The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK
This is a motion by plaintiff Evelyn Zerman to amend the complaint by rejoining Robert Fomon and George Ball as defendants, by adding Edward Gioiella as a defendant, and by adding RICO claims against all four defendants under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962(c) and 1964(c) and of Florida's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, FSA § 895.01. For the reasons stated below, the motion will be denied.
This suit was originally brought by Evelyn Zerman ("Zerman") pro se against George Ball ("Ball"), Robert Fomon ("Fomon) and E.F. Hutton & Co. ("Hutton") in June 1982. The complaint alleged that on July 1, 1980, Mrs. Zerman purchased two securities from Hutton. Zerman contended that numerous misrepresentations and omissions were made in connection with her purchase of the securities and charged that these statements and omissions violated §§ 7, 10, 15, 20 and 29 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78g, 78j, 78o, 78t, 78cc (1982), and Rules 10b-5 and 10b-16, §§ 12(2) and 17 of the Securities Act of 1933 and various provisions of Florida law.
In November 1982, the District Court dismissed the complaint against all three defendants. On appeal the Second Circuit upheld the judgment in large part. Zerman v. Ball, 735 F.2d 15 (1984). The Second Circuit held that, under any of the statutes, regulations and rules invoked, the complaint failed to state a claim against Ball or Fomon because neither Ball nor Fomon had any contact with Zerman, nor made any statements to her. In addition, the Court held that there was no support for Zerman's claim that Ball and Fomon had "failed to supervise."
As to Hutton, the Second Circuit upheld the dismissal of all claims except one; the Court concluded that the complaint stated a claim against Hutton under § 10b of the 1934 Act and Rule 10b-5 with respect to an alleged representation by Hutton that the market for municipal securities was and had been up.
Now, five and a half years after Mrs. Zerman's purchase of securities, three and a half years after the complaint was filed, and one and a half years after the Second Circuit dismissed Ball and Fomon from the suit, Mrs. Zerman seeks to amend the complaint to rejoin Ball and Fomon, to add a new defendant, Edward Gioiella, ("Gioiella"), an Assistant Vice-President of Hutton and Hutton's Assistant General Counsel and to add RICO counts against all four defendants.
Specifically, the proposed amendments seek to add allegations of misrepresentation and omission against Hutton, Ball and Fomon for failing to disclose the nature of the margin account and the credit terms, the fact that the GNMA certificate had to be sold at the market price and the fact that title to the GNMA was to remain in Hutton's name. The proposed amendments further allege that Hutton violated Rule 15c, promulgated pursuant to Section 15(c) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78o(c), by illegally loaning the GNMA. In addition, they allege that the debt was incurred in violation of Florida usury and unlawful debt statutes. Finally, the amendments seek to add federal and state RICO claims against all four defendants. In support of these claims, Mrs. Zerman relies on the Supreme Court's recent holding in Sedima, S.P.R.L. v. Imrex Co., Inc., 473 U.S. 479, 105 S. Ct. 3275, 87 L. Ed. 2d 346 (1985) that RICO may be asserted in a civil suit.
A district court has broad discretion in determining whether or not to grant a motion to amend the complaint. See Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 28 L. Ed. 2d 77, 91 S. Ct. 795 (1971). Although leave to amend is to be freely granted, the liberal amendment principles of Rule 15(a) do not require the court to indulge in futile gestures. Leave to amend need not be granted where the amendments would serve no purpose. See Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 9 L. Ed. 2d 222, 83 S. Ct. 227 (1962).
The proposed amended complaint is filled with verbose, repetitve and rambling language and appears to have been asserted for coercive and improper purposes. The complaint is little more than a rehash of the allegations in the original complaint which were previously rejected by the Second Circuit.
Plaintiff's allegations that the defendants failed to disclose the nature of the margin accounts, the price at which the GNMA would be sold and that title of the certificate would remain in Hutton were dismissed by the Second Circuit as insufficient as a matter of law. The Second Circuit held that these alleged omissions were actually revealed to the plaintiff in the margin agreement signed by her.
The claims for violations of Florida usury law and unlawful debt were also previously asserted by the plaintiff and rejected as deficient.
Furthermore, plaintiff's allegation that Hutton violated Section 15 by improperly loaning her GNMA is contradicted by the fact that Mrs. Zerman signed a Customer's Loan Consent which authorized Hutton to lend any security held on margin. Moreover, even if this allegation were true, the claim would fail because there is no suggestion that Mrs. Zerman suffered injury from the action.
Finally, as to the federal and state RICO claims, the the plaintiff has failed to assert two predicate acts which are sufficiently related to constitute a pattern in connection with the conduct of an ongoing enterprise, as is required to ...