Rockhill Insurance Company v. Southeastern Cheese Corporation et al
Order granting 57 MOTION to Amend Answer filed by J. Henry Sims, Matthew Sims, William M. Belcher, Alex Jones, Jr. Defendants shall file their amended answer on or before 4/29/2019. Signed by Chief Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 04/22/2019. (nah)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ROCKHILL INSURANCE COMPANY,
CORPORATION, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:18-cv-0268-KD-B
This action is before the Court on the Motion for Leave to File Amended Answer filed by
Alex Jones, William Belcher, J. Henry Sims and Matthew Sims (doc. 57) and the response filed
by Plaintiff Rockhill Insurance Company (doc. 60). Upon consideration, and for the reasons set
forth herein, the Motion is GRANTED. Defendants shall file their amended answer on or before
April 29, 2019.
As grounds for amendment, Defendants state that after their answers were filed, they
received additional discovery that contains facts and information that in part, further informs
their denials and defenses. They seek leave to amend to add further specificity to the denials in
their answer and to attach documentary evidence in support of their denials and defenses.
Plaintiff responds that the amended answers do not change the material facts relevant to
its motion for judgment on the pleadings. Therefore, Plaintiff has no objection so long as
granting the motion does not reopen the pleadings.
Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs amendments to pleadings. At
this stage in the litigation, Rule 15(a)(2) applies and instructs the district court that it “should
freely give leave” to amend a pleading “when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2).
Therefore, “unless a substantial reason exists to deny leave to amend, the discretion of the
district court is not broad enough to permit denial[.]” City of Miami v. Bank of America Corp.,
800 F.3d 1262, 1286 (11th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted); Laurie v. Ala. Ct. of Crim. App., 256
F.3d 1266, 1274 (11th Cir. 2001) (explaining that overall “there must be a substantial reason to
deny a motion to amend.”). The district court “may consider several factors when deciding
whether to grant a motion to amend, including ‘undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive [on the
part of the movant], repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed,
undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of
amendment.” Perez v. Wells Fargo N.A., 774 F.3d 1329, 1340–1341 (11th Cir. 2014) (citing
Equity Lifestyle Props., Inc. v. Fla. Mowing & Landscape Serv., Inc., 556 F.3d 1232, 1241 (11th
Cir.2009) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S. Ct. 227, 230 (1962)); Donley v.
City of Morrow, Georgia, 601 Fed. Appx. 805, 810 (11th Cir. 2015) (same).
Upon consideration of the factors, the Court finds that the interest of justice requires
granting the Motion. There is no undue delay because the motion was filed within the time limit
set by the Rule 16(b) Scheduling Order and soon after the receipt of discovery, which prompted
the motion. Review of the docket indicates that Defendants have not engaged in bad faith or
dilatory motive, nor have they repeatedly failed to cure deficiencies in prior pleadings. The
deadline for discovery is July 8, 2019. Therefore, Plaintiff has sufficient time to conduct
discovery with regard to the amended answers and would not be unduly prejudiced by the
amended answers. Plaintiff has not raised any argument with respect to futility of allowing the
DONE and ORDERED this 22nd day of April 2019.
s / Kristi K DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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