United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's First Motion to
Amend/Correct the Complaint (the "Motion") (ECF No.
For the reasons that follow, the Court will
GRANT Plaintiff's Motion.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction because the parties are
diverse and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00. 28
U.S.C. §1332. Venue is proper because a substantial part
of the events giving rise to this action occurred in the
Western District of Pennsylvania. 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
case arises from an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On
February 21, 2015, Plaintiff, a truck driver, was driving
westbound when he crashed into a tractor-trailer operated by
Defendant Jagdat Hoobrajh, who had "failed to negotiate
a right curve causing his vehicle to slide and block both
lanes of travel...". (ECF No. 1 at¶ 11.) Plaintiff
sustained physical injuries and emotional trauma as a result
of the accident. (Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.)
January 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Complaint before this
Court. (See id.) Plaintiff asserts four counts: (1)
negligence against Mr. Hoobrajh; (2) vicarious liability
against Trinity Trucking Express, Inc. ("Trinity"),
the truck company for whom Mr. Hoobrajh was employed; (3)
vicarious liability against J & J International, LLC, the
company that had contracted with Trinity to employ Mr.
Hoobrajh as a "borrowed employee"; and (4)
vicarious liability against St. George Trucking &
Warehouse, Inc., the company to whom Trinity leased its truck
and its driver, Mr. Hoobrajh. (See Id. at 3-7.)
Defendants filed their answers on May 3, 2017. (See
ECF Nos. 16, 17.)
13, 2017, the Court held an Initial Rule 16 Scheduling
Conference. (See ECF No. 23.) Attorney Rickards and
Attorney Nordeen appeared telephonically for Plaintiff.
(Id.) The same day, the Court entered the Initial
Scheduling Order. (See ECF No. 24.) The Initial
Scheduling Order stated that the parties had until August 1,
2017 to amend the pleadings. (Id. at 1.)
filed his Motion to Amend/Correct the Complaint on September
12, 2017, six weeks after the deadline to amend the pleadings
had passed. Plaintiff seeks to augment his Complaint by
adding an additional allegation of negligence against Mr.
Hoobrajh. (ECF No. 30 at ¶ 10.) Plaintiff does
not seek to add an additional claim, but merely to
"amplify" the negligence claim already alleged.
(Id. at ¶ 11.) Plaintiff states that amendment
will not prejudice Defendants because discovery is ongoing
and the drivers involved in the accident have not yet been
deposed. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Defendants
did not respond to Plaintiff's Motion.
counsel, Mr. Girard Rickards, gives two explanations for
Plaintiff's failure to comply with the August 1, 2017
deadline to amend the pleadings: (1) Rickard's co-counsel
David Nordeen, the attorney who had been communicating
directly with Plaintiff, retired "shortly after this
lawsuit was commenced" (id. at ¶ 4) and
(2) Plaintiff was not aware of the factual basis for his
desired amendment until July 13, 2017, when Defendants served
their Rule 26 initial disclosures, which included Mr.
Hoobrajh's written statement recounting the events
leading up to the collision. (Id. at ¶ 9.)
to pleadings are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15. But, as this Court
recently stated, "when a party seeks leave to amend the
pleadings after the deadline set by a court's scheduling
order, that party must first satisfy Rule l6(b)(4)'s
requirements for modifying a scheduling order."
Hadeed v. Advanced Vascular Res. of ]ohnstown, LLC,
No. 3:15-CV-22, 2017 WL 4286343, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 26,
2017) (citing Graham v. Progressive Direct Ins. Co.,
271 F.R.D. 112, 118 (W.D. Pa. 2010) (citing cases)).