Irwin v. Belimed Inc, CAUSE NO. 1:10-CV-364

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
Writing for the CourtRoger B. Cosbey
Docket NumberCAUSE NO. 1:10-CV-364
PartiesCINDY IRWIN, Plaintiff, v. BELIMED, INC., Defendant.
Decision Date14 January 2011

CINDY IRWIN, Plaintiff,
BELIMED, INC., Defendant.

CAUSE NO. 1:10-CV-364


Dated: January 14, 2011



Before the Court in this product liability action is a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) filed by Defendant Belimed, Inc. (Docket # 16.) Plaintiff Cindy Irwin contests Belimed's motion and also moves to amend her complaint (Docket # 25), which Belimed opposes.1

After considering the motions and the relevant law, the Court finds that Irwin's motion to amend should be GRANTED, and that Belimed's motion for judgment on the pleadings should be DENIED.


On July 12, 2010, Irwin filed a complaint against Belimed in Allen County Superior Court alleging claims of product liability, negligence, and breach of express and implied warranties. (Docket # 1.) The suit is a result of a slip-and-fall injury Irwin sustained while she was operating a leaky washing machine manufactured by Belimed at her place of employment,

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Parkview Hospital. (Docket # 1.) Belimed later removed the case to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Docket # 2.) On November 11, 2010, the parties stipulated to a dismissal with prejudice of Irwin's negligence and breach of warranties claims, leaving only her product liability claim remaining. (Docket # 10, 12.)

On November 30, 2010, the Court conducted a scheduling conference with the parties, setting a discovery deadline of September 2, 2011. (Docket # 13.) The Court also set a deadline of February 25, 2011, for any amendments to the pleadings. (Docket # 11, 13.)

On December 6, 2010, Belimed filed the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings, alleging that Irwin's complaint fails to state a product liability claim. (Docket # 16.) On December 20, 2010, Irwin filed a response opposing Belimed's motion, together with a motion to amend her complaint. (Docket # 24, 25.) Belimed then timely filed a reply to its motion for judgment on the pleadings and a response opposing Irwin's motion to amend. (Docket # 27, 28.) Irwin filed a reply to her motion to amend, to which Belimed filed a sur-reply with leave of Court. (Docket # 29, 32.) Irwin then timely filed a sur-sur-reply. (Docket # 33.)

As the motions are now fully briefed, the Court will first turn to Irwin's motion to amend her complaint.


A. Applicable Legal Standard

A party may amend a pleading once as a matter of course within twenty-one days of serving it; or may amend twenty-one days after service of a responsive pleading, or a Rule 12(b), (e), or (f) motion, whichever is earlier. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). Otherwise, a party may amend only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Leave

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to amend is freely given when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). The right to amend, however, is not absolute, Brunt v. Serv. Employees Int'l Union, 284 F.3d 715, 720 (7th Cir. 2002), and can be denied for undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, prejudice, or futility. Ind. Funeral Dir. Ins. Trust v. Trustmark Ins. Corp., 347 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2003); see GE Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp, 128 F.3d 1074, 1085 (7th Cir. 1997) ("The opportunity to amend a complaint is futile if the complaint, as amended, would fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted." (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)).

B. Analysis

Here, Irwin's proposed amended complaint does not advance any new claims, rather it simply sets forth additional facts. Irwin explains that she learned these new facts when conducting "informal discovery", which included interviewing a representative of Parkview Hospital. (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Am. 3.)

Belimed opposes Irwin's motion to amend, however, claiming that it is a futility; more specifically, Belimed contends that Irwin's proposed amended complaint (1) fails to adequately plead a claim for product liability; and (2) attempts to revive claims already dismissed with prejudice and thus barred by res judicata. (Resp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Am. Compl. 1.)

1. The Proposed Amended Complaint Sets Forth a Claim for Which Relief Can Be Granted

To begin, "[t]here are no special pleading requirements for product liability claims...." Bausch v. Stryker Corp., __ F.3d __, 2010 WL 5186062, at *10 (7th Cir. Dec. 23, 2010). "The federal standard of notice pleading applies, so long as the plaintiff alleges facts sufficient to meet the new 'plausibility' standard applied in [Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009),] and [Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)]." Id. To survive a motion to dismiss, the

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complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

In her proposed...

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