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Valley Forge Insurance Co. v. Hartford Iron & M Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

April 22, 2015

VALLEY FORGE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
HARTFORD IRON & M INC., and ALAN B. GOLDBERG, d/b/a Hartford Iron & M Defendants.

OPINION and ORDER

SUSAN COLLINS, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is a motion to amend filed by Plaintiff Valley Forge Insurance Company, seeking leave to file its Second Amended Complaint to "amend and augment the pleadings to be consistent with events that have occurred since the [f]irst Amended Complaint was filed" in January 2014. (DE # 30.) Defendants Hartford Iron & M Inc., and Alan B. Goldberg (together, "Hartford Iron") oppose the motion, claiming that it is futile, merely protracts this litigation and complicates the defense, and improperly seeks to introduce settlement materials to the pleadings. (DE # 63.) The motion is now ripe for ruling. (DE # 71.)

For the following reasons, Valley Forge's motion to amend will be GRANTED.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Valley Forge filed this suit against Hartford Iron on January 10, 2014, claiming that Hartford Iron breached a Settlement Agreement entered into between the parties in December 2012 that purported to settle the parties' respective rights and duties under certain insurance contracts relating to an environmental dispute. ( See DE # 1, 28.) Valley Forge amended its complaint on January 21, 2014. (DE # 6.)

On March 20, 2014, Hartford Iron filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Evidence 12(b)(6), asserting that Valley Forge's Amended Complaint failed to allege facts that, even if true, violated the terms of the Settlement Agreement. (DE # 18.) The District Judge denied the motion to dismiss in its entirety on January 21, 2015. (DE # 28.)

On February 6, 2015, Valley Forge filed a motion for preliminary injunction, together with the instant motion to amend. (DE # 30, 31.) After an evidentiary hearing on March 9, 2015, the District Judge denied the motion for preliminary injunction, finding that Valley Forge failed to show a "better than negligible" likelihood of success on its claim that Hartford Iron breached the Settlement Agreement by unreasonably withholding its approval of additional defense counsel. (Hartford Iron's Br. in Opp'n Ex. 1 at 240; see DE # 60.)

The instant motion to amend became ripe for ruling on April 16, 2015. (DE # 30, 63, 71.) At a preliminary pretrial conference on April 21, 2015, the Court set a discovery deadline of April 22, 2017, but a deadline has not yet been set for any amendments to the pleadings. (DE # 72.) Accordingly, the motion to amend is timely filed.

II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(d), "the court may, on just terms, permit a party to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented." "To determine whether just terms' exist for motions to supplement under Rule 15(d), the court uses the same factors as those used for motions to amend under 15(a)." Masonite Corp. v. Craftmaster Mfg., Inc., No. 09 cv 2131, 2011 WL 1642518, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 29, 2011) (citing Glatt v. Chicago Park Dist., 87 F.3d 190, 194 (7th Cir. 1996)).

"Accordingly, leave to supplement the pleadings should be granted when there is no apparent reason for denying leave such as 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 the amendment, etc.'" Id. (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)); see also Ind. Funeral Dirs. Ins. Trust v. Trustmark Ins. Corp., 347 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2003). At bottom, "[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).

III. DISCUSSION

Valley Forge emphasizes that its proposed Second Amended Complaint does not add new causes of action, but merely amends and augments its claims with events that have occurred since filing its first Amended Complaint in January 2014. It emphasizes that the Second Amended Complaint is without undue prejudice or surprise to Hartford Iron, as this suit is still at the threshold of litigation, Hartford Iron has not yet answered the first Amended Complaint, and the discovery period has just commenced.

Indeed, Hartford Iron does not suggest that it would be unduly prejudiced or surprised by the amendment, or that the amendment is made in bad faith. Rather, it contends that the amendment is futile, merely protracts this litigation and complicates the defense, and improperly seeks to introduce settlement ...


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