United States District Court, D. New Mexico
DON SALAZAR and ANDREA SALAZAR, Individuals, d/b/a C&S TRUCKING, CO., Plaintiffs,
THE QUIKRETE COMPANIES, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BRACK, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Opposed Motion
to File First Amended Complaint, filed on January 23, 2019.
(Doc. 25.) Jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Having considered the submissions of counsel and relevant
law, the Court will DENY Plaintiffs'
2013 through 2017, Plaintiffs, doing business as C&S
Trucking Co. (C&S), “hauled mined material from a
Quikrete mine” in Colorado. (Doc. 1 (Compl.)
¶¶ 1, 6.) Quikrete paid Plaintiffs, on average,
approximately $288, 000 per year for their
services. (Id. ¶ 7.) Relying on the
parties' arrangement, Plaintiff Don Salazar left other
employment, and Plaintiff C&S purchased $419, 000 in
equipment that would better meet Defendant's needs.
(Id. ¶ 8.) For a time in both 2016 and 2017,
C&S hauled mined material to Texas, rather than within
Colorado, for the benefit of Quikrete and at a lower haul
rate, causing C&S to lose $80, 917.59. (Id.
¶ 9.) Plaintiffs expected to continue hauling mined
material for Quikrete in 2018, but in May 2018, Quikrete
notified C&S that it “no longer needed [the] mined
material hauling services of C&S.” (Id.
filed their original Complaint for Recovery of Reliance
Damages in this Court on August 9, 2018. (See
Compl.) The Court filed its Order Setting Case Management
Deadlines and Discovery Parameters on October 22, 2018. (Doc.
11.) The Court imposed a November 30, 2018 deadline for
Plaintiffs to move to amend their pleadings or add additional
parties. (Id. at 2.) On January 23, 2019, Plaintiffs
filed their motion to submit a First Amended Complaint in
order to add a claim for punitive damages. (See Doc.
25 at 1.) Defendant opposes the motion as untimely.
(See Doc. 28.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 allows a party to amend its
pleading once as a matter of course in limited circumstances.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Otherwise, a party may only amend its
pleading with “opposing party's written consent or
the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule 15
directs that leave shall be freely given “when justice
so requires.” Id. “The purpose of the
Rule is to provide litigants ‘the maximum opportunity
for each claim to be decided on its merits rather than on
procedural niceties.'” Minter v. Prime Equip.
Co., 451 F.3d 1196, 1204 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Hardin v. Manitowoc-Forsythe Corp., 691 F.2d 449,
456 (10th Cir. 1982)). A court may deny a motion for leave to
amend where there has been “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, futility of amendment, etc ..... ”
Id. (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
the deadline for amending pleadings set in the scheduling
order has passed, as is the case here, Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 16(b)(4) is also implicated.” Soseeah v.
Sentry Ins., No. CV 12-01091 RB/GBW, 2014 WL 12796813,
at *1 (D.N.M. Apr. 18, 2014). “Rule 16(b)(4) provides
that a scheduling order ‘may be modified only for good
cause and with the judge's consent.'”
Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4)). “In
practice, this standard requires the movant to show the
‘scheduling deadlines cannot be met despite [the
movant's] diligent efforts.'” Gorsuch,
Ltd., B.C. v. Wells Fargo Nat. Bank Ass'n, 771 F.3d
1230, 1240 (10th Cir. 2014) (quoting Pumpco, Inc. v.
Schenker Int'l, Inc., 204 F.R.D. 667, 668 (D. Colo.
2001) (internal quotations omitted)).
Plaintiffs have not shown good cause under Rule 16.
Rule 16, Plaintiffs must show that they were unable to meet
the deadline to amend their complaint despite their diligent
efforts. See Id. This standard “may be
satisfied, for example, if a plaintiff learns new information
through discovery or if the underlying law has
changed.” Id. (citing Pumpco, 204
F.R.D. at 668-69). “If the plaintiff knew of the
underlying conduct but simply failed to raise tort claims,
however, the claims are barred.” Id. (citing
Minter, 451 F.3d at 1206; Fed. Ins. Co. v. Gates
Learjet Corp., 823 F.2d 383, 387 (10th Cir. 1987)).
parties fail to discuss whether Plaintiffs have shown good
cause to amend under Rule 16. (See Docs. 25; 28;
29.) From Plaintiffs' scant arguments in their motion and
reply briefs, however, it appears that they cannot meet this
standard. Plaintiffs offer only one reason to amend their
complaint-they “did not request their counsel to assert
a claim for punitive damages until after the November 30,
2018 cut-off.” (Doc. 25 at 2.)
Court has not found a case directly on point, but it finds
guidance in Colorado Visionary Academy v. Medtronic,
Inc., 194 F.R.D. 684 (D. Colo. 2000). There, the
plaintiff filed a motion to amend its complaint on February
29, 2000, one day before the deadline to join parties and
amend pleadings. See 194 F.R.D. at 686. The court
granted the motion on March 30, 2000, and the defendant filed
an answer to the amended complaint on April 14, 2000. See
Id. at 686-87. Approximately two months later, on June
15, 2000, the defendant sought to amend its answer to add a
defense of comparative negligence. Id. at 687. To
show good cause, the defendant attributed the two-month delay
to its attorney's need to “conduct additional
research into the substantive law behind [the
plaintiff's] claims . . . .” Id. (citation
omitted). The court denied the motion, and the Tenth Circuit
affirmed, noting that the defendant had not shown good cause
for the delay. Id. “Carelessness is not
compatible with a finding of diligence and offers no reason
for a grant of relief.” Id. (quotation
Plaintiffs waited until approximately eight weeks after the
deadline to amend pleadings had passed to file their motion.
Their only reason-that they simply had not requested the
claim be added-is insufficient to show diligent efforts or
good cause. Plaintiffs submitted a transcript from a January
22, 2019 deposition to establish that Defendant questioned
Mr. Salazar about the punitive damages claim. (See
Doc. 29-1.) Plaintiffs argue that Defendant will not be
prejudiced by allowing Plaintiffs to add the claim.
(See Doc. 29 at 2.) The transcript does not offer
any evidence, however, that Plaintiffs learned of the facts
underlying the punitive damages claim after the ...