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Peterson v. Outback Steakhouse, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 11, 2018

RENATA PETERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE, INC. and BLOOMIN' BRANDS, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT [ECF NO. 351

          Linda V. Parker, U.S. District Court Judge

         Plaintiff Renata Peterson commenced this action in Michigan state court alleging negligence against Defendants Outback Steakhouse, Inc. and Bloomin' Brands, Inc. (collectively "Defendants") for personal injuries that occurred at their premises. Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs motion to amend complaint, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 on October 17, 2017. (ECF No. 38.) For the reasons that follow, the Court grants Plaintiffs motion.

         I. Background

         On or about May 30, 2014, Plaintiff slipped and fell in a parking lot allegedly owned and operated by Defendants. (ECF No. 1-2 at Pg ID 11.) According to Plaintiff, grease had accumulated next to an underground grease trap system, which caused Plaintiff to fall and suffer severe injuries. (Id. at Pg ID 11- 12.) Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants in the Circuit Court for the County of Macomb on October 8, 2015. (ECF No. 1 at Pg ID 2.) Defendants filed a Notice of Removal to this Court on November 12, 2015.

         On October 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint to name the proper party. (ECF No. 35.) Defendant filed a response on October 17, 2017, arguing undue delay and prejudice, among other things.

         II. Applicable Law

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) instructs the courts to "freely grant[]" leave to amend "where justice so requires." This is because, as the Supreme Court has advised, "[i]f the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a proper subject of relief, he ought to be afforded an opportunity to test his claim on the merits." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). However, a motion to amend a complaint should be denied if the amendment is brought in bad faith or for dilatory purposes, results in undue delay or prejudice to the opposing party, or would be futile. Id. An amendment is futile when the proposed amendment fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and thus is subject to dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Rose v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co., 203 F.3d 417, 420 (6th Cir. 2000).

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c):

An amendment to a pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading when:
(A) the law that provides the applicable statute of limitations allows relation back;
(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out-or attempted to be set out-in the original pleading; or
(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:
(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and
(ii) knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake concerning the ...

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