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Randig v. Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 24, 2014

BLACK & DECKER (U.S.) INC., Trading and doing business as DEWALT, Defendant.


ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

This product liability lawsuit was originally filed in State Court but was removed by Defendant to this Court, which has diversity jurisdiction over this matter.

Presently before the Court, is Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion to Amend/Correct the Complaint seeking to amend their Complaint due to their misidentification of the product at issue. See doc. nos. 1-2, ¶ 4, and 30. Defendant has filed a Brief in Opposition to the Renewed Motion to Amend/Correct the Complaint. Doc. no. 32. Plaintiffs filed a Reply Brief. Doc. no. 34. This matter is now ripe for adjudication.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The Complaint was originally filed on June 2, 2014 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. Doc. no. 1-2. On July 1, 2014, almost one month later, Defendant removed the case to the United States District for the Western Pennsylvania. Doc. no. 1. On July 2, 2014, the Court issued an Order setting the initial case management conference for August 14, 2014.

The Complaint alleged that Plaintiff, David Randig, was injured on August 1, 2012, while using a DeWalt 4 ½ inch angle grinder ("D 28402") in his home. Doc. no. 1-2 ¶ 4. Plaintiffs' product liability claim alleged ( inter alia ) that this particular angle grinder was defective in that it had a lockable on-off switch, that it lacked a "dead man switch, " that it did was not equipped with an "auto stop feature, " was improperly labeled and did not contain the appropriate warnings. Doc. no. 1-2, ¶ 12. Defendant denied these allegations in its Answer. Doc. no. 4, ¶¶ 4, 12.

On August 25, 2014, Plaintiffs served Defendant with a set of Interrogatories and a Request for Production of Documents. See doc. nos. 17-1 and 17-2. Within these discovery requests the Plaintiffs define "the product" as the DeWalt 4 ½ angle grinder ("D 28402"). Id . This is the same product that Plaintiffs identified in their Complaint.

On or before September 22, 2014, Defendant sought a one-week extension of time to provide its discovery responses to Plaintiffs. See doc. no. 17-3. Plaintiffs agreed to extend the 30-day discovery deadline by one week so that Defendant could provide "full and complete responses" to the discovery, but refused to extend the deadline for the filing of objections. Id . As a result, Defendant moved this Court to grant it an extension of time to complete its discovery responses. Doc. no. 17. However, on September 25, 2014, Defendant withdrew its Motion, noting that it had been "able to timely complete its responses" without needing to obtain an extension. Doc. no. 18, ¶¶ 7-8.

On October 9, 2014, the parties attended mediation with a neutral, but the mediation did not resolve this matter. See doc. no. 20. October 10, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their First Motion to Amend/Correct the Complaint ("First Motion") wherein they indicated that they had identified the wrong model number on their angle grinder and indicated the correct model number was "DW827." Doc. no. 21, ¶ 2. Plaintiffs noted in their First Motion that they had used the correct model number in 2013, when they first notified Defendant of the incident. Doc. no. 21, ¶¶ 3-4.

The Court granted Plaintiffs' First Motion (doc. no. 23), but vacated the Order granting Plaintiffs' First Motion after Defendant filed a Motion for Reconsideration and a Brief in Opposition to the Plaintiffs' First Motion. See doc. nos. 25-26, and text Order dated October 17, 2014. On October 20, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Renewed Motion for Leave to Amend/Correct Complaint ("Renewed Motion") which made the same request - to be permitted to amend their Complaint to set forth the proper model number ("DW827"). Doc. no. 30. In their Renewed Motion, Plaintiffs again note that in 2013, they provided the correct model to Defendant. The Renewed Motion further indicates that on August 14, 2014, Plaintiffs provided the "subject angle grinder" to Defendant for inspection, and notes that the "broken disc [was] still attached." Id., ¶¶ 5-6.

Defendant's Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend sets forth several reasons why Plaintiffs should not be permitted to amend their Complaint. Doc. no. 32. Defendant's primary argument is that it was not supplied with the correct model number for the actual product at issue prior to expiration of the statute of limitations.

For the reasons set forth herein, the Court will grant Plaintiffs leave to amend their Complaint.

II. Standard of Review

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that leave to file an amended pleading "shall be freely given as justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a); see also Bechtel v. Robinson, 886 F.2d 644, 652 (3d Cir.1989) (finding a "strong liberality" in permitting leave to file an amended pleading). However, leave to file is not without limits. See, e.g., Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962) (denial of leave to amend is appropriate in ...

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