Hobbs v. Salem Holding Company et al
ORDER granting and Denying in Part 21 Motion to Amend/Motion for Reconsideration and Motion for leave to file the third-party complaint. The Scheduling Orders deadline to add parties or amend pleadings is extended until November 25, 2020. The Clerk is DIRECTED to file the Third-Party Complaint against J.H. Seale and Son Inc. Signed by Magistrate Judge Christopher L. Ray on November 20, 2020. (jrb)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
SALEM HOLDING COMPANY,
and SALEM LEASING
CORPORATION, d/b/a SALEM
Defendants Salem Leasing Corporation d/b/a Salem National Lease
has moved the Court to reconsider its Order, doc. 17, denying its motion
for leave to file a third-party complaint as untimely.
Alternatively, it seeks to amend the Scheduling Order to permit the filing.
Id. at 1. As the motion presents no argument that the prior Order’s
determination that the motion was untimely was incorrect, it is DENIED
in part. 1 Doc. 21. However, the Court finds that defendant has shown
Defendant protests that its submission of the motion for leave to file the third-party
complaint was attributable to “counsel’s mistaken, yet reasonable, belief that the
Motion for Leave had been timely filed based on the prior discussions and submissions
to the Court.” Doc. 21 at 5. It argues that the belief was reasonable, notwithstanding
the Scheduling Order’s unambiguous deadline, because defendant had “represented .
Case 4:20-cv-00151-RSB-CLR Document 23 Filed 11/20/20 Page 2 of 3
sufficient cause to amend the Scheduling Order.
See doc. 21 at 5-6.
Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED in part. Id. The Scheduling
Order’s deadline to add parties or amend pleadings is extended until
November 25, 2020.
Because the Court grants the request to amend the Scheduling
Order, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14 governs the propriety of the
defendant’s impleader. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 14(a). As the previous motion,
and the Court’s Order, pointed out, “[w]hether a third-party defendant
may be impleaded under Rule 14 is a question addressed to the sound
discretion of the trial court.” Doc. 17 at 4 (quoting DeRubeis v. Witten
Techs., Inc., 244 F.R.D. 676, 682 (N.D. Ga. 2007)); doc. 14 at 3. The Court
is satisfied that the motion to implead the third-party defendant was not
unreasonably delayed, that the impleader will not delay or unduly
. . that defendants would file for leave to amend within 14 days from the Notice.” Id.
The notice in question was submitted after a status conference and states, in relevant
part, that defendants “anticipate[ ] filing a motion for leave to file a third-party
complaint within 14 days from the date of this letter.” Doc. 10 at 1 (filed on August
27, 2020). The motion for leave to file the third-party complaint was filed on the
fourteenth day. See doc. 14 (filed on September 10, 2020). The Court notes, first, that
the fourteen-day period contemplated by the notice was substantially within the
Scheduling Order’s deadline. It is questionable, then, whether the notice could have
been reasonably construed as informing the Court of defendant’s intent to file outside
that deadline. Regardless, parties cannot unilaterally—for example, by “informing”
the Court of their intentions—alter deadlines. Thus, there was—and, indeed, there
remains—no question that the motion was untimely.
Case 4:20-cv-00151-RSB-CLR Document 23 Filed 11/20/20 Page 3 of 3
complicate the action, and that there is no apparent prejudice to either the
new or non-moving party. See DeRubeis, 244 F.R.D. at 682.
Accordingly, the motion for leave to file the third-party complaint,
doc. 21 at 6, is GRANTED. The Clerk is DIRECTED to file the ThirdParty Complaint against J.H. Seale and Son Inc., doc. 14-1. Defendant /
third-party plaintiff Salem Leasing Corporation shall be responsible for
effecting service upon third-party defendant J.H. Seale and Son, Inc.
Within thirty days of third-party defendant J.H. Seale and Son’s
appearance, the parties are DIRECTED to confer and submit an amended
Rule 26(f) Report, including all of the information required by Judge
Baker’s Rule 26 Instruction Order, doc. 2.
SO ORDERED, this 20th day of November, 2020.
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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