United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge
31, 2017, Defendant Rocky Point International LLC
(“Rocky Point”) filed a motion for leave to amend
its answer, to file a cross-motion for summary judgment, and
for protective order. (Docket #62). For the reasons stated
below, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
Court entered a scheduling order in this case in January
2017. (Docket #31). In that order, the Court set the
dispositive motion cutoff date as July 1, 2017, and scheduled
trial to begin on October 23, 2017. Id. On the
dispositive motion deadline, Plaintiff filed a motion for
partial summary judgment. (Docket #53). Rocky Point filed
31, 2017, in addition to its opposition to Plaintiff's
motion, Rocky Point requested the Court's leave to amend
its answer, to file its own cross-motion for summary judgment
out of time, and for a protective order stalling all
discovery until the resolution of its cross-motion. (Docket
#62). Rocky Point explains that in parallel proceedings going
on in Singapore, a judge issued an order on June 30, 2017,
finding that there was no fraud in the fund transfers
underlying this case. Id. at 1-2. Rocky Point's
multifaceted requests for relief are aimed at bringing a
defense of collateral estoppel into these proceedings.
Id. at 3.
15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that courts should freely grant leave to amend a pleading
where justice so requires. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
15(a)(2); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
Indeed, “[a]s a general rule, district courts should
liberally grant leave to amend pleadings.” Mulvania
v. Sheriff of Rock Island County, 850 F.3d 849, 854 (7th
Cir. 2017). That said, courts enjoy discretion to deny such
leave “where there is undue delay, bad faith, dilatory
motive, repeated failure to cure deficiencies, undue
prejudice to defendants, or where the amendment would be
futile.” Arreola v. Godinez, 546 F.3d 788, 796
(7th Cir. 2008). In egregious cases, even delay, standing
alone, can require denial of leave to amend. Feldman v.
Allegheny Int'l, Inc., 850 F.2d 1217, 1225 (7th Cir.
1988); Perrian v. O'Grady, 958 F.2d 192, 195
(7th Cir. 1992). More often, delay warrants denial of leave
where it would work prejudice against the other parties or
cause unacceptable additional delay in the ultimate
resolution of the case. See Dubicz v. Commonwealth Edison
Co., 377 F.3d 787, 793 (7th Cir. 2004); McCoy v.
Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., 760 F.3d 674, 687 (7th Cir.
2014) (“The underlying concern is the prejudice to the
[party] rather than simple passage of time.”).
this backdrop, the Court is not inclined to entertain Rocky
Point's late-coming defense. While the Court appreciates
that the Singaporean ruling came only a day before the
dispositive motion deadline, at no time prior to its July 31,
2017 filing did Rocky Point ever apprise the Court that the
foreign proceedings might give rise to a new defense. Waiting
until a month after this Court's dispositive-motion
deadline and a month after receiving the Singaporean ruling
to raise this issue for the first time is inexcusable. It
prejudices Plaintiff, who must pivot his efforts to resist a
defense never asserted prior to the dispositive motion
deadline, and allowing the cross-motion to proceed would
delay the ultimate resolution of this case, something the
Court is loath to tolerate.
in light of the strong policies favoring amendment of
pleadings, the Court will grant Rocky Point leave to amend
its answer to include a collateral estoppel defense. But to
allay the concerns for prejudice against Plaintiff and
potential delay in resolving this matter, the Court will not
allow Rocky Point leave to file its cross-motion for summary
judgment, nor will the Court enter a protective order against
further discovery until adjudication of the collateral
estoppel defense. First, the proposed cross-motion is over a
month late, and allowing it to brief fully would not leave
the Court sufficient time to consider it prior to trial.
Second, as to the motion for protective order, the Court
would never entertain a motion to stay all discovery in a
case based on a party's legal argument. All parties
appearing before this branch of the Court are expected to
take discovery on all pertinent issues simultaneously. This
protocol improves the efficiency and focus of the discovery
process and ensures that cases are disposed of in a timely
Court will treat the facts and arguments Rocky Point
submitted regarding collateral estoppel as simply part of its
opposition to Plaintiff's motion for partial summary
judgment. In his reply in support of his motion, Plaintiff
shall address the facts and arguments as to collateral
estoppel (in addition to Rocky Point's other arguments).
IT IS ORDERED that Rocky Point's motion
for leave to amend its answer, to file a cross-motion for
summary judgment, and for protective order (Docket #62) be
and the same is ...