United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
P. GESNER CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending are Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second
Amended Complaint ("Motion") (ECF No. 43),
Defendants Master Systems Automotive, Inc. and Main Street
America Assurance Company's Opposition to Plaintiff's
Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint
("Opposition”) (ECF No. 44), and Reply to
Defendants Main Street America and Master Systems'
Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second
Amended Complaint ("Reply") (ECF No. 45). For the
reasons discussed below, the Motion (ECF No. 43) is granted
in part and denied in part.
proposed Second Amended Complaint, plaintiff seeks to add an
additional party, Ana Patricia Morales, who allegedly caused
the bodily injury and property damage suffered by Matthew
Anders whose claims have given rise to the instant dispute
regarding insurance coverage for those claims. (ECF 43-2 at
¶ 11). Plaintiff also seeks to add a Second Count to the
Complaint entitled "Declaration of Main Street
America's Coverage, " which seeks a declaration that
Main Street America ("MSA"), which is already a
party to this action, cannot exclude coverage under its
policy for the claims at issue in this case. (Id. at
¶ ¶ 25-31). Defendant MSA opposes the amendment to
add a Second Count, asserting that plaintiff does not have
prudential standing to assert the proposed claim because it
seeks to adjudicate "what other insurers are required to
do for their insureds, not about what they are required to
do" for plaintiff. (ECF No. 44 at 6). In its Reply,
plaintiff asserts that the proposed amendment is appropriate
because of the interrelationship between the policies at
issue in this case (ECF No. 45 at 1-3) and, further, that
resolving the coverage issues as to the rights and
obligations of all parties in this action is in the interest
of judicial economy and avoids piecemeal litigation.
(Id. at 4).
neither party addresses the legal standard for amendment of
pleadings, the court notes that Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(a) provides that a “party may amend its
pleading once as a matter of course” either twenty-one
days after serving it or within twenty-one days after service
of a responsive pleading or a motion under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b), (e), or (f). Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a).
Outside of this time period, amending a pleading requires
either the consent of the opposing party or leave of court.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Generally, the "court should
freely give leave when justice so requires."
Id. A court should deny leave to amend if amendment
would prejudice the opposing party, reward bad faith on the
part of the moving party, or amount to futility. Laber v.
Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 426 (4th Cir. 2006).
Here, MSA does not address the applicable legal standard and
does not argue that it is prejudiced by the amendment or that
plaintiff is acting in bad faith. Instead, MSA argues that
plaintiff does not have standing to assert the proposed claim
which presumably leads to the conclusion that the amendment
would be futile because it could not survive a motion to
challenge to the proposed amendment is that plaintiff does
not have prudential standing to assert the claim because it
seeks to assert the claims of a third party, rather than its
own claims. (ECF No. 44 at 5). MSA, in its Opposition, relies
primarily on Lancer Ins. Co. v. Harleysville Mut.
Ins., 108 F.Supp.3d 275 (E.D. Pa. 2015) in which the
plaintiff insurance company sought a declaration that two
other insurance companies also owed coverage to the tort
defendants and, therefore, had to defend and indemnify them
in the underlying lawsuit. The Lancer court denied
the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, and
sua sponte dismissed the case, without prejudice, on
the grounds that the plaintiff lacked prudential standing.
Id. at 279. Plaintiff, in its Reply, relies on cases
that involve either lawsuits brought by one insurance company
against another insurance company, seeking contribution for a
judgment entered against it, or cases involving primary
versus excess coverage liability issues. Neither of those
factual scenarios is present here.
plaintiff, similar to the insurance company in
Lancer, is seeking a declaration that a third party
insurance company is required to defend and indemnify its
insured under its policy. In order to satisfy prudential
standing requirements, a party must assert its “own
legal interests rather than those of third parties.”
Lancer, 108 F.Supp.3d at 278 (quoting Phillips
Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U.S. 797, 804 (1985)).
Plaintiff here is asserting the rights of a third party and
is seeking “a declaration about what other insurers are
required to do for their insureds, not about what they are
required to do” for plaintiff. Lancer, 108
F.Supp.3d at 278. Because plaintiff has not articulated a
viable claim asserting its own legal interests against MSA,
it does not have standing and, therefore, the amendment would
be futile. Accordingly, plaintiff's Motion is denied
insofar as it seeks to add Count II.
relates to the addition of Ana Patricia Morales in the Second
Amended Complaint, there has been no objection by defendants
on that ground. Accordingly, plaintiff's Motion is
granted with respect to the addition of Ana Patricia Morales
as a defendant in this case.
is directed to prepare a Second Amended Complaint consistent
with this Memorandum and Order and serve it on Ana Patricia
Morales in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil
foregoing reasons, plaintiff's Motion (ECF No. 43) is