Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

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

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

January 3, 2017

VALLEY FORGE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
HARTFORD IRON & METAL, INC., et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Susan Collins, United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is a motion to amend (DE 525) filed by Plaintiff Valley Forge Insurance Company (“Valley Forge”), seeking leave to file a third amended complaint “to add an additional party and to streamline the pleading” in this almost three-year-old case. (DE 525 at 1). Defendants Hartford Iron & Metal, Inc. (“Hartford Iron”), and Alan B. Goldberg doing business as Hartford Iron & M (“Goldberg”) oppose the motion on the grounds of undue delay, undue prejudice, and futility. (DE 569). The motion is now ripe for ruling. (DE 575; DE 576-1; DE 577). For the following reasons, Valley Forge's motion to amend will be DENIED.

         A. Factual and Procedural Background

         Valley Forge filed this suit against Hartford Iron and Goldberg (together, “Defendants”) on January 10, 2014, claiming that Defendants had breached a settlement agreement entered into by the parties in December 2012 that purported to settle the parties' respective rights and duties under certain insurance contracts relating to an environmental dispute. (DE 1). The factual background of this case is very complicated and known to the parties, and thus, the Court will not set forth a detailed factual summary here.

         The docket entries now exceed 600 in this case, and this litigation has been contentious since the outset. The District Judge has ruled on various dispositive motions, including motions to dismiss, a motion for partial summary judgment, and a motion seeking injunctive relief, and 17 third-party defendants have been added and since terminated. (See, e.g., DE 58; DE 298; DE 305; DE 375; DE 415; DE 430; DE 439; DE 449; DE 469; DE 504; DE 564; DE 581). An amended motion for partial summary judgment is currently pending before the District Judge. (AR 514).

         The Court conducted an initial preliminary pretrial conference on April 21, 2015, and set a discovery deadline of April 21, 2017. (DE 72). The Court held a further preliminary pretrial conference on June 1, 2016, affirming the discovery deadline of April 21, 2107, and setting the following deadlines: July 1, 2016, for Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures; January 3, 2017, for Rule 26(a)(2) disclosures by Valley Forge; January 31, 2017, for Rule 26(a)(2) disclosures by Defendants; February 28, 2017, for rebuttal experts; September 30, 2016, for Valley Forge to seek leave to amend the pleadings or join additional parties; and October 31, 2016, for Defendants to seek leave to amend the pleadings or join additional parties. (DE 463). A scheduling conference before the District Judge is set for January 18, 2017, for the purpose of determining dispositive motion deadlines and a trial schedule.

         Specifically as to amendments to the pleadings, Valley Forge first amended its complaint on January 21, 2014, shortly after filing this suit. (DE 6). Valley Forge filed a second amended complaint with leave of Court on April 22, 2015. (DE 73; DE 74). Valley Forge then filed a third motion to amend (DE 281) on November 24, 2015; however, it later withdrew the motion (DE 344; DE 349) following the Court's ruling on its motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of control and remediation (DE 298).

         Valley Forge filed the instant motion to amend (DE 525) on September 30, 2016, and it became ripe for ruling on November 24, 2016 (DE 569; DE 575; DE 576-1; DE 577).

         B. Applicable Legal Standard

         “[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 (citation omitted); see Foman, 371 U.S. at 182; Ind. Funeral Dirs. Ins. Tr. v. Trustmark Ins. Corp., 347 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[C]ourts may deny an amendment for undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, prejudice, or futility.” (citation omitted)).

         C. Discussion

         Valley Forge's stated purpose for seeking to file a third amended complaint is two-fold: “to add an additional party and to streamline the pleading.” (DE 525). As to the first stated purpose, Valley Forge seeks to name Goldberg Properties, Inc. (“GPI”), the owner of the Hartford Iron environmental site at issue and Hartford Iron's current landlord, as an additional defendant.

         Valley Forge contends that it has learned through discovery that GPI is the owner of the environmental site and Hartford Iron's current landlord, and that GPI should bear responsibility for some or all of the environmental contamination issues at the site. Valley Forge emphasizes that its motion to amend is timely, as it was filed on September 30, 2016, its last day to seek leave to amend its pleadings. It further asserts that the proposed amended complaint “cannot reasonably be said to unfairly surprise or prejudice Defendants.” (DE 525 at 2).

         Valley Forge contends that it first learned of GPI through discovery, emphasizing that Defendants failed to disclose GPI in their Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures, which Valley Forge finds inexplicable considering that Hartford Iron and GPI have the same executive officers-Alan Goldberg as president and Scott Goldberg as vice president.[1] (DE 575 at 5). In response, Hartford Iron is silent as to its initial disclosures, but it emphasizes that Valley Forge should have been aware of GPI's ownership interests at least as early as March 2015 when August Mack Environmental, Inc., identified GPI as a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.