United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MICHAEL A. HAMMER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court by way of pro se
Plaintiff Miguel Ruales's (“Plaintiff”)
renewed motion for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint.
Renewed Prop. Second Am. Compl., Apr. 17, 2019, D.E. 28.
Defendant opposes the motion. Opp'n Brief to Renewed Sec.
Am. Compl., May 1, 2019, D.E. 29. The Court has reviewed
Plaintiff's motion and applicable law. Pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78 and Local Civil Rule 78.1,
the Court has considered this matter without oral argument.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants
Plaintiff's motion to amend.
a resident of Elizabeth, New Jersey, claims that by letter
dated August 9, 2017, Defendant, a state-chartered mutual
savings and loan association of the State of New Jersey,
notified him that it would be closing his account effective
September 9, 2017. Renewed Prop. Second Am. Compl., Apr. 17,
2019, D.E. 28, at 2. Plaintiff contends that Defendant did
not provide Plaintiff with a reason for closing his account.
Id. Plaintiff claims that as a result of the
account's closure he incurred financial consequences,
i.e., his credit rating was negatively impacted,
checks written on the account bounced, and his future ability
to obtain credit was jeopardized. Id.
14, 2018, Plaintiff brought this action pro se
against Defendant for negligence, claiming that Defendant had
a duty to Plaintiff as its customer and that Defendant
breached that duty by closing Plaintiff's account
abruptly, without notice, and without explanation to
Plaintiff. Compl., May 14, 2018, D.E. 1, at ¶¶
23-39. On June 11, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss
the Complaint, arguing that no duty existed on the part of
Defendant to explain why it was closing Plaintiff's
account and that the Court did not have subject matter
jurisdiction over the case because Plaintiff did not state a
claim under federal law. Mot. to Dismiss, Jun. 11, 2018, D.E.
5, at 4.
following day, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. First
Am. Compl., Jun. 12, 2018, D.E. 7. The First Amended
Complaint reiterated Plaintiff's negligence claim.
Id. at ¶¶ 25-41. The First Amended
Complaint also added a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
which alleged that Defendant's conduct discriminated
against Plaintiff based on his Hispanic heritage and thereby
violated his civil rights. Id. at 5-7, ¶¶
August 9, 2018, Defendant moved to dismiss the First Amended
Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Mot. to Dismiss First Am.
Compl., Aug. 9, 2018, D.E. 10. The Court granted
Defendant's motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint in
its entirety and provided Plaintiff thirty days to move to
amend. Order, Jan. 9, 2019, D.E. 21.
January 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file
a Second Amended Complaint. Prop. Second Am. Compl., Jan. 24,
2019, D.E. 22. Defendant opposed the motion. Opp'n Brief
to Sec. Am. Compl., Jan. 30, 2019, D.E. 23. This Court denied
Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a Second Amended
Complaint on the basis of Local Civil Rules 7.1(f) and
15(a)(2),  ordering Plaintiff to file a renewed
motion with a red-lined version of the proposed amended
pleading no later than April 12, 2019. Am. Order, Mar. 18,
2019, D.E. 26.
April 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant renewed motion
for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint, containing
red-lined edits per Local Civil Rules 7.1(f) and 15(a)(2).
Renewed Prop. Second Am. Compl., Apr. 17, 2019, D.E. 28.
Plaintiff seeks to amend his Complaint to: (1) add additional
facts in support of his negligence claim; (2) add counts for
breach of fiduciary duty and for breach of the covenant of
good faith and fair dealing; and (3) replace his § 1983
claim with a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 claim.
Id. at 4-7.
opposes the motion. Opp'n Br., May 1, 2019, D.E. 29.
Defendant asserts that this Court must deny Plaintiff's
motion to amend for two reasons: (1) Plaintiff filed it in an
untimely manner; and (2) the Proposed Second Amended
Complaint fails to state a claim for discrimination under
§ 1981. Id. at 5-12. Defendant further contends
that if the Court denies the motion to amend, only state law
claims will remain, and the Court should dismiss the action
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Id.
first issue for the Court is whether Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15 or 16 governs Plaintiff's motion to amend.
Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC, Civ. No.
10-1283, 2011 WL 5170445, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 31, 2011).
Rule 15 states, in pertinent part, “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). “Rule 16, on the other hand, requires a party
to demonstrate ‘good cause' prior to the Court
amending its scheduling order.” Karlo, 2011 WL
5170445, at *2 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4)).
is a recognized tension between Rule 15 and Rule 16 that has
not been directly resolved by the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit. See Race Tires America,
Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 614 F.3d 57, 84 (3d.
Cir. 2010); Graham v. Progressive Direct Ins. Co.,
271 F.R.D. 112, 118 (W.D. Pa. 2010). However, courts
“within the Third Circuit have consistently reached the
same conclusion: a party seeking to amend the pleadings
after the deadline set by the Court must satisfy the
requirements of Rule 16(b)(4)-i.e., they must show
‘good cause.'” Karlo, 2011 WL
5170445, at *2 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4)) (emphasis
Plaintiff filed his pleading after the deadline set by this
Court, and, therefore, the Court must consider Rule 16. The
operative Order instructed that any motion to amend the
pleadings be filed by April 12, 2019. Am. Order, Mar. 18,
2019, D.E. 26. Plaintiff filed the instant motion on April
17, 2019. Renewed Prop. Second Am. Compl., Apr. 17, 2019,
D.E. 28. Because Plaintiff filed the present motion three
business days after the April 12, 2019, filing deadline, the
Court must first determine whether, under Rule 16, good cause
exists to adjust the deadline to permit Plaintiff to file his
motion. If there is good cause to amend, the Court will then
turn to Rule 15 to determine whether to permit Plaintiff to
file his amended pleading as justice so requires. Home
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