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Wyman v. Yates-American Machine Co. Inc.

United States District Court, District of Maine

June 6, 2014

TERRANCE WYMAN, Plaintiff
v.
YATES-AMERICAN MACHINE CO., INC., et al., Defendants.

Plaintiff TERRANCE WYMAN represented by JAMES J. MACADAM, NATHAN A. JURY

Defendant YATES-AMERICAN MACHINE COMPANY also known as YATES-AMERICAN MACHINE CO INC represented by BRIAN P. VOKE COMPANY CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, EDWARDS & CONROY, DAVID M. ROGERS

Movant STRATTON LUMBER INC represented by JOHN J. CRONAN, III

Defendant DK SPEC INC doing business as GUERETTE doing business as INDUSTRIE GUERETTE doing business as INDUSTRIE GUERETTE DIVISION DE DKSPEC INC doing business as INDUSTRIE GUERETTE INC doing business as QUEBEC INC represented by FREDERICK J. BADGER, JR., JOSHUA AARON RANDLETT

ORDER ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND

John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

In this action, Plaintiff Terrance Wyman seeks to recover in negligence and in strict liability for injuries allegedly resulting from his use of a planer manufactured by Defendant Yates-American Machine Company, and sold by Defendant DK-Spec Inc. The matter is before the Court on Defendant Yates-American’s Motion for Leave to Amend its answer to Plaintiff’s complaint. Through its motion, Defendant Yates-American requests permission to assert the affirmative defense of lack of personal jurisdiction. (Motion for Leave to Amend, ECF No. 21).[1]

As explained below, following a review of the pleadings, and consideration of the parties’ arguments, the Court denies the motion.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Yates-American removed this action from state court on August 6, 2013, and filed its answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint on August 12, 2013. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that sometime prior to May 17, 2007, Defendant Yates-American sold, to an unknown customer, a planer/matcher machine identified as a “Yates-American A-20 or A-20-12” and thereby placed the machine in the stream of commerce. (Complaint ¶ 5, ECF No. 1-1.) In its answer to Wyman’s complaint, Yates-American admitted “that it sold planers prior to May 17, 2007, ” but otherwise represented that it lacked knowledge or information sufficient to admit or deny the allegation. (Yates-American Answer ¶ 5, ECF No. 5.)

On September 9, 2013, the Court amended its Scheduling Order to establish the deadline for amendment of the pleadings as November 15, 2013. (See ECF Nos. 11/12.) Although the Court subsequently amended the Scheduling Order, the Court did not alter the date by which the parties were required to seek to amend the pleadings.

Yates-American filed the pending Motion for Leave to Amend on March 26, 2014. Yates-American’s principal purpose in requesting the amendment is to assert the affirmative defense of lack of personal jurisdiction. (Id. at 4.) Yates-American also seeks to assert “that it sold an A-20-12 planer/matcher, serial number B-28984, to Cecil Hodges Lumber Company in Sandersville, GA in November, 1972” and to deny that the planer that allegedly caused Wyman’s injuries was in the same condition as it was in 1972. (Yates-American Amended Answer ¶ 5, ECF No. 21-1.)

Discussion

A. Motion to Amend Standard

Rule 15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a litigant to amend a pleading “once as a matter of course, ” subject to certain time constraints. In the case of an answer, freedom to amend without leave of court is permitted within 21 days of the date on which the answer was filed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(A). Thereafter, leave of court is required, though leave should be granted “freely . . . when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); see also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). The standard is elevated, however, when the motion seeking leave to amend is filed after the deadline for amendment of the pleadings found in the Court’s scheduling order. A motion to amend that is filed beyond the scheduling order deadline requires an amendment of the scheduling order. To obtain an amendment of the scheduling order, a party must demonstrate “good cause.” Johnson v. Spencer Press of Maine, Inc., 211 F.R.D. 27, 30 (D. Me. 2002); El–Hajj v. Fortis Benefits Ins. Co., 156 F.Supp.2d 27, 34 (D. Me. 2001); Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). A court’s decision on good cause “focuses on the diligence (or lack thereof) of the moving party more than it does on any prejudice to the party-opponent.” Steir v. Girl Scouts of the USA, 383 F.3d 7, 12 (1st Cir. 2004). “Particularly disfavored are motions to amend whose timing prejudices the opposing party by ‘requiring a re-opening of discovery with additional costs, a significant ...


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