United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER RE: MOTION TO AMEND ANSWER
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Mark A. Frayne and Anne Cournoyer (“defendants”)
have filed a motion seeking to amend their Answer to add the
affirmative defense of release. [Doc. #53]. For the reasons
set forth herein, the Court GRANTS
defendants' Motion to Amend. [Doc. #53].
commenced this action on April 4, 2016, seeking damages
stemming from the allegedly improper administration of
medication. See Doc. #1. The discovery and dispositive motion
deadlines have passed, and a jury trial has been scheduled
for April 3, 2018, with the pretrial memorandum due by
February 28, 2018. See Doc. #51.
October 13, 2017, counsel for defendants discovered that
plaintiff and the State of Connecticut had executed a
Settlement Agreement and Release (“Agreement”) on
February 28, 2017, to resolve plaintiff's prior civil
action captioned Jonathan Moralez v. Captain Johnson, et al.,
3:15CV1098(JCH). See Doc. ##61 at 2, 61-2 at 2-6. The
Agreement contains a release, which states, in relevant part:
The plaintiff ... does herewith forever discharge and release
... the State of Connecticut ... from any and all actions;
causes of action, suits, claims, controversies, damages and
demands of every nature and kind ... which he had or now has
or may hereafter can, shall or may have, for, upon, or by
reason of any matter, cause or thing whatsoever from the
beginning of the world to the date of this agreement[.]
Doc. #61-2 at 3-4.
defendants filed a motion on October 23, 2017, requesting
leave to amend their answer to add the affirmative defense of
release. See Doc. #53. Counsel for defendants asserts that
she “recently became aware of a Settlement Agreement
and Release executed between the plaintiff Jonathan Moralez
and the State of Connecticut that completely discharges this
action.” Id. at 2. On November 9, 2017,
plaintiff filed a response opposing the motion because
defendants failed to offer a reasonable justification for the
delay in moving to amend and the delay prejudiced plaintiff.
See Doc. #60 at 1. On November 8, 2017, the Court entered an
Order requiring defendants to “file a copy of the
relevant settlement agreement on the docket, along with a
representation of how and when counsel for defendants learned
of its existence[, ]” Doc. #59, which defendants
complied with on November 13, 2017, see Doc. #61.
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
the court “should freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. However,
“it 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).
“A district court has discretion to deny leave for good
reason, including futility, bad faith, undue delay, or undue
prejudice to the opposing party.” Id.
Nevertheless, “[i]n general, it is a rare event when
such leave should be denied.” Tavares v. Lawrence &
Mem'l Hosp., No. 3:11CV770(CSH), 2013 WL 1385266, at *2
(D. Conn. Apr. 3, 2013) (quotation marks and citation
the factors that would constitute good reason to deny
defendants leave to amend are present in this instance.
Plaintiff makes no claim that defendants have acted in bad
faith, or that the amendment would be futile. See Doc. #60.
However, plaintiff asks the Court to deny the motion due to
(1) defendants' insufficient explanation for the delay in
moving to amend and (2) the prejudice the amendment would
cause plaintiff. Id.
Court is not persuaded that defendants' insufficient
explanation for their delay in seeking to amend their answer
is reason to deny the amendment. Although courts have
discretion to consider whether a satisfactory explanation is
offered for an inordinate delay, see Grace v. Rosenstock, 228
F.3d 40, 54 (2d Cir. 2000), such an explanation is
unnecessary in this instance because plaintiff concedes that
“the delay was not inordinately long” and
“there is no evidence that defendants intended
it[.]” Doc. #60 at 5. Accordingly, the Court does not
find that delay is a basis for denial of the motion to amend.
also asserts that he would be unduly prejudiced if the Court
grants leave to amend, because the current scheduling order
prevents him from questioning the drafter of the Agreement,
Assistant Attorney General Tom Davis, about the parties'
intent. See Doc. #60 at 6-7. To determine if plaintiff would
be unduly prejudiced, the Court considers “whether the
assertion of the new claim would: (i) require the opponent to
expend significant additional resources to conduct discovery
and prepare for trial; (ii) significantly delay the
resolution of the dispute; or (iii) prevent the plaintiff
from bringing a timely action in another jurisdiction.”
Block v. First Blood Assocs., 988 F.2d 344, 350 (2d Cir.
1993). Courts have also “denied leave to amend as