United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. Crabtree United States District Judge
action, plaintiff Kincaid Coach Lines, Inc.
(“Kincaid”) asserts claims against defendants
TransArctic of North Carolina, Inc., Spheros North America,
Inc. (“Spheros”), and Spal USA, Inc. (“Spal
USA”). Plaintiff's claims arise from an alleged
fire originating in an air conditioning system mounted to the
rooftop of a bus that plaintiff operated. Plaintiff asserts
that Spal USA “manufactured, sold or otherwise
distributed the fans that were integrated as product
components into the air conditioning system installed on the
Bus.” Doc. 19 at 3. And plaintiff asserts claims for
strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty against
February 23, 2018, Spal USA filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 51), arguing that plaintiff cannot establish
that it sold or manufactured the allegedly defective fan.
Plaintiff does not oppose this motion. Doc. 56 at 2.
Accordingly, the court grants as uncontested Spal USA's
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 51) against all claims
asserted against Spal USA.
Order also rules on plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
Complaint (Doc. 55). For the reasons discussed in Part II,
the court grants plaintiff's motion, but-on the current
record-declines to conclude that the proposed Amended
Complaint “relates back.”
October 13, 2017, three months after plaintiff commenced this
action, plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint joining
Spal USA as a defendant. It asserts strict liability,
negligence, and breach of warranty claims against Spal USA
for property damage and business income losses arising from
the alleged October 18, 2015 fire on plaintiff's bus.
Plaintiff asserts that it joined Spal USA as a party based
upon its good-faith belief that Spal USA had manufactured,
sold, or distributed the fans (also called
“blowers”) integrated into the Spheros
rooftop-mounted air conditioning system installed on
plaintiff's bus. Doc. 56-1 (Aff. of Lauren Nuffort) at 2
November 6, 2017, Spal USA filed its Answer to
plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. See Doc.
24. In this Answer, Spal USA stated “that it possibly
sold the fans that were installed on the bus described in
plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint.” Id.
at 4 ¶ 20.
December 27, 2017, plaintiff served written interrogatories
on Spal USA. Interrogatory No. 2 asked Spal USA to:
“Identify with specificity all components, parts,
products, systems, equipment, and/or materials [Spal USA, its
predecessors, affiliated companies, and parent companies]
manufactured, designed, assembled, sold, or provided to
others that were incorporated in or became part of the
Subject Air Conditioning Unit.” Doc. 56-1 (Ex. D to
Nuffort Aff.) at 12. On January 26, 2018, Spal USA responded
that “although it does sell blowers of the same model
as contained in the Subject Air Conditioning Unit, it did not
design, manufacture, sell or provide the blowers that were
installed in the Subject Air Conditioning Unit.” Doc.
56-1 (Ex. E to Nuffort Aff.) at 21. The Scheduling Order set
January 30, 2018, as the deadline for motions to amend.
See Doc. 33 at 2.
early February 2018, plaintiff requested that Spal USA
supplement its answers to interrogatory numbers 2, 4, 5, 6,
7, and 11. Counsel for both parties exchanged correspondence
about plaintiff's request for supplementation and counsel
discussed the discovery dispute by telephone. Doc. 56-1 (Exs.
F & G to Nuffort Aff.) at 32-37. On February 19, 2018,
Spal USA filed a First Amended Answer to plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint. There, Spal USA again asserted
“that it possibly sold the fans that were installed on
the bus described in Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint.” Doc. 49 at 4 ¶ 20.
days later, on February 22, 2018, Spal USA served
supplemental answers and responses to plaintiff's
interrogatories and request for production of documents. In
its supplemental answers, Spal USA identified, for the first
time, that its parent company, Spal Automotive, Srl
(“Spal Auto”) had manufactured and sold the
blowers in the relevant air conditioning unit. Doc. 56-1 (Ex.
H to Nuffort Aff.) at 39. The next day, on February 23, 2018,
Spal USA filed its Motion for Summary Judgment.
USA submitted an attestation by Spal USA's Quality
Manager Dan McNeal with its Motion for Summary Judgment. Mr.
McNeal attests that he contacted Spal Auto and was advised
that Spal Auto sold the specific blowers with the orange
wires connected to the 3-speed resistor pack that were part
of the air conditioning unit. Doc. 52-1 (McNeal Aff.) at 3.
To its credit, plaintiff concedes that it has no basis to
oppose Spal USA's assertion that it did not manufacture,
sell, or install the blowers that were part of the air
conditioning unit based on the documents and information Spal
USA recently produced in this case.
asserts that, from the outset, it intended to commence these
strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty claims
against the manufacturer-seller of the blowers. Plaintiff
also asserts that it mistakenly believed Spal USA was the
proper entity that manufactured and sold the blowers.
Finally, plaintiff asserts that when it received Spal
USA's supplemental discovery responses on February 22,
2018 and learned of Spal USA's assertion about Spal Auto,
plaintiff promptly reviewed supplemental documents, conferred
with counsel, and discerned the meaning of this new
information so then it promptly could file a Motion for Leave
to Amend Complaint. Doc. 56-1 (Nuffort Aff.) at 3.
plaintiff filed its Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint
after January 30, 2018, the court must analyze the motion
under the two-step test used in this district to decide
motions to amend pleadings after the scheduling order
deadline. E.g., Capital Sols., LLC v. Konica Minolta Bus.