United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY K. FRIZZELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the Opposed Motion for Leave
to File Amended Answers [Doc. #106], of defendants Richard
Green and Service Transport Company. For the reasons
discussed below, the motion is granted.
Bales initiated this case in the District Court in and for
Tulsa County on January 28, 2016. On February 23, 2016, the
case was removed to this court. The court entered a
Scheduling Order on September 7, 2016. See [Doc.
#27]. The Scheduling Order set a deadline of September 16,
2016 for amendments to the pleadings. [Id.].
then, upon request of the parties, the court has amended the
Scheduling Order on three (3) separate occasions: the First
Amended Scheduling Order [Doc. #50], entered on November 17,
2016; the Second Amended Scheduling Order [Doc. #63], entered
on March 28, 2017; and the Third Amended Scheduling Order
[Doc. #77], entered on September 6, 2017. None of the amended
Scheduling Orders included an amended deadline for the
amendment of pleadings, as the original deadline of September
16, 2016, had previously lapsed.
Green and Service Transport now seek leave to amend their
respective Answers to include three additional affirmative
defenses. [Doc. #106].
Tenth Circuit has recently clarified that “[a]fter a
scheduling order deadline, a party seeking leave to amend
must demonstrate (1) good cause for seeking modification
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4) and (2) satisfaction of the Rule
15(a) standard.” Gorsuch, Ltd. v. Wells Fargo
Nat'l Bank Ass'n, 771 F.3d 1230, 1240 (10th Cir.
to Rule 16(b)(4), “[a] schedule may be modified only
for good cause and with the judge's consent.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). “In practice, this standard
requires the movant to show the ‘scheduling deadlines
cannot be met despite [the movant's] diligent
efforts.'” Gorsuch, Ltd., 771 F.3d at 1240
(quoting Pumpco, Inc. v. Schenker Int'l, Inc.,
204 F.R.D. 667, 668 (D. Colo. 2001)). Good cause may be
satisfied through the discovery of new information “or
if the underlying law has changed.” Id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) permits a party to amend its
pleading once as a matter of course within twenty-one (21)
days of service or, if the pleading is one to which a
responsive pleading is required, within 21 days of service of
the responsive pleading or motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1).
“In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading
only with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
leave to amend should be freely given “when justice so
requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2), “denial of a
motion to amend may be appropriate where there has been shown
‘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,
futility of amendment, etc.'” Steadfast Ins.
Co. v. Agric. Ins. Co., No. 05-CV-126-GKF-TLW, 2014 WL
1901175, at *4 (N.D. Okla. May 13, 2014) (quoting Foman
v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). “‘[T]he
grant of leave to amend the pleadings pursuant to Rule 15(a)
is within the discretion of the trial court.'”
Minter v. Prime Equip. Co., 451 F.3d 1196, 1204
(10th Cir. 2006) (alteration in original) (quoting Zenith
Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321,
their motion, Mr. Green and Service Transport seek leave to
amend their respective Answers to include three additional
affirmative defenses relating to: (1) medical expenses
recoverable (12 O.S. § 3009.1); (2) statutory
limitations as to punitive damages (23 O.S. § 9.1); and
(3) statutory limitations as to noneconomic damages (23 O.S.
§ 61.2). [Doc. #106]. In opposition, Ms. Bales argues:
(1) the request is untimely; (2) she will be prejudiced by
the amendment; and (3) Mr. Green and Service Transport fail
to satisfy Rule 16's “good cause” standard.
The court will separately consider each argument.