United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
ROGER B. COSBEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Before the Court is a motion filed by Defendant John Ryan on September 3, 2014, seeking leave to file an amended answer that adds: (1) two additional affirmative defenses against Plaintiff USI Insurance Services, LLC (“USI”), and clarifies an existing affirmative defense; (2) two counterclaims against USI; and (3) a third party complaint against Ryan’s former employer, Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, LLC (“Wells Fargo”). (Docket # 77.) USI asserts that Ryan’s request to assert the counterclaims “is a futile endeavor, ” but it does not object to the remainder of the motion. (Docket # 80.) Ryan has not filed a reply to his motion to amend, and the time to do so has now passed.
For the following reasons, Ryan’s motion to amend will be GRANTED as to the affirmative defenses, but will otherwise be DENIED.
A. Factual and Procedural Background
On May 16, 2014, USI, who is engaged in the insurance business, filed a complaint against Ryan, an insurance broker, and his current employer, WDCK, LLC, advancing claims of breach of contract, trade secret violations, and tortious interference with business relationships.(Docket # 1.) Specifically, USI alleges that Ryan breached the terms of his Employment Agreement, which purportedly had been assigned to USI when it purchased the assets of Wells Fargo, and that Ryan and WDCK misappropriated USI’s trade secrets and unlawfully solicited its clients. (Docket # 1.)
On June 9, 2014, Ryan filed an answer to USI’s complaint. (Docket # 28.) On June 18, 2014, USI amended its complaint (Docket # 36), and Ryan then filed an answer to the amended complaint on June 27, 2014 (Docket # 41).
On July 7, 2014, this Court entered an Order disqualifying Ryan’s legal counsel at the time, Barrett & McNagny, LLP. (Docket # 52.) Four days later, Ryan’s current counsel, Theisen & Associates, appeared on Ryan’s behalf. (Docket # 53, 54.) On September 3, 2014, Ryan filed the instant motion to amend his answer. (Docket # 77.)
B. Standard of Review
“[T]he decision to grant or deny a motion to file an amended pleading is a matter purely within the sound discretion of the district court.” Soltys v. Costello, 520 F.3d 737, 743 (7th Cir. 2008) (alteration in original) (citation omitted). “The court ‘should freely give leave when justice so requires.’” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2)); see Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S 178, 182 (1962). “Although the rule reflects a liberal attitude towards the amendment of pleadings, courts in their sound discretion may deny a proposed amendment if the moving party has unduly delayed in filing the motion, if the opposing party would suffer undue prejudice, or if the pleading is futile.” Soltys, 520 F.3d at 743; see Foman, 371 U.S. at 182.
1. Leave to Amend Will Be Granted as to the Affirmative Defenses Against USI
First, Ryan seeks leave to file his amended answer to add two additional affirmative defenses and elaborate on an existing affirmative defense. The additional affirmative defenses are: (1) that USI and Wells Fargo first materially breached the Employment Agreement, and (2) that USI made certain purported trade secrets public by filing its amended complaint. (John E. Ryan’s Mot. for Leave to File Am. Answer and Countercl. Against USI and Third Party Compl. Against Wells Fargo (“Ryan’s Mot. for Leave”) ¶ 9.) Because USI does not oppose this portion of Ryan’s motion, and because leave to amend should be “freely given when justice so requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), the motion to amend will be GRANTED with respect to the affirmative defenses.
2. Leave to Amend Will Be Denied as the Counterclaims Against USI
Ryan also seeks to amend his answer to assert two counterclaims against USI: (1) a state law claim for attorney’s fees for frivolous litigation in violation of Indiana Code § 34-52-1-1, and (2) a state law claim for abuse of process. USI opposes this portion of Ryan’s motion to amend, ...