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Civil Procedure – Amendment of pleadings

Civil Procedure
Amendment of pleadings

It was not an abuse of discretion for a district court to deny a motion to amend pleadings 7 months after the deadline.
“Carroll sought leave to amend his complaint more than seven months after the deadline for amending the pleadings, less than a month before discovery was to close, and eleven days after Stryker had filed its reply to Carroll’s opposition to its motion for summary judgment. Carroll’s counsel insists that he did not fully understand Stryker’s argument that quasi-contractual causes of action were unavailable until after Stryker had filed its reply brief in support of its motion for summary judgment. This is doubtful. Stryker had asserted in its answer that quantum meruit and unjust enrichment were unavailable forms of relief, so Carroll was alerted to the basic problem with these claims—and the need for an amended complaint substituting a breach-of-contract claim—at the outset of the federal proceedings.”

“Regardless, ignorance is hardly a valid reason for missing the deadline by so many months; the failure to anticipate an obvious and legally well-grounded defense does not excuse the delay. More than a month before the deadline for amending the pleadings, our decision in Lindquist Motors explained in some detail the conceptual and remedial distinctions between contract and quasi-contractual claims under Wisconsin law. 557 F.3d at 476- 81. Accordingly, the magistrate judge reasonably denied Carroll’s motion for leave to amend based on his lack of good cause for missing the deadline and the prejudice to Stryker of allowing an amended complaint so late in the day. See Alioto v. Town of Lisbon, No. 09-3921, 2011 WL 2642369, at *3 (7th Cir. July 7, 2011) (explaining the interplay between the requirements of Rule 15(a) pertaining to amendments to pleadings and Rule 16(b)(4) pertaining to modifications of scheduling orders); Trustmark Ins. Co. v. Gen. & Cologne Life Re of Am., 424 F.3d 542, 553 (7th Cir. 2005) (same).”


09-4111 Carroll v. Stryker Corp.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Crocker, Mag. J., Sykes, J.

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