United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS United States District Judge.
before the court is Plaintiff Hardie-Tynes, Co., Inc.'s
(“Hardie-Tynes”) most recently filed Motion for
Leave To Amend Complaint (Doc. 31) (the
“Motion”), which seeks to add a claim for
fraudulent suppression against Defendant SKF USA, Inc.
(“SKF”) pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2). (Doc. 31 at
1-2 ¶ 1); (see also Doc. 31-1 at 9-12
¶¶ 31-46). SKF opposed the Motion (Doc. 33) on
April 6, 2017, on several different grounds, including
futility. Hardie-Tynes followed with its reply (Doc. 35) on
April 13, 2017. For the reasons discussed below,
Hardie-Tynes's Motion is DENIED.
court should freely give leave [to amend a complaint] when
justice so requires[, ]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2), but
“need not” do so “where amendment would be
futile.” Bryant v. Dupree, 252 F.3d 1161, 1163
(11th Cir. 2001). Amendment is futile when “the
complaint as amended is still subject to dismissal.”
Hall v. United Insurance Co., 367 F.3d 1255, 1263
(11th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Burger King Corp. v. Weaver, 169 F.3d 1310, 1320
(11th Cir. 1999)); see also St. Charles Foods, Inc. v.
America's Favorite Chicken Co., 198 F.3d 815, 822
(11th Cir. 1999) (“When a district court denies the
plaintiff leave to amend a complaint due to futility, the
court is making the legal conclusion that the complaint, as
amended, would necessarily fail.”). Thus, the Rule
12(b)(6) standard is an integral component of the futility
doctrine. See B.D. Stephenson Trucking, L.L.C. v.
Riverbrooke Capital, No. 5:06-CV-0343-WS, 2006 WL
2772673, at *6 (S.D. Ala. 2006) (“[T]hus, if the
amended complaint could not survive Rule 12(b)(6) scrutiny,
then the amendment is futile and leave to amend is properly
denied.” (citing Burger King, 169 F.3d at
12(b)(6) motion attacks the legal sufficiency of the
complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (“[A]
party may assert the following defenses by motion: (6)
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted[.]”). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
require only that the complaint provide “‘a short
and plain statement of the claim' that will give the
defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is
and the grounds upon which it rests.” Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 103, 2 L.Ed.2d 80
(1957) (footnote omitted) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)),
abrogated by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007);
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) (setting forth general
pleading requirements for a complaint including providing
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief”).
plaintiff must provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief, Rule 8 does not mandate the inclusion of
“detailed factual allegations” within a
complaint. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at
1964 (quoting Conley, 355 U.S. at 47, 78 S.Ct. at
103). However, at the same time, “it demands more than
an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).
“[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be
supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the
allegations in the complaint.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 563, 127 S.Ct. at 1969.
court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by
identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. at
1950. “While legal conclusions can provide the
framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Id. “When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give
rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id.
(emphasis added). “Under Twombly's
construction of Rule 8 . . . [a plaintiff's] complaint
[must] ‘nudge [any] claims' . . . ‘across
the line from conceivable to plausible.'
Ibid.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680, 129
S.Ct. at 1950-51.
is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at
1949. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965).
the Eleventh Circuit “review[s] the district
court's denial of a motion to amend a complaint for abuse
of discretion.” Steger v. General Electric
Company, 318 F.3d 1066, 1080 (11th Cir. 2003); see
also Henson v. Columbus Bank and Trust Co., 770 F.2d
1566, 1574 (11th Cir. 1985) (“A district court has
great discretion when determining whether an amendment to the
complaint should be allowed once responsive pleadings have
mentioned above, Hardie-Tynes's Motion seeks to add a
claim of fraudulent suppression to its complaint. The
elements of fraudulent suppression claim under Alabama law
are “(1) that [SKF] had a duty to disclose the existing
material fact; (2) that [SKF] suppressed this material fact;
(3) that [SKF]'s suppression of this fact induced her to
act or to refrain from acting; and (4) that [Hardie-Tynes]
suffered actual damage as a proximate result.”
State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Owen, 729 So.2d
834, 837 (Ala. 1998) (citing Booker v. United American
Ins. Co., 700 So.2d 1333, 1339 (Ala. 1997)).
Additionally, the Code of Alabama clarifies that:
Suppression of a material fact which the party is under an
obligation to communicate constitutes fraud. The obligation
to communicate may arise from the confidential relations of
the parties ...