Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint after Adverse Judgment Not Decided under Liberal Standards of Rule 15 But Stricter Requirements of Rule 59 or 60

C & L Ward Bros. Co. v. Outsource Solutions, Inc., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 24468 (6th Cir. Dec. 3, 2013):


Ward claims that the district court should have granted its motion to amend the complaint brought in its Motion for Post-Judgment Relief, due to the liberal standard mandated by Rule 15, which states that "[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). We review a district court's denial of a motion for leave to amend for abuse of discretion. Evans v. Pearson Enters., Inc., 434 F.3d 839, 853 (6th Cir. 2006).

The district court appropriately denied the Rule 15 motion, because, "[w]hen a party seeks to amend a complaint after an adverse judgment, it [] must shoulder a heavier burden. Instead of meeting only the modest requirements of Rule 15, the claimant must meet the requirements for reopening a case established by Rules 59 or 60."  Leisure Caviar, LLC v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 616 F.3d 612, 616 (6th Cir. 2010). Therefore, after the district court dismissed Ward's initial action, "the court must first reopen their case in order to grant leave to . . . submit an amended complaint." In re Ferro Corp. Derivative Litig., 511 F.3d 611, 624 (6th Cir. 2008). After dismissing the case, the district court here never reopened the case pursuant to Rules 59 or 60, so it did not abuse its discretion in denying the Rule 15 motion. Id.


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