Target Brands, Inc. v. Russell Petroluem Corporation et al

Filing 25

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying plaintiff's 22 First MOTION to Amend 1 Complaint. Signed by Hon. Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller on 10/23/2008. (cc, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION T A R G E T BRANDS, INC., a Minnesota c o rp o r a tio n , ) ) ) P l a in tif f , ) ) v. ) ) R U S S E L L PETROLEUM ) C O R P O R A T IO N and WAYNE RUSSELL, ) ) D e f e n d a n ts . ) C A S E NO. 2:07-cv-1113-MEF WO M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER T h is cause is before the Court on Plaintiff's First Motion to Amend the Complaint (D o c . # 22) filed on September 19, 2008. Defendants have opposed this motion. Upon c o n s id e ra tio n of the record as a whole, the Court finds that the motion is due to be DENIED. This action arises out of Defendants use of a bull's eye design at its service station lo c a te d in Montgomery, AL during June and July of 2006. In December of 2007, Plaintiff f ile d this lawsuit and alleged claims for infringement of federally registered marks and false d e sig n a tio n of origin. In January of 2008, Defendants filed an Answer in which they denied th a t they infringed upon Plaintiff's marks. Plaintiff now seeks to add several defendants and a claim of contributory infringement. On February 29, 2008, the parties submitted a Report of Parties' Planning Meeting s u g g e stin g a trial in March of 2009 and proposing a deadline of 30 days after the entry of the C o u rt's scheduling order for any amendment to the pleadings. On March 3, 2008, this Court entered a Uniform Scheduling Order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16. This U n if o rm Scheduling Order set a deadline of May 16, 2008 for the amendment of the p le a d in g s by any party. Plaintiff did not object to this deadline, nor did they file any motion s e e k in g to extend it prior to its passing. On May 23, 2008, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking to compel disclosure of discovery. D e f en d a n ts did not respond to the discovery requests until June 25, 2008. Plaintiff argues th a t this delay hindered Plaintiff from learning of potentially relevant parties until September o f 2008. While the delay in discovery may explain Plaintiff's inability to amend its c o m p la in t by the deadline set forth in the Uniform Scheduling Order, it does not explain why P la in tif f waited twelve weeks until after receipt of discovery to file the instant motion. F e d e ra l Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) provides that a schedule, such as the ones this C o u rt set by entering the Uniform Scheduling Orders in this case, "shall not be modified e x c ep t upon a showing of good cause" and by leave of court. Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b) (e m p h a s is added). This means that in making a motion for leave to amend a pleading after th e deadline set by this Court's scheduling order, Plaintiff must show good cause exists for th e ir untimely attempt to amend his Answer. See Oravec v. Sunny Isles Luxury Ventures, L .C ., 527 F.3d 1218, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008) (finding that Rule 16's good cause standard precludes modification of the scheduling order unless the schedule cannot be met despite the d iligen ce of the party seeking the extension); Sosa v. Airprint Sys., Inc., 133 F.3d 1417, 1419 (1 1 th Cir. 1998) (applying the Rule 16 good cause standard rather than the more liberal s ta n d a rd of Rule 15 to attempt to amend pleading after deadline set by Court's scheduling order is appropriate). The Court is not satisfied that Plaintiff has made a showing of good c a u se for the amendment they seek leave to file. It appears that Plaintiff had all the in f o rm a tio n they needed to amend the Complaint on June 25, 2008, but failed to seek leave to amend the Complaint until almost three months thereafter. Moreover, to the extent that P la in tif f seeks to lay the blame for their failure to timely seek leave to amend the Complaint o n Defendants and their failure to provide certain discovery in this case, the Court notes that P la in tif f could and should have realized that they needed to seek an extension of the May d e a d lin e as it approached. Furthermore, Plaintiff also should have perused and examined d is c o v e r y in a more diligent fashion in this matter. Accordingly, the Court finds that P la in tif f 's First Motion to Amend the Complaint is due to be and hereby is DENIED. DONE this the 23 r d day of October, 2008 /s/ Mark E. Fuller CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

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