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Key Items, Inc v. Ultima Diamonds

September 29, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Pitman, United States Magistrate Judge:


I. Introduction

By notice of motion dated October 8, 2010 (Docket Item 31), plaintiff Key Items, Inc. ("Key Items") moves for leave to file an amended complaint against all defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted to the extent that Key Items seeks to withdraw its claims for breach of contract and an account stated against Edward Maierovitz ("Maierovitz"). The motion is denied in all other respects.

II. Facts

A. Background

This action arises out of the alleged failure of Ultima 2008 Ltd. ("Ultima 2008") and Global Jewellery Solutions, Inc. ("Global Jewellery") (collectively, "Global Defendants") to pay for two shipments of jewelry that Ultima Diamonds, Inc. ("Ultima Diamonds") ordered from Key Items.*fn1

On or about September 12, 2008, Ultima Diamonds ordered 1,800 rings and 1,500 pairs of earrings from Key Items. The rings were to be delivered on approximately October 15, 2008 and the earrings were to be delivered approximately one month later (Proposed Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl."), attached to the Affidavit of Kathryn L. Bedke in Support of Motion to Amend Complaint (Docket Item 32), ("Bedke Aff."), ¶ 12). Key Items confirmed this order in an e-mail dated September 12, 2008 which states, under the heading "Recap of conversation with Rob," the method of pricing the jewelry, the product specifications and the dates on which the rings and the earrings would be delivered (Am. Compl. Ex. C).

Key Items delivered the rings to Ultima Diamonds on approximately October 15, 2008 (Am. Compl. ¶ 14 and Ex. D). On or around October 23, 2008, Maierovitz, who, according to the complaint, "singularly control[s] and dominate[s]" the corporate defendants, notified Key Items that he might not need the shipment of earrings (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 15). Key Items informed Maierovitz that it had already prepared a "significant" portion of this order for delivery, but that it was canceling the order for approximately 700 pairs of earrings. Maierovitz agreed to accept the remainder of the shipment (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 15-16).

Key Items shipped the remaining 803 pairs of earrings to Ultima Diamonds on approximately December 3, 2008 (Am. Compl. ¶ 17 and Ex. E). Maierovitz subsequently informed Key Items that he would not accept the shipment (Am. Compl. ¶ 18). Key Items and the Global Defendants subsequently arranged for the return of the earrings (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 19-21). On or about February 9, 2009, Maierovitz returned 100 of the rings that had been delivered in October 2008 (Am. Compl. ¶ 22) and on or about March 3, 2009, Maierovitz notified Key Items via e-mail that Ultima Diamonds and the Global Defendants wanted to return still more of the rings delivered in October 2008 (Am. Compl. ¶ 24). Key Items responded that it would accept a return of the rings attributable to up to 30 percent of the account balance if Maierovitz paid the remainder of the rings (Am. Compl. ¶ 25). On March 17, 2009, Key Items sent Ultima Diamonds a statement reflecting a $112,917.96 account balance (Am. Compl. ¶ 29 and Ex. J). Although Key Items has repeatedly requested payment, none of the defendants has paid this balance (Am. Compl. ¶ 30).

Key Items alleges that Ultima Diamonds and the Global Defendants "exist [] at the pleasure of Maierovitz" and are "run in a fashion that cannot be distinguished from the management of Maierovitz's personal affairs" (Am. Compl. ¶ 8). Further, Key Items alleges that Maierovitz "is a Director, Vice-President and Secretary of Ultima 2008," "is a Director, Managing Director and President of Ultima [Diamonds]," and "authorized the registration of Global [Jewellery]" (Am. Compl. ¶ 6). Finally, Key Items alleges that Ultima Diamonds and the Global Defendants are all Ontario corporations, share the same address, and were involved in the transaction that is the subject of the complaint (Am. Compl. ¶ 8).

B. Proceedings to Date

and the Pending Motion

Key Items commenced this action on April 13, 2009. In its original Complaint, Key Items alleged breach of contract and account stated claims against all defendants (Docket Item 1). By an Opinion and Order dated August 17, 2010 (Docket Item 26), I granted the Global Defendants motion to dismiss the claims against them and denied Key Items' motion to amend the complaint without prejudice.

