United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Peoples Independent Bank (PIB) filed motions seeking (1)
reconsideration of the court's earlier order dismissing
with prejudice a number of its claims against the plaintiff
and four third-party defendants; (2) to amend its answer; (3)
to amend its third-party complaint; and (4) to raise
cross-claims against its co-defendant, Ramuji, LLC. (Docs.
147, 165). For the reasons set out below, the court GRANTS IN
PART AND DENIES IN PART PIB's motions. The court DENIES
the motion for reconsideration. The court GRANTS the motion
to amend PIB's answer. The court GRANTS the motion to
amend the third-party complaint. The court GRANTS the motion
to add cross-claims against Ramuji.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case arises from a fire that occurred on April 2, 2016, at a
motel owned by Ramuji. (Doc. 144 at 5-6). In 2004, Ramuji
executed a mortgage on the real property in favor of PIB.
(Doc. 114). Ramuji also maintained a commercial insurance
policy covering the property. (Doc. 144 at 11). That policy
requires that the insurer must pay claims to a mortgagee if
that mortgagee is named in either the declarations of the
policy or by endorsement. (See Doc. 105 at 13). At
the time of the fire, the commercial insurance policy's
declarations and endorsements pages did not list PIB as a
mortgagee. (See Id. at 14). Ramuji did not request
the addition of PIB to the policy until April 25, 2016, three
weeks after the fire loss. (Doc. 144 at 15). Two days later,
the underwriters of the policy issued an endorsement adding
PIB as a mortgagee effective as of the date of Ramuji's
the underwriters of Ramuji's policy, Plaintiff Catlin
Syndicate Limited (Catlin), filed this lawsuit against Ramuji
and PIB, seeking declaratory judgment on various grounds.
(Doc. 144). Catlin's lawsuit sparked a flurry of
counterclaims and third-party complaints by Ramuji, PIB, and
an intervenor. This memorandum opinion addresses only
PIB's attempt to amend its answer, counterclaim, and
third party complaint.
PIB's first amended counterclaim and third-party
complaint, it asserted seven claims against Catlin and four
counterclaim-defendants that it refers to as the
“Underwriters, ” and seven claims against
Third-Party Defendants Jon Pair and Randy Jones &
Associates. (Doc. 46 at 1, 5-23). Of relevance to the instant
set of motions, PIB raised claims of breach of contract (both
as a party to the contract and as a third-party beneficiary),
negligent procurement of insurance, wantonness, bad faith,
fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud. (Id.). Catlin
and the Underwriters each moved to dismiss the amended
counterclaim, and the court granted those motions in part.
(Docs. 53, 63, 105).
court dismissed the breach of contract claim as to the direct
theory of liability, finding that PIB was not a named insured
because it did not appear in an endorsement to the policy,
but it permitted PIB's third-party beneficiary breach of
contract claim to proceed. (Doc. 105 at 16-17). The court
dismissed the negligent procurement of insurance claim
because PIB never applied for insurance and because PIB's
contributory negligence barred its claim. (Id. at
20-22). The court dismissed the fraud claims because, as a
matter of law, PIB could not have reasonably relied on the
alleged misrepresentations or omissions; and it dismissed the
conspiracy to commit fraud claims because, without a viable
underlying fraud claim, PIB could not state a claim for
conspiracy. (Id. at 26-27). Finally, the court
dismissed the bad faith claims because PIB was not a party to
the insurance contract. (Id. at 28-31).
then moved to amend its second amended counterclaim and
third-party complaint, seeking to reassert the claims that
the court dismissed. (Doc. 106). The court clarified that the
dismissal of PIB's claims was with prejudice, and denied
in part PIB's motion to amend. (Doc. 110). The court did,
however, allow PIB to amend its already-existing claims.
(Id.). As a result, PIB filed its second amended
counterclaim and third-party complaint. (Doc. 114). That
pleading is PIB's current operative pleading, which it
now seeks to amend again.
seeks reconsideration of the court's orders dismissing
with prejudice a number of its claims against Catlin and the
Underwriters; to amend its second amended counterclaim; to
amend its second amended answer and third-party complaint;
and to add cross-claims against Ramuji. (Docs. 147, 165). The
court will first address the motion for reconsideration and
to amend the counterclaim, followed by the rest of the
requests to amend.
Reconsideration of this Court's Orders Dismissing With
Prejudice PIB's Claims of Negligent Procurement, Bad
Faith, Fraud, and Conspiracy
contends that the court should reconsider the dismissal with
prejudice of a number of its claims against Catlin and the
Underwriters because it has learned new facts through
discovery. (Doc. 147 at 2). Specifically, PIB asserts that
new evidence shows that PIB should have been listed on the
commercial insurance policy; that the commercial insurance
policy at issue does not prohibit backdating an endorsement;
and that Catlin and the Underwriters have at times backdated
coverage. (Id. at 3-4). As a result, PIB argues,
Catlin and the Underwriters could have backdated the
endorsement listing it as a mortgagee to the date the policy
was issued, making it a named insured as of the time of the
fire. (Id. at 5). PIB also argues that the policy is
vague and should be construed against the drafter to include
PIB as a named insured. (Id. at 6-7).
of an order is an extraordinary remedy and is employed
sparingly.” Rueter v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner
& Smith, Inc., 440 F.Supp.2d 1256, 1267-68 (N.D.
Ala. 2006). A motion for reconsideration is not “a
platform to relitigate arguments previously considered and
rejected.” Id. at 1268 n.9. Indeed,
reconsideration is available only “when a party
presents the court with evidence of an intervening change in
controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the
need to correct clear error or manifest injustice.”
Summit Medical Center of Alabama, Inc. v. Riley, 284
F.Supp.2d 1350, 1355 (M.D. Ala. 2003).
PIB contends that its motion for reconsideration is based on
newly discovered evidence, all of its arguments were
available to PIB before the court ruled on the motions to
dismiss. Furthermore, although PIB asserts that Catlin and
the Underwriters could and should have backdated the
endorsement listing it as a named insured, it does not argue
that Catlin and the Underwriters had an obligation to do so.
The court finds that PIB has not shown any of the factors
warranting reconsideration. As a result, the court
DENIES the motion for ...