United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on a Motion to File Amended
Complaint [DE 28], filed by Plaintiff Deborah
Smith on December 19, 2017. Defendant Iron
Workers District Council of Southern Ohio & Vicinity
Pension Trust (the “Fund”) filed a response on
December 21, 2017. Smith filed a reply on December 28, 2017.
For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted in part
and denied in part.
originally brought her claims in a Third Party Complaint
filed on August 3, 2017, in Whitley County, Indiana, Circuit
Court. Smith alleges that she was injured by and is entitled
to relief because of the Fund's actions taken in regard
to Domestic Relations Orders, which were issued by the state
court in dissolution of marriage proceedings and which
awarded to Smith a percentage of the monthly pension payments
that her ex-husband receives from the Fund.
Fund removed the Third Party Complaint to this Court on
August 25, 2017. On August 31, 2017, the Fund filed a Motion
for Judgment on the Administrative Record, a Motion to
Transfer Venue, and its Answer to Smith's Complaint. The
Motion to Transfer Venue became fully briefed. Smith did not
respond to the Motion for Judgment on the Administrative
Record before her deadline to do so expired.
Fund requested a status conference regarding the unopposed
Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record, indicating
that it might consider withdrawing its Motion to Transfer
Venue if the Court deemed the Motion for Judgment on the
Administrative Record ripe for ruling. On November 17, 2017,
the Court denied the request for a status conference and
indicated that the response deadline for the Motion for
Judgment on the Administrative Record had passed. The Fund
filed a Motion to Withdraw the Motion to Transfer Venue on
the same day. The Court granted that motion. Approximately
one month later, Smith filed the instant Motion to File
brings two claims in the original complaint. Count I is
titled “Equitable Relief” and cites no specific
legal authority under which it is brought, and Count II
brings a tort claim of conversion pursuant to Indiana Code
34-24-3-1. Smith seeks to bring four claims in the proposed
amended complaint. Count I alleges a claim for benefits under
29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B), Count II requests equitable
relief under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3), Count III-the only
claim brought against proposed new Defendant Board of
Trustees of the Iron Workers District Council of Southern
Ohio & Vicinity Pension Trust-alleges a breach of
fiduciary duty under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(2), and Count
IV brings the same claim of conversion pursuant to Indiana
Code 34-24-3-1 brought in Count II of the original complaint.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that, in the
procedural posture of the instant case, a party “may
amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written
consent or the court's leave” and that “[t]he
court should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The United States
Supreme Court has explained that “freely give”
means that a court should not deny leave to file an amended
complaint in the absence of any apparent or declared reasons,
“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 amendment, etc.” Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); see also Bausch v. Stryker
Corp., 630 F.3d 546, 562 (7th Cir. 2010). The decision
whether to grant or deny a motion to amend lies within the
sound discretion of the district court. See Campbell v.
Ingersoll Milling Mach. Co., 893 F.2d 925, 927 (7th Cir.
states that she “seeks leave to file the Amended
Complaint to make a claim for breach of fiduciary duty . . .
.” (Pl.'s Br. 3, ECF No. 29). She further clarifies
that she believes that she “should be granted leave to
make all claims available to her under  U.S.C. §
1132, and not only those available under Indiana state law or
 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B).” Id. In
response to Smith's motion, the Fund argues that Smith
should not be granted leave to amend because the proposed
amended complaint is futile, redundant, and brought in bad
faith and would cause undue prejudice and delay. The Court
addresses these arguments below.
Futility and Redundancy
standard for futility is the same standard of legal
sufficiency that applies under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Townsel v. DISH Network LLC,
668 F.3d 967, 969 (7th Cir. 2012); Gen. Elec. Capital
Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074, 1085
(7th Cir. 1997). To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim, the complaint must first comply
with Rule 8(a) by providing “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that the
defendant is given “fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration
in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
47 (1957)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 677-78 (2009). Second, the “complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570); see also Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526
F.3d 1074, 1082 (7th Cir. 2008).
Count I - Claim for Benefits & Count II - Equitable
proposed amended complaint, Count I and Count II are brought
on allegations that were part of Count I in the original
complaint. The proposed Count I alleges a claim for benefits
under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B), and the proposed ...