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Guideone Specialty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hapletah
May 24, 2006
GUIDEONE SPECIALTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
YESHIVA SHEARITH HAPLETAH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marilyn Dolan GO United States Magistrate Judge
This is a declaratory judgment action brought by plaintiff Guideone Specialty Mutual Insurance Company for a declaration that plaintiff is not obligated to defend and indemnify under a policy of general liability insurance issued to defendants Yesthiva Shearith and/or Beth Chana School with respect to claims made by Enukui Castro Rodrigues in connection with an accident on January 15, 2003. By letter dated December 13, 2005 (ct. doc. 12), plaintiff moved for leave to amend the complaint to join Mr. Rodriguez and to add a claim with respect to coverage for an action commenced by Mr. Rodriguez on August 25, 2005.*fn1
Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for liberal amendment of pleadings and directs that leave to amend a complaint shall be "freely given when justice so requires." See Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330 (1971); Grace v. Rosenstock, 228 F.3d 40 (2d Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 121 S.Ct. 1362 (2001); Monahan v. N.Y. City Dep't of Corr., 214 F.3d 275, 283 (2d Cir. 2000) (leave to assert affirmative defense). Courts should ordinarily grant leave to amend, unless the moving party has proceeded in bad faith, there is undue prejudice to the other parties or the amendment would be futile. Manson v. Stacescu, 11 F.3d 1127, 1133 (2d Cir. 1993) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 915 (1994).
To date, no opposition has been received. Since the new claim concerns plaintiff's obligations to defend and indemnify under the same policy with respect to a new lawsuit arising from the same incident underlying the claims originally asserted in the complaint, it makes little sense to deny leave and require commencement of a separate action. The Court notes that the current defendants have asserted a defenses of estoppel and laches. Even if such defenses were applicable as to the amended claims, such defendants involve factual disputes not appropriately addressed in the context of a motion to amend. See Silberblatt, 608 F.2d at 42 (reversing denial of leave to amend where "the alleged futility of the amendment rests on findings of fact").
Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint is granted. The amended complaint should be filed by May 31, 2006 and service upon the new defendant completed forthwith.
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