Union Pacific Railroad Company v. Progress Rail Services Corporation

Filing 38

ORDER granting 23 Motion to Amend. Amended Complaint due by 10/5/2010. Ordered by Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett. (CLS, )

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- F G 3 Union Pacific Railroad Company v. Progress Rail Services Corporation D o c . 38 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA U N IO N PACIFIC RAILROAD COM PANY, P l a i n t i f f, vs. P R O G R E S S RAIL SERVICES C O R P O R A T IO N , D efe n d a n t. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 8 :1 0 -c v -0 0 0 3 8 -L S C -F G 3 ORDER T h is matter is before the court on plaintiff's (Union Pacific) motion for leave to amend the complaint (#23) and the defendant's (Progress Rail) response in opposition (#27). T h e original complaint, filed January 27, 2010, alleges that Progress Rail negligently f a ile d to inspect and evaluate the axles it supplied for rail cars used in hauling coal on Union P a c if ic trains. Progress Rail allegedly failed to remove corrosion pits from the axles to avoid f a tig u e cracking and failure of the axle, resulting in the derailment of a Union Pacific train n e a r DeWitt, Iowa on July 14, 2007. Union Pacific wishes to amend its complaint to add a c la im involving another axle refurbished by the defendant that ultimately failed, causing the d e ra ilm e n t of a Union Pacific train near Martin Bay, Nebraska on January 14, 2010. Progress Rail contends the proposed amendment is improper under Rules 18 and 42 o f the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under Rule 18(a), "[a] party asserting a claim, c o u n t e rc la im , crossclaim, or third-party claim may join, as independent or alternative claims, a s many claims as it has against an opposing party." Rule 42 permits the court to consolidate c la im s for hearing or trial, or to order separate trials of issues or claims. In summary, P r o g re ss Rail contends the two claims, involving different train derailments, do not involve c o m m o n questions of law or fact, and the proposed amendment would be "futile" because the claims will ultimately be severed for trial pursuant to Rule 42(b). T h e court finds that the issue presented in Union Pacific's motion is governed by Fed. R . Civ. P. 18(a), which grants a plaintiff "complete freedom" to join in a single action all c laim s that they may have against a defendant. See Nationwide Mut. Co. v. Ft. Myers Total R e h a b Center, Inc., 657 F. Supp. 2d 1279, 1286 (M.D. Fla. 2009). The Eighth Circuit re c o g n iz e d this provision in Headley v. Bacon, 828 F.2d 1272, (8th Cir. 1987), noting that Dockets.Justia.com b rin g in g separate actions for claims that could have been permissively joined in a single a c tio n was a tactical choice allowed by Rules 18(a) and 20(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil P r o c e d u r e . Rule 18 does not require that the claims be factually related. See Nationwide M u t. Co., 657 F. Supp. 2d at 1286. In this instance, Union Pacific wishes to join its claims against Progress Rail in a s in g le action and may do so under Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). IT IS ORDERED that Union Pacific's motion (#23) is granted. Union Pacific shall f ile and serve the Amended Complaint no later than October 5, 2010. D A T E D September 17, 2010. B Y THE COURT: s / F.A. Gossett, III U n ite d States Magistrate Judge -2-

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