Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Plaintiff May Not Amend Complaint Via Arguments in Brief Opposing Summary Judgment

From Lawshe v. Squeri, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3590 (D.N.J. Jan. 19, 2010):

Plaintiffs now state that they are bringing claims under the civil Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). (Pl. Opp'n at 18.) Plaintiffs argue that, because the RICO Act has a statute of limitations period that is longer than one year, their claims are not barred by the statute of limitations. (Id.)

The Court rejects this argument because Plaintiffs did not plead any civil RICO claims in their Complaint and a plaintiff "may not amend a complaint through arguments in his brief in opposition to a motion for summary judgment." Bell v. City of Philadelphia, 275 Fed Appx. 157, 160 (3d Cir. 2008). The proper procedure is for a plaintiff to amend his pleadings pursuant to Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id. Because parties may not raise claims or causes of action for the first time in briefs opposing summary judgment, the Court rejects Plaintiffs' attempt to do so now.

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