United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
PUPO LENIHAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
February 14, 2018, Defendant Lawrence County Career and
Technical Center (“LCCTC”) filed a Motion for
Leave to Amend Answer to File Counterclaim. (ECF No. 88.) For
the reasons that follow, the Court will grant LCCTC's
support of its Motion, LCCTC argues the following: 1) no
undue prejudice to Plaintiff will result if leave is granted
because the factual basis of the proposed counterclaim is
directly related to Plaintiff's claim that LCCTC defamed
her by claiming she engaged in misconduct, and LCCTC's
defense that Plaintiff did engage in misconduct which
resulted in monetary damages to LCCTC; 2) the amendment will
not cause any prejudicial delay as discovery is not scheduled
to close until June 29, 2018 and the proposed counterclaim is
related to Plaintiff's defamation claim and LCCTC's
defense thereto, and will not require the parties to do any
additional discovery; and 3) good cause exists to permit the
amendment despite the court's scheduling order requiring
the amendment of pleadings by January 31, 2018.
responds that the motion should be denied for the following
reasons: 1) the proposed amendment should be rejected as
futile because any tort claims are time-barred; 2) the motion
should be denied for undue delay because it is based on
Plaintiff's improper compensation prior to her
resignation in August 2013, and no new information previously
unavailable to LCCTC has been uncovered since it initially
discovered the alleged monetary losses in December 2013; 3)
the motion should be denied on the grounds of bad faith,
dilatory motive, and prejudice to Plaintiff.
the two relevant legal standards at play, the Court must
grant LCCTC's Motion for Leave to Amend Answer to File
Rule of Civil Procedure 15
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 (a)(2) provides in
relevant part: “In all other cases [other than amending
as a matter of course set out in Rule 15(a)(1)], 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). A district court, however, may deny leave to amend
if any of the following factors are present: undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, undue
prejudice to the opposing party, and futility of amendment.
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962) (courts
should freely grant leave to amend, absent specified
careful review of the parties' briefs and accompanying
exhibits, the Court finds no basis for denying leave to
amend. The Court finds no undue delay where discovery has
been extended to July 27, 2018. Nor does the Court find any
evidence in the record of bad faith or dilatory motive on the
part of LCCTC. Further, the Court finds no undue prejudice to
the Plaintiff where LCCTC has pled truth as a defense to
Plaintiff's claims of defamatory conduct.
the Court finds no futility where the relationship between
Plaintiff and LCCTC relating to overtime and health insurance
benefits was outlined in a written agreement; a counterclaim
for breach of the written agreement or implied/quasi contract
is not time barred. As noted by Plaintiff, the latest date
when LCCTC would have been placed on notice of its claim was
December 31, 2013, when it received the audit report in
issue. LCCTC filed its original answer on November 9, 2017.
LCCTC's claim for breach of contract would necessarily
relate back to the filing of its original answer,
is not time barred.
the Court finds no basis pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15 for denying LCCTC's Motion for Leave to
Amend Answer to File Counterclaim.
Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4)
Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4) provides that a scheduling
order “may be modified only for good cause and with the
judge's consent.” The Rule 16(b) “good
cause” standard, rather than the more liberal standard
of Rule 15(a), governs a motion to amend pleadings filed
after the deadline set in the scheduling order for amending
pleadings. The good cause standard requires the movant to
demonstrate that despite due diligence, the proposed claims
could not have been reasonably sought in a timely manner.
Cordance Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 255 F.R.D. 366,
374 (D. Del. 2009).
Court notes that LCCTC's Motion for Leave to Amend Answer
to File Counterclaim was filed just 14 days after the
scheduling order deadline of January 31, 2018 to amend the
pleadings. The Court further notes that LCCTC submits that in
order to prepare the Counterclaim, it had to review
voluminous documents, while at the same time preparing the
required initial disclosures that were due on January 19,
2018. LCCTC also submits that its counsel was dealing with a
serious family medical issue at this time. In ...