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Lane v. USAA General Indemnity Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 30, 1983

MELISSA LANE
v.
USAA GENERAL INDEMNITY COMPANY

          MEMORANDUM

          R. BARCLAY SURRICK, J.

         Presently before the Court are Defendant USAA General Indemnity Company's Motion for Leave to Supplement Affirmative Defenses in response to Plaintiff's claims for underinsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits and bad faith (Def.'s Mot. to Supplement, ECF No. 18) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as to all claims (ECF No. 22). For the following reasons, the Motion for Leave to Supplement Affirmative Defenses and the Motion for Summary Judgment will be denied.

         I.BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         On October 10, 2015, Plaintiff was a passenger in a 2010 Mitsubishi, insured by Defendant. (Compl. ¶¶ 2, 7, Notice of Removal Ex. A, ECF No. 1.) Defendant's insurance policy on the 2010 Mitsubishi included UIM protection in the sum of $100, 000 per person, $300, 000 per accident. (Id. ¶ 8.) While Plaintiff was a passenger, the 2010 Mitsubishi was struck from behind by a 2006 Mercury, owned and operated by Julie Macenka and insured by Omni Insurance Company (“Omni”). (Id. ¶¶ 4, 5, 18.) Macenka's Omni insurance policy on the 2006 Mercury provided for bodily injury liability in the sum of $15, 000. (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff alleges that she suffered serious injuries in the collision. (Id. ¶ 5.)

         When negotiating settlement with Macenka and Omni, Plaintiff's Counsel provided a copy of Omni's proposed general release to Defendant, seeking Defendant's consent to the third-party settlement in order to preserve Plaintiff's UIM claim with Defendant. (Plf.'s Resp. 2-3, ECF No. 19; Def.'s Reply 2, ECF No. 20.) Defendant consented to the third-party settlement. (Plf.'s Resp. 3.) In reliance on Defendant's consent, Plaintiff executed Omni's proposed general release and received $15, 000 under Macenka's Omni policy. (Compl. ¶ 18; Plf.'s Resp. 3-4.) Plaintiff alleges that the $15, 000 is insufficient to fully compensate her for her damages caused by the collision. (Compl. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff asserts a claim for UIM benefits and a claim for bad faith pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8371 against Defendant. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 24.)[1]

         B. Procedural History

         On January 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendant in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. (Notice of Removal, Ex. A.) On February 7, 2018, Defendant removed the action to this Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(a), 1441, and 1446. (Notice of Removal.) On February 14, 2018, Defendant filed its Answer. (ECF No. 4.) On June 13, 2019, the current Amended Scheduling Order was entered. (ECF No. 17.)

         On August 28, 2019, one year, six months, and fourteen days after filing its Answer, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Leave to Supplement Affirmative Defenses. On September 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Response. On September 16, 2019, Defendant filed a Reply, and Plaintiff filed a Sur-Reply.

         On September 17, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Response.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Leave to Supplement Affirmative Defenses

         Defendant seeks leave to amend its Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint to assert the additional affirmative defense that “Plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrine of release and by the terms and effect of the RELEASE of ALL CLAIMS executed by Melissa Lane on September 7, 2017” with Macenka and Omni. (Def.'s Mot. to Supplement, Ex 1.) Specifically, Defendant contends that the general release executed by Plaintiff releasing the third-party tortfeasor, Macenka, and her insurer, Omni, precludes Plaintiff's action against Defendant.

         Leave to amend shall be “freely give[n] . . . when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). However, leave to amend need not be given when amendment would be futile. Garvin v. City of Phila., 354 F.3d 215, 222 (3d Cir. 2003); see also Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 115 (3d Cir. 2000) (“Among the grounds that could justify a denial of leave to amend are undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, prejudice, and futility.” (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)). A proposed amendment is futile if the pleading, as amended, “would fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted” under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Shane, 213 F.3d at 115 (citation omitted). To satisfy the Rule 12(b)(6) standard, the amended pleading must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When a federal court ...


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