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Stephens v. Premiere Credit of North America, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

October 24, 2017

JEMICAH STEPHENS, Plaintiff,
v.
PREMIERE CREDIT OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Colin Lindsay, Magistrate Judge United States District Court.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Amend the Complaint (DN 30) filed by plaintiff Jemicah Stephens. Defendant Premiere Credit of North America, LLC filed a response (DN 32), and plaintiff filed a reply (DN 38). Therefore, the Motion to Amend the Complaint is ripe for review.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's complaint was filed in Jefferson Circuit Court on December 10, 2015. (DN 1-2.) Plaintiff's complaint contains five counts: (1) violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. 1692, et seq., specifically Sections 1692e(2), (8), (10), and (16), Section 1692g(a), and Section 1692f(1); (2) intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress; (3) invasion of privacy; (4) defamation; and (5) money had and received. (DN 1-2.) The action was removed to this Court on January 4, 2016.

         A scheduling order was entered in this action on March 15, 2016. (DN 12.) The pleading amendment deadline for plaintiff set forth in that initial scheduling order was June 6, 2016. (Id. at 2.)

         On October 3, 2016, plaintiff filed a Motion to Modify the Scheduling Order (DN 14). In the Motion to Modify Scheduling Order, plaintiff requested an extension of his pleading amendment deadline from June 6, 2016 to October 24, 2016; in this motion, plaintiff stated that he anticipated “seeking to amend his complaint to add factual details and new or revised legal theories based on information uncovered during the discovery period.” (Id. at 2.)

         On October 26, 2016, the undersigned held a telephonic status conference in this matter. An order arising out of that telephonic conference denied the Motion to Modify the Scheduling Order as moot and extended various pretrial deadlines in this matter; however, the order did not extend the pleading amendment deadline. (DN 19.) The order set the discovery deadline as February 10, 2017. (Id.) The discovery deadline has been extended several times and is currently April 30, 2017. (DN 29.) The dispositive motion deadline has been stayed. (DN 42.) On March 29, 2017, plaintiff filed the Motion to Amend the Complaint.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Parties' Arguments

         Plaintiff seeks to amend his complaint in order to (1) add factual detail; (2) add a new violation of the FDCPA, specifically Section 1692g(b); and (3) remove Count V. Plaintiff argues that defendant will not suffer undue prejudice as a result of these amendments because no trial has been set, discovery has not been completed, no dispositive motions have been filed, and the amendment is not futile. Plaintiff asserts that the proposed amendment simply clarifies facts and legal theories.

         Defendant opposes the Motion to Amend the Complaint for several reasons. First, defendant argues that plaintiff must show “good cause” for amending the complaint because the pleading amendment deadline in the scheduling order has passed. Defendant states that plaintiff has not demonstrated good cause and that permitting plaintiff to amend his complaint would be prejudicial to it at this stage of the litigation.

         Second, defendant argues that the proposed amendment is based on information that plaintiff had when he filed the complaint. Defendant further argues that none of the factual allegations added to the proposed amended complaint were referenced in plaintiff's answers to contention interrogatories.

         Third, defendant asserts that discovery has been substantially completed and it would be prejudiced if the Motion to Amend the Complaint were granted. As an example, defendant states that the proposed amended complaint adds multiple references to Morgan State, and the Motion to Amend the Complaint was filed the day before the depositions of Morgan State representatives took place in Baltimore, Maryland. Defendant also asserts that the Motion to Amend the Complaint was filed approximately one month before the discovery deadline; the depositions of plaintiff, plaintiff's mother, and four Morgan State University witnesses have been taken; and defendant has completed a draft of its summary judgment arguments based on the original complaint.

         Finally, defendant argues that the proposed amended complaint is futile to the extent that plaintiff attempts to add certain allegations barred by the ...


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