United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on Plaintiff's
“Motion for Leave to Amend, ” (doc. 29), and
“Plaintiff's Motion to Alter, Amend, or Vacate,
” (doc. 30). In her motion for leave to amend,
Plaintiff Melanie Tolbert asks this court for leave to amend
her complaint with additional factual allegations related to
establishing specific personal jurisdiction over
recently-dismissed defendant High Noon Productions, LLC. In
her motion to alter, amend, or vacate, Ms. Tolbert asks this
court to reconsider its prior decision to dismiss High Noon
Productions, LLC, or alternatively, to reinstate High Noon as
a defendant in light of the proposed amendments to the
complaint. The motion also asks this court to transfer this
case to the District Court of Colorado. This court GRANTS Ms.
Tolbert's motion for leave to amend, (doc. 29), and FINDS
AS MOOT Ms. Tolbert's motion to alter, amend, or vacate,
High Noon filed its motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction on June 13, 2018. (Doc. 9). This court granted
High Noon's motion and dismissed it from this case
without prejudice on January 8, 2019. (Doc. 22). In its
Memorandum Opinion, the court explained that, due to pleading
deficiencies in her complaint, Ms. Tolbert had failed to
establish that this court had personal jurisdiction over High
Noon. (Doc. 21 at 6-9). This court also denied Ms.
Tolbert's conditional motion to transfer this case
because she failed to state with particularity why the
interests of justice weighed in favor of transfer or to
identify a proper jurisdiction for transfer. (Doc. 21 at 9).
Tolbert subsequently filed a motion for leave to amend her
complaint with factual allegations purportedly sufficient to
establish this court's personal jurisdiction over High
Noon. (Doc. 29). On the same day, Ms. Tolbert filed a second
motion asking this court (1) to alter, amend, or vacate its
decision to dismiss High Noon for lack of personal
jurisdiction; or, alternatively, (2) to alter, amend, or
vacate its decision to deny Ms. Tolbert's motion to
two motions, Ms. Tolbert asks this court to grant her leave
to amend her complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(a)(2) and to reconsider its prior Order, presumably under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or 60(b), though the
motion does not specify.
Rule 15(a), courts should freely give plaintiffs leave to
amend their pleadings when justice so requires. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). High Noon asks this court to deny Ms. Tolbert's
motion because “the Eleventh Circuit has explained that
granting leave to amend under 15(a) is not appropriate
post-judgment unless a party has obtained relief from that
judgment under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b).” Shuler v.
Strange, 2:16-CV-695-VEH, 2017 WL 748515, at *2 (N.D.
Ala. Feb. 27, 2017) (citing Jacobs v. Tempur-Pedic
Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 1327, 1344-45 (11th Cir.
2010)). But those cases do not apply. The rule in those cases
only applies when the “district court has dismissed the
complaint and entered final judgment for the
defendant.” U.S. ex rel. Atkins v. McInteer,
470 F.3d 1350, 1361 n. 22 (11th Cir. 2006) (emphasis added).
court dismissed High Noon without prejudice for
pleading deficiencies, so its Order did not constitute a
final judgment. Thus, the court considers Ms. Tolbert's
motion for leave to amend her complaint under the normal
liberal standard of Rule 15(a).
Noon alternatively argues that Ms. Tolbert's amended
complaint would be futile because she “seeks to add
additional averments based on the very same allegations that
were before the Court at the time High Noon's motion to
dismiss was granted.” (Doc. 33 at 4).
court explained that Ms. Tolbert's original complaint
failed to establish this court's jurisdiction by failing
to allege “any facts suggesting High Noon purposefully
directed its alleged infringing activity at Alabama or even
had reason to know High Noon's alleged infringement would
cause harm in Alabama.” (Doc. 21 at 8). In her proposed
amendments, Ms. Tolbert alleges (1) that the allegedly copied
video conspicuously identified Alabama as its setting; (2)
that High Noon received copies of emails that indicated Ms.
Tolbert is a resident of Alabama; and (3) that based on this
information, High Noon knew Ms. Tolbert lived in Alabama and
that its alleged infringement would cause injury in the forum
state. (Doc. 29-1).
additional factual allegations cure the pleading deficiencies
identified in this court's prior opinion and would not be
futile, so the court GRANTS Ms. Tolbert's motion for
leave to amend her complaint and DIRECTS the Clerk of Court
to reinstate High Noon as a defendant in this case. The court
also FINDS AS MOOT “Plaintiff's Motion to Alter,
Amend, or Vacate.” (Doc. 30).
court recognizes that High Noon made legal arguments for lack
of personal jurisdiction that this court did not address in
its Memorandum Opinion. High Noon may reassert those or any
additional arguments in another motion to dismiss.