United States District Court, D. Connecticut
AMICA MUTUAL INS. CO., Plaintiff,
WILHELM I. NOEL. et al., Defendants.
RULING RE MOTION TO AMEND (DOC. NO. 51)
C. HALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case closed on March 9, 2017. See Judgment (Doc. No.
50). Thereafter, on April 7, 2017, one of the defendants in
this action, Wilhelm I. Noel (“Noel”), pro
se, filed the instant Motion to Amend (Doc. No. 51). The
plaintiff, Amica Mutual Insurance Co. (“Amica”)
opposes the Motion. See Response (Doc. No. 52). The
Motion to Amend asks “the court to calculate and to add
to the amount awarded the pre-judgment interest and the
post-judgment interest, ” citing section 1961 of title
28 of the United States Code. The Motion to Amend is denied
because it is out of time and without merit.
filed this interpleader action after entering into a
settlement agreement with Noel in Connecticut state court.
See Ruling on Mot. to Transfer (Doc. No. 35) at 1.
Amica alleged that the state court ordered Amica to pay Noel
a certain sum, and that other defendants in this action had
liens on the settlement funds. See id. at 1. Amica
sought through this action to clarify and discharge its
obligations to the defendants. See id. at 1. On
March 9, 2017, this court entered Judgment. This court
declared that, upon Amica's payment of $165, 000 into
escrow, Amica's obligations under the settlement
agreement would be discharged. See Judgment at 2.
instant Motion is styled as a Motion to Amend. To the extent
that Noel seeks leave to amend a pleading, he is out of time.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15,
[A] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course
within[ ] 21 days after serving it, or, [ ] if the pleading
is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days
after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after
service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever
[ ] In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only
with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave. The court should freely give leave when
justice so requires.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1-2). “[I]t is within the sound
discretion of the district court to grant or deny leave to
amend.” McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet
Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 200 (2d Cir. 2007). In deciding
whether to grant leave to amend, the court considers such
factors as undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, undue
prejudice and futility of the amendment. See Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Here, the most recent
pleading filed by Noel was his February 8, 2017 Answer and
Response (Doc. No. 47). Noel's time to amend “as a
matter of course” expired on March 1, 2017.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(A). Amica, the “opposing party[,
]” does not “consent” to amendment.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); see also Response. Moreover,
“justice” does not “require[ ]”
amendment, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2), for reasons including that
amendment at this time, when the case has already closed,
would constitute “undue delay, ” Foman,
371 U.S. at 182.
on the wording of the Motion to Amend, however, it appears
that Noel does not truly seek to amend a pleading, but
rather, seeks relief from the court's Judgment. Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that, “[o]n
motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party [ ] from
a final judgment” for any of several reasons.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). “'In considering
whether a Rule 60(b)(6) motion is timely, we must scrutinize
the particular circumstances of the case, and balance the
interest in finality with the reasons for delay.'”
S.E.C. v. Durante, 641 F. App'x 73, 78 (2d Cir.
2016); (quoting PRC Harris, Inc. v. Boeing Co., 700
F.2d 894, 897 (2d Cir. 1983)). Here, Noel failed to raise his
section 1961 interest argument before the court entered
Judgment, and delayed approximately one month after Judgment
entered before filing the instant Motion. Noel's Motion
offers no “reasons for delay.” PRC
Harris, 700 F.2d at 897. Noel does not explain why he
did not bring his request for section 1961 interest to the
court's attention earlier. Moreover, the
“particular circumstances of the case” involve
frequent, unexcused delays by Noel. Id. at 897. Noel
“failed to respond to the court's first Order to
Show Cause” and “waited almost three months after
the extended deadline set by the court to file an
Answer.” Ruling Declining to Set Aside Default (Doc.
No. 48) at 1 (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted).
When ordered to show cause as to these two failures, Noel did
not provide any reason, but rather, purported to amend his
untimely Answer. See id. at 2. Additionally, Noel
failed to attend the in-court hearing in this matter-a
hearing which this court had scheduled due to Noel's
previous inability to attend a telephonic status
conference-and failed to respond to Amica's Motion for
Judgment. See Order to Def. (Doc. No. 46) at 3. In
“balanc[ing] the interest in finality with the reasons
for delay, ” the court thus concludes that the Motion
is untimely under Rule 60. PRC Harris, 700 F.2d at
extent that Noel seeks reconsideration of a decision other
than the Judgment, he is similarly out of time. District of
Connecticut Local Rule 7(c) provides an avenue for filing
Motions for Reconsideration. Parties must file and serve such
motions within seven days of the ruling from which relief is
sought. D. Conn. Civ. R. 7(c)(1). All Rulings in this case,
and the Judgment, were issued more than seven days prior to
the instant Motion to Amend.
the argument underlying Noel's Motion is meritless. The
Motion asks “the court to calculate and to add to the
amount awarded the pre-judgment interest and the
post-judgment interest, ” citing section 1961 of title
28 of the United States Code. Section 1961 provides for
interest “on any money judgment in a civil case
recovered in a district court.” 28 U.S.C. §
1961(a). Here, Noel has not “recovered”
“any money judgment” “in a district
court.” Id. Rather, this court entered
judgment in Amica's favor. See Ruling Declining
to Set Aside Default at 6 (granting Amica's requested
relief). To the extent that this case results in Noel
receiving money, that is merely because the court has granted
Amica's request to clarify, and to allow Amica to
discharge, preexisting obligations. Section 1961 thus does
there is no legal basis to the request in Noel's Motion
to Amend, amendment of any of Noel's pleadings to add
this argument would be futile. See Foman, 371 U.S.
at 182. Similarly, were the court to reconsider its final
Judgment, the court would reaffirm its previous decision and
would deny the relief requested in Noel's Motion to
Amend. Moreover, Noel has failed to show that any of the
grounds for relief from judgment outlined in Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60 apply here. For instance, Noel has not
shown that the Judgment involves any ...