Diesel Machinery, Inc. v. Manitowoc Crane Group et al
ORDER granting 32 Motion for Leave to amend answer and assert counterclaim. Defendants shall file the Amended Answer to Complaint and Counterclaim with the Clerk without highlighting or redlining within five business days. Signed by U. S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol on 6/2/10. (DJP)
UNITED S T A T E S D I S T R I C T C O U R T D I S T R I C T OF S O U T H D A K O T A S O U T H E R N DIVISION
JUN O~ 2010
D I E S E L M A C H I N E R Y , INC., a South Dakota Corporation, Plaintiff, vs. T H E MANITOWOC CRANE GROUP, a Wisconsin Corporation; T H E M A N I T O W O C C O M P A N Y , INC., a Wisconsin Corporation; M A N I T O W O C C R A N E S , INC., a Wisconsin Corporation; G R O V E U.S., LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company; NATIONAL CRANE CORPORATION, a Delaware Corporation; DEUTSCHE G R O V E GMBH, a G e r m a n Limited Liability C o m p a n y ; P O T A I N SAS, a F r e n c h Limited L i a b i l i t y C o m p a n y ; Defendants.
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CIV. 0 9 - 4 0 8 7
M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND O R D E R
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P e n d i n g before the C o u r t is D e f e n d a n t s ' M o t i o n for Leave to A m e n d A n s w e r and Asser t C o u n t e r c l a i m ( d o c . 32). P l a i n t i f f d o e s n o t o p p o s e t h e a m e n d m e n t o f t h e A n s w e r b u t d o e s r e s i s t a n y amendment asserting a counterclaim.
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A review o f the file indicates Plainti f f Diesel Machinery, Inc. ( " O M I") filed this breach o f contract action two days after receiving 90 days advance notice b y G r o v e US, LLC ( " G r o v e " ) and Deutsche Grove G M B H ( " G M K " ) o f their intent to terminate the Distributor Sales and Service Agreement with DMI (doc. 1). T e r m i n a t i o n was to occur 90 days following D M l ' s receipt o f the termination notice, or on S e p t e m b e r 15, 2009 (doc. 34). Defendants filed their A n s w e r on
September 8, 2009 (doc. 19). T h a t same day Grove and G M K provided notice to DMI withdrawing
the notice o f t e n n i n a t i o n (doc. 34, ex. B). B y letter dated October 7 , 2 0 0 9 , DMI responded that it considered the withdrawal o f the notice o f t e n n i n a t i o n a "legal maneuver" (doc. 34, ex. C).
T h e p a r t i e s m e d i a t e d the c a s e o n N o v e m b e r 1 9 , 2 0 0 9 , w i t h M a g i s t r a t e J u d g e J o l m S i m k o b u t were unable to resolve the dispute. They filed their Rule 52 Report (doc. 28) and a Rule 16 Scheduling Order was entered on January 8, 2010 (doc. 30). T h e scheduling o r d e r provides " t h e parties shall h a v e until February 5, 2010, to m o v e to j o i n additional parties and to amend the pleadings." T h e pending motion was filed on February 5, 2010. Defendants seek to assert a counterclaim against DMI for breach o f contract for its refusal to p e r f o n n under the contract.
Although Defendants do not have an automatic right to amend their answer, Federal Rule o f Civil Procedure 15(a) declares that leave to amend should be freely given " w h e n j u s t i c e so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). " G i v e n the c o u r t s ' liberal viewpoint towards leave to amend, it should n o n n a l l y b e granted absent good reason for a denial." Popp Telcom v. American Sharecom, Inc., 21 0 F.3d 928, 943 (8th Cir. 2000). " A district court appropriately denies the m o v a n t leave to amend i f there are compelling reasons such as undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure deficiencies b y amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the n o n - m o v i n g party, or futility o f the amendment." Sherman v. Winco Fireworks, Inc., 532 F.3d 709, 715 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal q u o t a t i o n s and c i t a t i o n s o m i t t e d ) .
P l a i n t i f f contends Defendants " s a t o n " their counterclaim for four months without asserting it. Delay in moving to amend a pleading is insufficient b y i t s e l f to deny leave to amend. See
Bediako v. Stein Mart, Inc., 354 F.3d 835, 841 (8th Cir. 2004); Dennis v. D i l l a r d Dept. Stores, Inc.,
207 F.3d 523, 525 (8th Cir. 2000). " R a t h e r , the party o p p o s i n g the motion must show it will b e unfairly prejudiced." Dennis, 207 F.3d at 525. P l a i n t i f f d o e s not claim it will be prejudiced i f Defendants are allowed to assert the counterclaim. F u r t h e n n o r e , Defendants filed the motion to amend within the time provided to do so in this C o u r t ' s scheduling order.
Plaintiff asserts that the counterclaim should not be allowed because Defendants "stonewalled" discovery and attempted to coerce Plaintiff into stipulating to "an overbearing protective order." The Court will not deny leave to amend and assert the counterclaim based on these representations by counsel for Plaintiffs. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED:
That Defendants' Motion for Leave to Amend Answer and Assert Counterclaim (doc. 32) is GRANTED. That Defendants shall file the Amended Answer to Complaint and Counterclaim with the Clerk without highlighting or redlining within 5 business days.
this2'! day of June, 2010.
BY THE COURT:
United States District Judge ATTEST:
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