RJ Control Consultants, Inc. v. Multiject, LLC et al
ORDER Granting 25 Motion to Amend/Correct. Signed by District Judge Avern Cohn. (MVer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
RJ CONTROL CONSULTANTS, INC.,
Case No. 16-10728
HON. AVERN COHN
MULTIJECT, LLC, RSW
TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, and JACK ELDER,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (Doc. 25)1
This is a copyright infringement case. Plaintiff RJ Control Consultants, Inc., (RJ
Control) is suing defendants Multiject ,LLC (Multiject), RSW Technologies, LLC (RSW),
and Jack Elder (Elder) claiming copyright infringement (Count 1). Before the court is RJ
Control's Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint to add Paul E. Rogers
(Rogers), the sole shareholder of RJ Control, as a plaintiff. For the reasons that follow,
the motion is GRANTED.
RJ Control is a Michigan corporation that develops and owns copyrights for
industrial control systems used in injection mold machines. In 2013, RJ Control entered
into a contract with Multiject, a company that designs and builds the physical injection
Although originally scheduled for hearing, upon review of the parties’ papers, the
Court deems this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 78(b); E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2).
mold machines. Under the agreement, RJ Control agreed to manufacture control
systems for Multiject's injection mold machines. Upon developing the control system,
RJ Control obtained a copyright for the system labeled "Design 3." In March of 2014,
Multiject requested the copyright information of the "Design 3" control system. Shortly
after RJ Control provided Multiject with the copyright information, Multiject informed RJ
Control that it would be now using a different company, RSW, for the production and
installation of control systems.
On March 1, 2016, RJ Control filed its complaint against Multiject, RSW, and
Jack Elder alleging copyright infringement among other claims. At the time the
complaint was filed, Rogers was not listed as a plaintiff because, according to RJ
Control, it was not aware of any potential issues with standing in regards to the proper
owner of the copyright for the "Design 3" control system. On October 19, 2016, RJ
Control asked for Multiject and Elder's concurrence in amending the complaint to add
Rogers as a plaintiff. Multiject and Elder declined. On January 10, 2017, RJ Control
filed the instant motion. Notably, RSW does not object to amendment.
III. Legal Standard
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a), a party may amend their pleadings after 20 days
"only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave to amend
pleadings "shall be freely given when justice so requires." The decision whether or not
to permit the amendment is committed to the discretion of the trial court. See, e.g.,
Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330-32 (1971); Estes v.
Kentucky Util. Co., 636 F.2d 1131, 1133 (6th Cir. 1980). This discretion, however, is
"limited by Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)'s liberal policy of permitting amendments to ensure the
determination of claims on their merits." See Marks v. Shell Oil Co., 830 F.2d 68, 69
(6th Cir. 1987) (citation omitted). In determining whether to permit amendment, some of
the factors which may be considered by the district court are undue "delay in filing, lack
of notice to the opposing party, bad faith by the moving party, repeated failure to cure
deficiencies by previous amendments, undue prejudice to the opposing party, and
futility of amendment." Hageman v. Signal L.P. Gas, Inc. 486 F.2d 479, 484 (6th Cir.
1973). See also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Delay by itself is not
sufficient to deny a motion to amend. Hageman, 486 F.2d at 484. See also General
Elec. Co. v. Sargent & Lundy, 916 F.2d 1119, 1130 (6th Cir. 1990). Moreover, in
denying a motion to amend, a court must find "at least some significant showing of
prejudice to the opponent." Moore v. City of Paducah, 790 F.2d 557, 562 (6th Cir.
Elder and Multiject argue that the motion should be denied because (1) it is
untimely, (2) has been brought despite repeated notice of failure to cure deficiencies,
and (3) has been brought in bad faith. None of these arguments are persuasive.
As to untimeliness and the alleged failure to cure deficiencies despite repeated
notice, Elder and Multiject argue that RJ Control was repeatedly made aware of the
necessity to add Rogers as a party as early as March 28, 2016, but waited until January
10, 2017 to file its motion to amend. Elder and Multiject say that all of the defendants
gave RJ Control express notice of the defect in their first responsive pleadings on March
28, 2016 by denying all intellectual property claims made by RJ Control. Moreover,
Elder and Multiject further state that during Rogers' deposition, Rogers was specifically
asked about and was directed to the fact that RJ Control did not hold any registered
copyright to the operating system in question, and if anyone did, it was Rogers himself.
RJ Control portrays the facts in a different light and seeks to add Rogers in "an
abundance of caution." RJ Control agrees that counsel for both parties had several
conversations about adding Rogers as a party in October, 2016. Specifically, on
October 19, 2016, RJ Control produced in discovery a written license agreement
between RJ Control and Rogers giving RJ Control the intellectual property rights of the
systems developed by Rogers. On the same day, counsel for RJ Control requested that
Elder and Multiject stipulate to adding Rogers as a party. On October 28, 2016, Elder
and Multiject informed counsel for RJ Control of their refusal to stipulate.
On January 10, 2017, RJ Control filed the instant motion. Shortly after the
motion was filed, the parties agreed to facilitation. This effectively stalled the case. The
parties facilitated on March 9, 2017; it was unsuccessful. During facilitation, the parties
agreed to refrain from additional discovery or motion practice.
Based on the above, it cannot be said that RJ Control was untimely in seeking an
amendment or that the motion was brought after repeated failure to cure deficiencies.
Indeed, as stated above, the parties had discussed the deficiency in an attempt to cure
it. Moreover, due to the parties’ facilitation efforts, it was not necessary to add Rogers
as a party.
Finally, there are no facts to support that the motion was brought in bad faith. To
the contrary, the record shows that the parties were aware of the potential addition of
Rogers some time ago but the issue did not become necessary until after mediation
efforts failed. There is simply nothing to suggest that RJ Control has acted in bad faith
in seeking to add Rogers as a party.
In light of this decision, the Court will entertain a stipulation to an appropriate
extension of the scheduling order.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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