party Complaint. (ECF No. 50).

         On July 21, 2017, the deadline for amendments to the pleadings, (see ECF No. 43), Third-Party Plaintiffs filed another motion to amend their Third-Party Complaint. (ECF No. 51). This motion sought to supplement the existing complaint with (a) additional factual allegations in support of the existing fraud claim, (ECF No. 51-1), and (b) an additional claim under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act ("NJCFA"). N.J.S.A. §56:8-1 et seq. [Id.].

         Judge Hammer granted (a) the motion to add factual allegations, but denied (b) the motion to add a cause of action under the NJCFA. (ECF No. 75). Third-Party Plaintiffs, Judge Hammer ruled, were not (or rather were not factually alleged to be) consumers under the NJCFA, and therefore amendment to add the proposed NJCFA cause of action would be futile. (ECF No. 74 at 9-12).

         Third-Party Plaintiffs then filed a motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 81), which Judge Hammer denied. (ECF No. 98).

         Undaunted, Third Party-Plaintiffs filed a letter ("Letter One") requesting leave to file a second motion to amend the Third-Party Party Complaint. (ECF No. 99). Judge Hammer filed a text order denying the Letter One request without prejudice, because Letter One "fail[ed] to articulate any good cause [to modify the court's scheduling order] to again move to amend, particularly considering that Defendants/Third Party Plaintiffs already made such an application, and the deadline to move to amend expired on July 21, 2017." That denial, however, was "without prejudice to counsel explaining how good cause exists under Rule 16" to relax the deadline of the scheduling order. (ECF No. 100).

         Taking up the suggestion, Third-Party Plaintiffs filed a second letter ("Letter Two", ECF No. 102), in which they attempted to demonstrate good cause for relief from the scheduling order.

         In the Order, (ECF No. Ill), that is now appealed, filed January 8, 2018, Judge Hammer denied the Letter Two request. In that Order, Judge Hammer stated that it appeared Third-Party Plaintiffs were impermissibly seeking "reconsideration of the Court's Order denying reconsideration." (Id. at 1). In the alternative, Judge Hammer ruled that "even if there were a procedural vehicle by which such a request could be made, Defendants/Third-Party Plaintiffs raise issues that amount to mere disagreement and have not shown good cause." (Id. at 2).

         Third-Party Plaintiffs then filed this ...


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