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Ingram v. Oasis Investments, LLC

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

April 3, 2018

JASON INGRAM, et al., PLAINTIFFS
v.
OASIS INVESTMENTS, LLC, et al., DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants LeeCor Systems, LLC and Steven Medlin's motion for leave to file their joint amended answer, [DN 51.] Plaintiffs Jason and Dilenia Ingram responded, [DN 52], and Defendants replied, [DN 54.] Fully briefed, this matter is now ripe for decision. For the reasons discussed herein, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         The Court set forth the detailed facts of this case in its prior Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, Ingram v. Oasis Investments, LLC, No. 5:16-CV-00206-TBR, 2017 WL 6508362, at *1 (W.D. Ky. Dec. 19, 2017), but includes a short summary here. Plaintiffs Jason and Dilenia Ingram filed suit against several defendants, including LeeCor Systems, LLC (“LeeCor”) and Steve Medlin, an employee of LeeCor, after the construction of a new home on the Ingrams' property went awry. The Ingrams allege that, during the time they worked with LeeCor and Medlin, they were “in the business of marketing and selling residential steel frame and prefabricated foam panel construction materials that are designed, manufactured, packaged and/or marketed by Defendant Premium Steel Building Systems, Inc.” [DN 1 at 10.] According to the Ingrams, “LeeCor and Medlin hold themselves out as having experience and expertise in selecting and/or recommending certain products for inclusion in a new home build, such as, but not limited to, steel framing and prefabricated foam walls” manufactured by Defendant Premium Steel Building Systems, Inc. [Id. at 11.] The Ingrams allege that the structural system recommended to them by LeeCor and Medlin was improper for the construction of their home and could not be installed so as to comply with applicable building codes. They also allege that Medlin made various other misrepresentations, such as advising then that a vapor barrier was unnecessary when, in fact, the opposite was true.

         Following LeeCor and Medlin's motion to dismiss, the Ingrams' remaining claims are for breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, breach of the implied warranty of workmanlike performance, negligent construction; negligent provision of professional services; fraud; negligent misrepresentation; violations of building codes under KRS § 198B.130; and building professional liability under KRS § 411.256. See Ingram, 2017 WL 6508362, at *9-10.

         In the instant motion, Defendants LeeCor and Medlin move for leave to file a joint amended answer, which they attached to their motion. [DN 51; DN 51-1.] The Ingrams filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion, [DN 52], and Defendants filed a reply, [DN 54.]

         STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 entitles any party to “amend its pleading once as a matter of course” before being served with a responsive pleading, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1), and in all other cases, allows a party to amend either “with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Id. at (a)(2). The Rule further states that “court[s] should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Id. In determining whether the interests of justice support a grant of leave to amend, courts consider several factors, including “undue delay in filing, lack of notice to the opposing party, bad faith by the moving party, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by previous amendments, undue prejudice to the opposing party, or futility of the amendment.” Brumbalough v. Camelot Care Ctrs., Inc., 427 F.3d 996, 1001 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing Coe v. Bell, 161 F.3d 320, 341-42 (6th Cir. 1998)); see also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). “The grant or denial of leave to amend is within the discretion of the trial court, and review is for abuse of discretion.” Sec. Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Kevin Tucker & Assocs., Inc., 64 F.3d 1001, 1008 (6th Cir. 1995) (citing Roth Steel Prods. v. Sharon Steel Corp., 705 F.2d 134, 155 (6th Cir.1983)).

         DISCUSSION

         Initially, LeeCor and Medlin (for purposes of this motion, “Defendants”) filed separate, but identical answers. [DN 12; DN 13.] On the same day as they filed those answers, they filed a partial motion to dismiss, [DN 14], which the Court granted in part and denied in part. [DN 50]; Ingram, 2017 WL 6508362, at *1-11. In their instant motion, Defendants move for leave to file a joint amended answer. [DN 51.] Therein, Defendants state that, by filing a joint amended answer, they seek to incorporate their original responses and affirmative defenses into one document and to alter their responses to paragraphs 49, 159-62, 169-73, 180-84, and Count X in the Ingrams' complaint. [Id. at 1-2.]

         In response, the Ingrams do not object to the filing of a joint answer in general or the majority of the proposed amendments Defendants wish to make therein. [DN 52 at 4.] The Ingrams do object to Defendants' proposed amendments to their responses to paragraph 49 and paragraph 149 of the Ingrams' complaint, however.[1]

         a. Paragraph 49

         The Ingrams' complaint at paragraph 49 states: “Upon information and belief, neither Medlin nor any employee of LeeCor holds a license, including in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, for the provision of engineering, architectural or other similar services requiring licensing from the state.” [DN 1 at 11, ¶ 49.] In Defendants' original answers, they each stated “This defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 49 based upon ambiguity, vagueness and lack of specificity in the allegations.” [DN 12 at 5, ¶ 49; DN 13 at 5, ¶ 49.] In their proposed joint amended answer, Defendants now seek to amend their responses to say “This defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph forty-nine.” [DN 51-1 at 6, ¶ 49.]

         In their response, the Ingrams state that they “take issue with the substantive alteration of the answer in paragraph 49 without an explanation for - or, failing to sufficiently explain, some penalty for - the falsity of the previous answer.” [DN 52 at 3.] According to the Ingrams, “Defendants demonstrate that they now understand the allegations made here - just as they ...


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