United States District Court, D. Kansas
PIPELINE PRODUCTIONS, INC., and BACKWOOD ENTERPRISES, LLC, Plaintiffs,
THE MADISON COMPANIES, LLC, and HORSEPOWER ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, Defendants.
Gary Sebelius U.S. Magistrate Judge
matter comes before the court upon plaintiffs' (1) Motion
for Leave to File Amended Complaint, and (2) Motion for
Extension of Time to Respond to Defendants' Counterclaims
and Third-Party Complaint (ECF No. 52). For the following
reasons, these motions are granted.
case was filed by plaintiffs on May 21, 2015. On July 27,
2015, defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim or to transfer. On December 13, 2016, the court
set a Scheduling Conference for February 15, 2017. On
February 3, 2017, plaintiffs' counsel sought to withdraw.
On February 7, 2017, the court temporarily suspended the
deadlines for the exchange of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)
disclosures and the submission of a planning report until a
decision was reached on the motion to withdraw. On February
22, 2017, Judge Vratil denied defendants' motion to
dismiss or to transfer. On March 2, 2107, the court granted
plaintiffs' counsel's motion to withdraw and allowed
plaintiffs until April 3, 2017 to find new counsel. On April
4, 2017, new counsel entered an appearance for plaintiffs.
Defendants sought reconsideration of Judge Vratil's order
on April 5, 2017. On April 27, 2017, Judge Vratil denied
defendants' motion for reconsideration. On April 27,
2017, the court allowed plaintiffs until May 8, 2017 to
respond to defendants' counterclaims and third-party
complaint and/or to file a motion for leave to amend their
complaint. Plaintiffs filed the instant motions on May 8,
their motion to amend, plaintiffs seek to update the facts of
the case, including additional factual allegations and
damages allegations. Plaintiffs also seek to add parties and
additional claims for fraud and tortious interference.
Plaintiffs also seek additional time to respond to
defendants' counterclaims and third-party complaint.
response, defendants contend that plaintiffs' motion to
amend should be denied because of undue delay. Defendants
suggest that plaintiffs have been aware of all of the matters
set forth in the proposed amended complaint and they should
not have waited almost two years to add these allegations.
reply, plaintiffs argue that defendants have not shown that
it would be prejudiced by their requests for amendment.
Plaintiffs note that no discovery has occurred, no scheduling
conference has taken place, and no deadline to amend the
pleadings has been set.
leave of the court is required under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), the
court may refuse leave “only [upon] a showing of undue
delay, undue prejudice to the opposing party, bad faith or
dilatory motive, failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, or futility of
amendment.” “The court should freely give leave
when justice so requires.” Defendants rely only on
undue delay as a basis to deny the motion to amend.
considering whether a party has unduly delayed, the Tenth
Circuit has directed that the court should focus primarily on
the reasons for the delay. For example, if the movant was or
should have been aware for some time of the facts on which
the amendment is based, the court may properly deny leave to
amend. Moreover, the longer the delay, the more
likely the court will deny the motion. Undue delay alone
is a sufficient reason to deny leave to amend.
considering all of the circumstances of this case, the court
does not find that plaintiffs' delay has been undue. The
court is concerned by the length of the delay. However, the
procedural history of this case shows that most of the delay
that occurred was the result of the motion to dismiss or to
transfer filed by defendants. Additional delay was also
caused by plaintiffs when their counsel withdrew and it took
two months for new counsel to enter an appearance. These
matters led the court to delay scheduling certain matters in
the case. The court is not persuaded that plaintiffs could
have acted much quicker in light of these developments. In
addition, the court certainly fails to find any prejudice to
defendants in allowing this amendment. The court shall grant
plaintiffs' motion to amend. Plaintiffs shall file their
amended complaint within ten days of the date of this order.
Defendants shall have twenty-one (21) days after the filing
of the amended complaint to file its answer. Plaintiffs shall
have twenty-one (21) days to respond to defendants'
answer if it contains counterclaims.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiffs' Motion for Leave
to File Amended Complaint (ECF No. 52) is granted. Plaintiffs
shall file their amended complaint (ECF ...