United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
HAYS GROUP OF KANSAS CITY, LLC d/b/a CLAIMS MANAGEMENT OF MISSOURI d/b/a MISSOURI MERCHANTS AND MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
Y'S GENERAL STORES, INC., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Amend
Pleadings. (Doc. 10.) Also pending is Defendants' Joint
Request for Oral Argument in Opposition to Plaintiff's
Motion to Amend its Pleadings. (Doc. 13).
February 25, 2019, Plaintiff the Hays Group of Kansas City,
LLC (“Hays”) d/b/a Claims Management of Missouri
d/b/a Missouri Merchants and Manufacturers Association
(“MMMA”) filed its Petition for Damages in the
Circuit Court of Dunklin County, Missouri, against Defendants
Casey's General Stores, Inc. (“Casey's”),
Casey's Services Company (“CSC”), and
Casey's Marketing Company (“CMC”). The
Petition stated that MMMA is a “limited liability
company doing business in Missouri providing claims
management services and managing a workers' compensation
group trust fund known as Missouri Merchants and
Manufacturers Association WC Fund (“Fund”). (Doc.
6 at &1.) Hays, on behalf of the Fund, sought to recover
amounts paid to Robert Lewis under Missouri Worker's
Compensation law due to injuries Mr. Lewis sustained on
April 2, 2019, Defendants Casey's, CSC, and CMC filed
their Notice of Removal to this Court, in which they alleged
jurisdiction on the basis of diversity pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). (Doc. 1.) In its Notice of Removal,
Defendants state that Plaintiff Hays is a “Minnesota
limited liability company, licensed to do business in
Missouri and maintains its principal place of business”
in Minnesota. (Doc. 1 at p. 2.) Defendant states that
Casey's, CMC, and CSC are all Iowa corporations with
principal places of business in Iowa. Id.
Contemporaneous with the Notice of Removal, Defendants
Casey's and CSC filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss, in which
they argue that neither party owned, operated or controlled
the property or convenience store where the incident
occurred. (Doc. 3.)
Order dated April 3, 2019, the Court sua sponte,
found that Plaintiff Hays' citizenship had not been
addressed appropriately, as there were no allegations
concerning the members of the Plaintiff LLC. (Doc. 8.) The
Court therefore directed Defendants to file an Amended Notice
of Removal that alleged facts showing the existence of the
requisite diversity of citizenship of the parties.
April 17, 2019, Defendants filed a Joint Amended Notice of
Removal, in which they state that counsel for Defendants
sought to obtain a stipulation from Plaintiff's counsel
regarding the citizenship of the Members of Plaintiff's
LLC, but were unable to obtain such. (Doc. 9.) Defendants
further state that they believe that the Members of the
Plaintiff LLC are citizens of Missouri. Defendants request
leave to conduct discovery to ascertain whether any of the
Members are citizens of Iowa, which would defeat complete
April 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend its
Pleadings Pursuant to Rule 15(a) and 15(c). (Doc. 10.)
Plaintiff seeks to amend its Complaint to correct the name of
the legal entity that brings this action to “Missouri
Merchants and Manufacturers Association Workers'
Compensation Trust Fund” (“Fund”).
Plaintiff states that counsel for Plaintiff discovered that
the Fund is a separate entity from Hays and Missouri
Merchants and Manufacturers Association
(“Association”). The proposed First Amended
Complaint alleges that the Fund is a “duly recognized
self-insurer by the Missouri Division of Workers'
Compensation providing workers' compensation benefits to
employers who are members of the fund, ” and is
domiciled in Missouri. (Doc. 10-1 at ¶ 1.)
filed a Joint Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend.
(Doc. 11.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff should not be
allowed to substitute a new Plaintiff after the original
statute of limitations has run. Defendants state that,
because the original date of injury was March 4, 2014, the
statute of limitations ran on March 4, 2019.
17, 2019, Defendants filed a Request for Oral Argument in
Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. (Doc. 13.)
Because the Court finds that this issue can be resolved on
the pleadings as discussed below, the Request for Oral
Argument will be denied.
previously noted, Plaintiff requests leave to amend the
Complaint to change the name of the legal entity that brings
this action. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) allows a
party to amend its pleading once as a matter of course within
21 days after service of a response pleading or motion under
Rule 12(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)B). Because Plaintiff filed
its Motion to Amend within 21 days of the filing of
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b), Plaintiff
may amend its complaint as a matter of course.
Court next examines whether the amendment relates back to the
original pleading. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(c)(1)(B) provides that “[a]n amendment to a pleading
relates back to the date of the original pleading when ...
the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of
the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out-or attempted
to be set out-in the original pleading.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(c)(1)(B). “To arise out of the same conduct,
transaction, or occurrence, the claims must be tied to a
common core of operative facts.” Taylor v. United
States, 792 F.3d 865, 869 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). The rule in Missouri is the same. See Mo.
Sup. Ct. R. 55:33(c); Plubell v. Merck & Co.,
434 F.3d 1070, 1072 (8th Cir. 2006) (“Missouri Rule
55.33(c) ‘is derived from Rule 15(c) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.'”) (quoting Koerper
& Co. v. Unitel Int'l, Inc., 739 S.W.2d 705, 706
Eighth Circuit has acknowledged that Rule 15(c) does not
expressly address the question of whether the addition of a
plaintiff through an amended pleading will relate back to the
date of the original pleading. Plubell., 434 F.3d at
1072. The Court, however, cited the following ...