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Smith v. Navient Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 31, 2018

GREGORY J. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
NAVIENT SOLUTIONS, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KIM R. GIBSON JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Gregory Smith initiated this action on October 17, 2017, by filing a two-count Complaint before this Court (ECF No. 1). Smith alleged that Navient Solutions, LLC ("Navient"), a loan servicing agency, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the "TCPA") and intruded on Smith's privacy by using automated systems to call his cell phone approximately 134 times during a seven week period, despite the fact that Smith repeatedly requested that Navient cease calling him. (See ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 13-19.)

         On March 6, 2018, the Court entered an Initial Scheduling Order ("Order"). (ECF No. 21.) The Order gave the parties until April 20, 2018 to amend the pleadings. (Id.) Neither of the parties filed an amended pleading by the deadline.

         On July 6, 2018 -approximately ten weeks after the deadline to amend the pleadings passed-Smith filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint ("Motion") (ECF No. 24). Smith wishes to add a third count against Navient for violating the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act ("FCEUA").[1] Navient opposes the Motion. (ECF No. 27.)

         The Motion is fully briefed (see ECF Nos. 24, 27) and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons explained below, the Court will DENY the Motion.

         II. Jurisdiction

         The Court has jurisdiction over Smith's federal claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Smith's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because a substantial portion of the events giving rise to the claims occurred in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

         III. Background

         Smith argues that the Court should grant him leave to amend his Complaint under Rule 15. Smith asserts that his Amended Complaint "will not allege additional factual allegations and merely seeks to add an additional cause of action that relies on the same set of facts alleged in his complaint." (ECF No. 24 at 1-2.) Smith contends that there will be no undue delay because discovery remains ongoing. (Id. at 2.) He also states that there is no evidence of bad faith and that Navient will not suffer prejudice, because discovery is still ongoing and the Amended Complaint relies on the same facts alleged in the original Complaint. (Id. at 4.)

         In response, Navient contends that the Court should deny Smith's Motion because Smith failed to satisfy Rule 16's "good cause" requirement for modifying a scheduling order. (ECF No. 27 at 2.) Navient asserts that Smith failed to cite Rule 16 or give any explanation for why he failed to bring his FCEUA claim in his original Complaint. (Id.) Navient further contends that Smith cannot demonstrate "good cause" because Smith admits that his Amended Complaint "relies on the same set of facts" as his original Complaint, which indicates that Smith had sufficient facts to allege the FCEUA claim before the deadline to amend the pleadings passed. (Id.) Navient also speculates that Smith tactically elected to wait to bring his FCEUA claim until this point because, while the TCPA does not provide for attorney's fees, [2] the FCEUA does. Navient states that it would be prejudiced if the Court granted Smith's Motion because Navient has devised a litigation strategy and decided to expend resources based on the fact that Smith's original claims did not include attorney's fees. (Id. at 5.)

         IV. Discussion

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 governs amendments to pleadings. 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." Abed-Rabuh v. Hoobrajh, No. 3:17-CV-15, 2018 WL 300453, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 4, 2018) (Gibson, J.) (quoting Hadeed v. Advanced Vascular Res. of Johnstown, LLC, No. 3:15-CV-22, 2017 WL 4286343, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 26, 2017) (Gibson, J.). Accordingly, the Court will begin by analyzing Smith's Motion under Rule 16.

         A. ...


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