United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
K. DUBOSE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant/counter-claimant
Richway Transportation Services, Inc. (Richway)'s motion
for leave to amend its answer, affirmative defenses and
counterclaims. (Doc. 33).
November 12, 2018, Plaintiff/counter-defendant Glovis
Alabama, LLC (Glovis) initiated this action against Richway
in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama (Glovis
Alabama, LLC v. Richway Transp. Servs., Inc.,
02-CV-2018-902866). (Doc. 1-1). Based on Richway's
alleged indebtedness related to a contract regarding certain
leased equipment, Glovis alleged breach of lease, replevin,
and unjust enrichment, and seeks an order for the release of
property and for monetary damages ($370, 506.00), pre/post
judgment interest, attorney's fees, and costs. On
December 14, 2018, Richway removed this case to this Court on
the basis of federal diversity subject matter jurisdiction.
December 21, 2018, Richway answered and counterclaimed
against Glovis for "suit on sworn account pursuant to
Ala. Code § 12-21-111," breach of
contract, promissory estoppel, and fraud. (Doc. 2). Richway
seeks $474, 524.65 in actual and liquidated damages, pre/post
judgment interest, attorney's fees, and costs.
(Id.) Richway denies that it is in default and/or
that it owes any payments to Glovis, "because such
amounts were deducted" from Glovis'
"outstanding payables owed to Richway."
April 12, 2019, Glovis moved for a Rule 65 injunction and, or
in the alternative, for a Rule 64 writ of seizure. (Doc. 28).
On April 30, 2019, Richway moved to amend its
answer/counterclaim because it discovered that the equipment
at issue is not owned by Glovis: "[r]eview of State of
Alabama Certificates of Title confirm the majority -- and
likely all -- of the Equipment is owned by Richardson Alabama
Equipment Leasing, Inc….which is not a party to the
Lease Agreement…Alabama Department of Revenue license
and registration receipts similarly identify RAEL as the
owner of such Equipment." (Doc. 33 at 3). Richway has
also added a counterclaim for quantum meruit. While
given the opportunity to file a response to Richway's
motion for leave to amend (Doc. 34), none has been filed by
stage in the litigation, the ability to amend under Rule
15(a)(1) has passed, leaving Rule 15(a)(2) as the vehicle for
Richway's amendment. Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure governs amendments, and absent
Glovis' consent, leave of court is required. Leave should
be freely given "when justice so requires," except
in the presence of countervailing factors such as undue
prejudice to the opposing party and futility of the
amendment. See, e.g., Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); Bartronics, Inc. v.
Power-One, Inc., 245 F.R.D. 532, 534 (S.D. Ala. 2007).
Therefore, “unless a substantial reason exists to deny
leave to amend, the discretion of the district court is not
broad enough to permit denial[.]” City of Miami v.
Bank of Am. Corp., 800 F.3d 1262, 1286 (11th
Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). Courts “may consider
several factors when deciding whether to grant a motion to
amend, including ‘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, [and] futility of amendment.” Perez v.
Wells Fargo N.A., 774 F.3d 1329, 1340-1341
(11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)); Donley v. City of Morrow,
Ga., 601 Fed.Appx. 805, 810 (11th Cir. 2015)
cases addressing a proposed amended answer are sparse, this
Court has derived guidance from analogous authorities
relating to amended complaints. See, e.g.,
Bartronics, 245 F.R.D. at 535 (citing Arista
Records, Inc. v. Flea World, Inc., 356 F.Supp.2d 411,
419 (D.N.J. 2005) (stating that “[t]he same standard
applies to motions for leave to amend both complaints and
answers”). Additionally, in Foman, the
Supreme Court explained that leave should be given
“[i]f the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon
by the plaintiff may be a proper subject for relief.”
Foman, 371 U.S. at 182. Therefore, “there must
be a substantial reason to deny a motion to amend.”
Laurie v. Ala. Ct. of Crim.App., 256 F.3d 1266, 1274
(11th Cir. 2001). Overall the Federal
Rules favor allowing amendments. Dussouy v. Gulf
Coast Invest. Co., 660 F.2d 594, 597 (5th
Cir. 1981) (finding that “[t]he policy of the federal
rules is to permit liberal amendment to facilitate
determination of claims on the merits and to prevent
litigation from becoming a technical exercise in the fine
points of pleading”). Also, “[t]his Circuit has
accepted a policy of liberal amendment.” U.S. for
Use and Benefit of Krupp Steel Products, Inc. v. Aetna Ins.
Co. 831 F.2d 978, 983 (11th Cir. 1987)
(citing Longhan v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.,
749 F.2d 1519 (11th Cir. 1985) and
Dussouy, 660 F.2d 594).
is no written consent filed by Glovis. However, Glovis was
given the opportunity to file an opposition, but did not do
so. Richway's motion then, appears unopposed.
Additionally, upon consideration of the relevant factors,
there is no indication in the record of undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure
deficiencies, undue prejudice to Glovis via the amendment,
and/or futility. Thus, as the Court is instructed to
“freely give leave” to amend “when justice
so requires" -- and cannot presently discern "a
substantial reason" to deny same -- it is
ORDERED that Richway's motion to amend
(Doc. 33) is GRANTED.