United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to File Amended Petition (Doc. No. 46). The motion is
fully briefed and ready for disposition. For the following
reasons, the motion will be granted.
in this consolidated action alleged Defendant violated the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et
seq. (“FDCPA”), by filing proofs of claim in
their bankruptcy proceedings on time-barred
debts. (Petition, Doc. No. 4, ¶¶ 17-20,
27-28) The Court entered a Case Management Order on July 1,
2015, establishing an August 14, 2015 deadline for joining
parties or amending pleadings (Doc. No. 15). On June 10,
2015, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims,
arguing that using legal process to obtain payment on a stale
debt via a proof of claim can never give rise to an FDCPA
action (Doc. No. 18); the motion was fully briefed as of July
16, 2015. Defendant filed notices of supplemental authority
in support of its motion on August 17, 2015 (Doc. No. 26) and
September 3, 2015 (Doc. No. 27).
September 4, 2015, Plaintiffs moved to stay the case pending
the outcome of the Eighth Circuit's resolution of the
appeal in Nelson v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., No.
4:15-CV-816 ERW, 2015 WL 5093437 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 28, 2015)
(Doc. No. 28). In Nelson, the district court
acknowledged a split of authority among federal courts on the
issue, but reasoned that the balance of decisions weighed in
favor of dismissal and granted defendant's motion to
dismiss. Id. at *2. The Court granted
Plaintiffs' motion and stayed this case on October 1,
2015 (Doc. No. 30). On July 11, 2016, the Eighth Circuit
issued its decision and affirmed the district court. See
Nelson v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 828 F.3d 749 (8th
Cir. 2016). On Defendant's motion, the Court ordered the
stay lifted on November 21, 2016. (Doc. No. 37)
moved for reconsideration of the Court's order lifting
the stay in light of the United States Supreme Court's
grant of certiorari in a case involving the identical issue
presented in this action, i.e., whether filing a proof of
claim for a time-barred debt violates the FDCPA, Johnson
v. Midland Funding, LLC, 823 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir. 2016),
cert. granted (U.S. Oct. 11, 2016) (Doc. No. 38). Over
Defendant's objection, the Court vacated its order
lifting the stay on December 1, 2016 and continued to stay
this case pending the Supreme Court's decision in
Johnson (Doc. No. 42).
15, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in
Johnson, holding that “filing (in a Chapter 13
bankruptcy proceeding])a proof of claim that is obviously
time barred is not a false, deceptive, misleading, unfair, or
unconscionable debt collection practice within the meaning of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.” Midland
Funding, LLC v. Johnson, 137 S.Ct. 1407, 1415-16 (2017).
On June 2, 2017, on Plaintiff's motion, the Court lifted
the stay, dismissed the consolidated claims with prejudice,
and granted Plaintiff Rebecca Moore seven days to file a
motion to amend her complaint (Doc. No. 45).
requests leave to amend her complaint to remove any
allegations as to the time-barred nature of the debt and
confine her cause of action to allegations that Defendant
misrepresented the amount of the debt within the proof of
claim, and specifically, that Defendant sought post-charge
off interest from Moore, despite its representation to the
contrary. Defendant opposes Plaintiff's motion, arguing
that Plaintiff fails to demonstrate good cause for leave to
amend almost two years after the deadline set forth in the
Case Management Order. Defendant further argues that
Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint prejudices
Defendant by changing the theory of recovery and imposing
additional discovery requirements.
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions
for leave to amend pleadings and generally supports the
liberal granting of such motions ‘when justice so
requires.' Rule 16(b), however, provides that scheduling
orders limit the time for amending pleadings and that a
schedule established by such an order ‘shall not be
modified except upon a showing of good cause.'”
Schenk v. Chavis, 259 F. App'x 905, 907 (8th
Cir. 2008). Where a party seeks leave to amend its complaint
after the deadline in the case management order has passed, a
court is required to apply the good cause standard of Rule
16(b), not the more liberal standard of Rule 15(a). Under
Rule 16(b), the party must show good cause in order to be
granted leave to amend. Sherman v.Winco Fireworks,
Inc., 532 F.3d 709, 716 (8th Cir. 2008); Popoalii v.
Correctional Med. Servs., 512 F.3d 488, 497 (8th Cir.
2008). “The primary measure of good cause is the
movant's diligence in attempting to meet the order's
requirements.” Sherman, 532 F.3d at 716
(citing Rahn v. Hawkins, 464 F.3d 813, 822 (8th Cir.
2006)). “While the prejudice to the nonmovant resulting
from modification of the scheduling order may also be a
relevant factor, generally, [the court] will not consider
prejudice if the movant has not been diligent in meeting the
scheduling order's deadlines.” Id. (citing
Bradford v. DANA Corp., 249 F.3d 807, 809 (8th Cir.
2001)). Whether to grant a motion for leave to amend is
within the discretion of the Court. Nadist, LLC v. Doe
Run Resources Corp., 2009 WL 3680533, at *1 (E.D. Mo.
Oct. 30, 2009).
careful consideration, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has
established good cause to amend. The delay in this case up to
now has been principally the result of the stay entered on
October 1, 2015. Moreover, “[d]elay in seeking to
amend, alone, is an insufficient justification to deny
leave.” Bell v. Allstate Life Ins. Co., 160
F.3d 452, 453 (8th Cir. 1998). Prejudice to the nonmovant
must also be shown. Id. Where the requested
amendments are based on facts similar to the original
complaint, leave is normally granted. Id. (citing
Buder v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith,
Inc., 644 F.2d 690, 694-95 & n. 5 (8th Cir. 1981)).
In the original complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant
knew that its January 13, 2014 proof of claim for $3, 954.99
was false, and that Defendant misrepresented to Plaintiff
that it could legally enforce the debt. (Complaint
(“Compl.”), Doc. No. 4 at ¶¶ 17-18,
20). In both the original and proposed amended complaints,
Plaintiff alleges Defendant violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692e
and § 1692f. (Compl. at ¶ 26(b), (c), (e), and
(f)). The Court finds there is a sufficient factual basis for
Plaintiff's proposed new allegations. Furthermore, due to
the stay, all pretrial deadlines were cancelled and have not
yet been reset, so there is time to permit additional
discovery that may be required as a consequence of adding the
new factual allegations.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
File Amended Petition  is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court
shall detach and docket Plaintiff's First Amended
Complaint, submitted as Exhibit 1 to her Motion for Leave.