United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
LEROY PHILIP MITCHELL, p/k/a Prince Philip Mitchell and d/b/a HOT STUFF PUBLISHING COMPANY, Plaintiff,
PRIORITY RECORDS, LLC, ANDRE ROMELLE YOUNG, p/k/a Dr. Dre, d/b/a N.W.A., and LORENZO JERALD PATTERSON p/k/a MC REN, d/b/a N.W.A., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Lindsay, Magistrate Judge.
Leroy Philip Mitchell (“Plaintiff”) has filed a
motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint, by which
he seeks to add Universal Media Group, Inc.,
(“UMG”) as a defendant. (DN 106, #744.) Defendant
Capitol Records, LLC (“Capitol”) filed a response
brief (DN 107), and Plaintiff filed a reply (DN 108).
Therefore, this matter is ripe for review. For the reasons
stated below, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's motion to amend.
original complaint, filed on February 26, 2015, had named UMG
as a defendant in this copyright infringement lawsuit. (DN 1,
#2.) Counsel for UMG subsequently informed Plaintiff that it
had no involvement in the allegedly infringing material, and
Plaintiff agreed to dismiss UMG without prejudice. (DN 24,
#86.) The dismissal, however, stipulated that Plaintiff would
be allowed to amend his complaint if discovery revealed that
UMG is necessary to allow Plaintiff to obtain his relief
sought. (Id.) Plaintiff now contends that has
happened. (DN 106, #745.) According to Plaintiff, discovery
has revealed that UMG received royalties from the alleged
infringing material, and has in its possession
“documents containing sales, revenue, and profits
information” about the material. (DN 108, #779.)
Capitol contests the motion by arguing that Universal Media
Group, Inc. is not the proper entity to sue because it has
never owned or possessed an ownership interest in the alleged
infringing material, nor has it derived any financial benefit
from it. (DN 107, #772-73.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) allows parties to amend their
pleadings once as a matter of course, so long as it is done
within 21 days of service of process. It also allows amending
if “the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading
is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading
or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e),
or (f), whichever is earlier.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(1)(B). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) allows
parties to make consecutive amendments to their pleadings
only with leave of the opposing party or the court. The
latter should allow amendments when justice so requires.
Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2) governs the permissive
joinder of defendants. The Court, in its discretion, may
allow the joinder of additional defendants if:
(A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly,
severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising
out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences; and
(B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants will
arise in the action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2) (emphasis added). The Court has
broad discretion in allowing or disallowing the joinder of
parties, and the purpose of Rule 20(a)(2) is to foster
judicial economy and trial convenience. Amtote
International Inc. v. Kentucky Downs, LLC, 2017 WL
1829782 (W.D. Ky. May 5, 2017) at *1 (citing Dejesus v.
Humana Ins. Co., 2016 WL 3630258 (W.D. Ky. June 29,
2016) at *2).
Whether the Motion to Amend Should be Granted Under Fed R.
Civ. P. 15(a)
the underlying facts would support a claim[, ] leave to amend
should be granted, except in cases of undue delay, undue
prejudice to the opposing party, bad faith, dilatory motive,
repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, or futility.” Duggins v. Steak
‘N Shake, Inc., 195 F.3d 828, 834 (6th Cir. 1999)
(citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). A
finding of prejudice is the most significant of the
Foman factors. Moore v. City of Paducah,
790 F.2d 557, 562 (6th Cir. 1986) (If a court is to deny a
motion to amend, there must be “at least some
significant showing of prejudice to the opponent”).
Here, the Court will only address the undue prejudice factor,
as the record presents no evidence of undue delay, bad faith,
a dilatory motive, repeated failures, or futility. As neither
party addressed the undue prejudice requirement - much less
stated the applicable legal standard - the Court will conduct
an independent analysis of the record to determine if the
requirement has been met.
Court concludes that Capitol would not be unduly prejudiced
by Plaintiff amending his complaint to include UMG. Although
discovery is underway and a settlement conference has taken
place, the only significant pending dispositive motion is
Capitol's motion for partial summary judgment. Pursuant
to the Court's most recent scheduling order, discovery
has not yet advanced to “Phase II, ” which
contains all discovery-related issues other than
Plaintiff's damages, the validity of his copyright, and
the Defendants' conduct in allegedly using his copyright
(in addition to their financial records). (DN 69, #334-35; DN
72, #345.) Phase II will not begin until Capitol's motion
for partial summary judgment is ruled on. (DN 72, #345.) No
trial date is currently set. Given the relatively early ...