The proposed Amended Complaint*fn2 asserts claims for breach of contract and an account stated against Ultima Diamonds only. With respect to Maierovitz and the Global Defendants, the proposed Amended Complaint would add claims for: (1) tortious interference with contractual relations, and (2) alter ego liability. The Global Defendants have opposed the motion, while defendants Ultima Diamonds and Maierovitz have not.

III. Analysis

A. Standards Applicable to Motions to Amend the Pleadings

The standards applicable to a motion to amend a pleading are well settled and require only brief review. In general, a motion to amend is governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a), which provides that leave to amend should be freely granted when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 200 (2d Cir. 2007); Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Aniero Concrete Co., 404 F.3d 566, 603 (2d Cir. 2005); Dluhos v. Floating & Abandoned Vessel, Known as "New York", 162 F.3d 63, 69 (2d Cir. 1998); Gumer v. Shearson, Hammill & Co., 516 F.2d 283, 287 (2d Cir. 1974); Aniero Concrete Co. v. New York City Constr. Auth., 94 Civ. 9111 (CSH), 1998 WL 148324 at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 1998) (Haight, D.J.), aff'd sub nom., Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Aniero Concrete Co., 404 F.3d 566 (2d Cir. 2005). "Nonetheless, the Court may deny leave if the amendment (1) has been delayed unduly, (2) is sought for dilatory purposes or is made in bad faith, (3) the opposing party would be prejudiced, or (4) would be futile." Lee v. Regal Cruises, Ltd., 916 F. Supp. 300, 303 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (Kaplan, D.J.), aff'd, 116 F.3d 465 (2d Cir. 1997); see McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., supra, 482 F.3d at 200; Ellis v. Chao, 336 F.3d 114, 126-27 (2d Cir. 2003); Montefiore Med. Ctr. v. Am. Prot. Ins. Co., 00 Civ. 3235 (LTS)(MHD), 2003 WL 21108261 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. May 14, 2003) (Swain, D.J.); Am. Home Assur. Co. v. Jacky Maeder (Hong Kong) Ltd., 969 F. Supp. 184, 187-88 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (Kaplan, D.J.).

A proposed amendment is futile when it fails to state a claim. Health-Chem Corp. v. Baker, 915 F.2d 805, 810 (2d Cir. 1990); Mina Inv. Holdings Ltd. v. Lefkowitz, 184 F.R.D. 245, 257 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) (Sweet, D.J.); Parker v. Sony Pictures Entm't, Inc., 19 F. Supp. 2d 141, 156 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) (Kaplan, D.J.), aff'd in pertinent part, vacated in part on other grounds sub nom., Parker v. Columbia Pictures Indus., 204 F.3d 326 (2d Cir. 2000); Yaba v. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, 931 F. Supp. 271, 274 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (Koeltl, D.J.); Prudential Ins. Co. v. BMC Indus., Inc., 655 F. Supp. 710, 711 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) (Sweet, D.J.); see generally Dluhos v. Floating & Abandoned Vessel Known as "New York", supra, 162 F.3d at 69-70. The party opposing the amendment has the burden of demonstrating that leave to amend would be futile. Staskowski v. Cnty. of Nassau, 05 Civ. 5984 (SJF)(WDW), 2007 WL 4198341 at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 2007); see also Lugosch v. Congel, No. 00 Civ. 784 (RFT), 2002 WL 1001003 at *1 (N.D.N.Y. May 14, 2002).

Leave to amend may be denied as futile "where the claim or defense proposed to be added has no colorable merit." Oliver v. DeMarinis & Co., 90 Civ. 7950 (SS), 1993 WL 33421 at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 29, 1993) (inner quotations omitted) (Lee, M.J.); see also Ryder Energy Distrib. Corp. v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 783 (2d Cir. 1984) (if the movant has "colorable grounds for relief," justice requires that leave to amend be granted in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, or prejudice). The "'colorable grounds' requirement mandates that a district court may not deny a motion for leave to amend a pleading [on futility grounds] when said pleading is sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)." Children First Found. Inc. v. Martinez, No. 04 Civ. 0927 (NPM), 2007 WL 4618524 at *5 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 27, 2007), citing in part Kassner v. 2nd Ave. Delicatessen, Inc., 496 F.3d 229, 244 (2d Cir. 2007); see also Estate of Ratcliffe v. Pradera Realty ...

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