United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on plaintiff Jeffrey White's
motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (#51),
motion to compel discovery (#46), and motion to extend
scheduling order deadlines (#52).
was injured when his Tahsin 2010 Model WMLS-500CS two-man
ladderstand (“subject treestand”) allegedly
failed and collapsed while he was climbing the
treestand's ladder. Plaintiff then filed this product
served his first request for interrogatories and first
request for production of documents. Defendants responded to
both. Plaintiff also deposed defendants' corporate
representative, pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint
plaintiff first filed this lawsuit, he named as defendants
Ameristep, Inc., and Primal Vantage Co., Inc. Distributor
(#1). Then, “based on representations of defense
counsel that Primal Vantage was not the proper party, ”
plaintiff voluntarily dismissed Primal Vantage and replaced
it with Tahsin Industrial Corp. (#24). After deposing
Tahsin's corporate representative, plaintiff now believes
that Primal Vantage should, in fact, be a defendant in this
lawsuit. Plaintiff claims that “Primal [Vantage]
continues to be the primary actor in the design, marketing,
management[, ] and placement of the subject ladder deer stand
in the stream of commerce.” (#51 at 2.)
oppose the motion. They argue that “Primal Vantage owed
no duty to Plaintiff and . . . did not manufacture, design[,
] or distribute the subject [treestand].” (#57 at 1.)
Defendants claim that plaintiff wants to add Primal Vantage
as a party so he can discover information about
treestands-unrelated to the subject treestand-that Primal
Vantage distributes. Defendants urge the Court to deny the
motion because (1) it is untimely and dilatory, (2) any claim
against Primal Vantage would be futile, (3) adding Primal
Vantage as a party would significantly prejudice the other
defendants, and (4) the deadline to join or amend parties has
did not file a reply brief, and the time for doing so has
defendants have filed an answer (#12), plaintiff “may
amend [his] 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); see also Bell v. Allstate Life
Ins. Co., 160 F.3d 452, 454 (8th Cir. 1998). But parties
do not have an absolute right to amend their pleadings, even
under this liberal standard. Sherman v. Winco Fireworks,
Inc., 532 F.3d 709, 715 (8th Cir. 2008). Whether to
grant a motion for leave to amend is within the discretion of
the district court. Popoalii v. Correctional Med.
Servs., 512 F.3d 488, 497 (8th Cir. 2008).
district court may deny a motion to amend if (1) it was filed
with undue delay, (2) the moving party filed the motion with
bad faith or dilatory motive, (3) the opposing party would be
unfairly prejudiced by the amendment, or (4) the amendment
would be futile. Bell, 160 F.3d at 454.
Court finds that any claims against Primal Vantage, as
currently pleaded in plaintiff's proposed second amended
complaint, would be futile because they are legally
insufficient on their face. Williams v. Little Rock Mun.
Water Works, 21 F.3d 218, 225 (8th Cir.
1994). Specifically, plaintiff does not allege that Primal
Vantage designed or manufactured the subject treestand for
Tahsin. Plaintiff simply claims that Primal Vantage somehow
worked with Tahsin in designing the subject treestand. This
is a “‘naked assertion' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement'” and does not
satisfy the pleading requirements. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (1995)).
There is no allegation that explains how Primal Vantage
played any role in placing the subject treestand in the
stream of commerce.
plaintiff does not allege an alter ego or joint venture
theory. Thus, nothing in plaintiff's allegations ties
Primal Vantage to Tahsin. In sum, plaintiff fails to connect
Primal Vantage to both the product and the defendant Tahsin.
The amendment would be futile, and plaintiff's request is
Motion to ...