United States District Court, D. Maryland
LIPTON HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
tort case was filed on December 11, 2016, in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City, by plaintiff Garth White, Jr. ECF
2. It pertains to an incident that occurred on December 19,
2013. Id. Defendant Date Trucking, LLC removed the
case to this Court on April 28, 2017, based on diversity
jurisdiction. ECF 1. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Several motions are pending, and no hearing is needed to
resolve them. See Local Rule 105.6.
has moved (ECF 33, “Motion”) to modify the
Court's current Scheduling Order. See ECF 30. On
the same date that defendant filed the Motion, it also filed
a motion to shorten plaintiff's time to respond to the
Motion. ECF 34. In particular, both motions were submitted on
February 17, 2018, the Saturday of a three-day holiday
weekend. The Motion seeks to extend by four months the
Scheduling Order's current deadlines, one of which is
February 22, 2018. On that date, defendant's Rule
26(a)(2) disclosures are due. ECF 30. Defendant seeks to give
plaintiff, who opposes the Motion (see ECF 33,
¶ 13), only until February 21, 2018, to respond. ECF 34
outset, plaintiff's opposition to an extension is
difficult to understand, given that this Court has, at
plaintiff's request, previously modified the original
Scheduling Order (ECF 13) by a comparable amount of time,
following plaintiff counsel's entry of appearance in the
case in October 2017, several months after suit was filed.
See ECF 20; ECF 21. Still, the additional four month
extension requested by defendant seems excessive. Defendant
asserts, among other things, that “the
neuropsychologist select [sic] by the Defendant
cannot schedule evaluation and testing until June
2018.” ECF 33, ¶ 9. But, defendant offers no
explanation for this delay, or for why this specific
neuropsychologist is essential to its case.
by March 2, 2018, counsel are directed either to submit a
proposed revised Scheduling Order reflecting an extension of
three months for discovery, or show cause why such an
extension would be (a) improper, or (b) inadequate. Until
then, I shall stay the current Scheduling Order (ECF 30), and
I shall deny ECF 34, as moot.
pending is plaintiff's motion for leave to file an
amended complaint, filed December 6, 2017. ECF 31
(“Motion to Amend”). The proposed Amended
Complaint adds two new defendants: Kevin Grantland, a truck
driver, and Kevin Grantland, Inc., Grantland's corporate
alter ego. See ECF 31-4. Defendant opposes the
Motion to Amend (ECF 32), with exhibits. Plaintiff did not
cases, Maryland applies the doctrine of lex loci
delecti, i.e., the law of the jurisdiction
where the alleged wrong occurred. Lewis v. Waletzky,
422 Md. 647, 657, 31 A.3d 123, 129 (2011); Erie Ins.
Exch. v. Heffernan, 399 Md. 598, 620, 925 A.2d 636, 648
(2007); Kortobi v. Kass, 182 Md.App. 424, 443, 957
A.2d 1128, 1139 (2008), aff'd, 410 Md.
168, 978 A.2d 247 (2009). As the underlying incident occurred
in Maryland (see ECF 2, ¶ 2), it is
Maryland's substantive law that applies here.
Maryland law, the statute of limitations for a negligence
action is generally three years. See Md. Code (2013
Repl. Vol.), § 5-101 of the Courts and Judicial
Proceedings Article (“C.J.”). C.J. § 5-101
provides, in part: “A civil action at law shall be
filed within three years from the date it accrues unless
another provision of the Code provides a different period. .
. .” Plaintiff alleges that he was harmed on December
19, 2013, when a load bar fell on him. ECF 2, ¶ 3.
Accordingly, his claim accrued at that time. Given that the
three-year statute of limitations has therefore expired, the
question is whether the addition of two new defendants would
relate back to the initial filing of the Complaint.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c).
certain circumstances, a court must treat an amended
complaint as if it were filed on the date of the initial
complaint. This convention is known as “relation
back.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). If the
amendment relates back, it should be allowed under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). If it does not, the claims against the
new defendants are barred, as untimely.
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c)(1)(A), an amendment can relate back if
“the law that provides the applicable statute of
limitations allows relation back.” Because this is a
diversity case, and Maryland law applies, plaintiff's new
claims may relate back if Maryland's statute of
limitations so allows. But, under Maryland law, “[a]
plaintiff is not permitted to add a new defendant to a case
after the limitations period has expired except to correct
the name of a defendant.” Hansberger v. Smith,
229 Md.App. 1, 23, 142 A.3d 679, 692, cert. denied,
450 Md. 430, 149 A.3d 552 (2016) (citations omitted); see
also Poole v. Coakley & Williams Const., Inc., 423 Md.
91, 130 n.18, 31 A.3d 212, 235 (2011). Here, plaintiff seeks
not just to correct a name, but to add two entirely new
parties. Therefore, Rule 15(c)(1)(A) does not allow the
under Rule 15(C)(1)(c), an amendment that “changes the
party or the naming of the party” to a suit relates
back “to the date of the original pleading, ” if:
Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period
provided by Rule 4(m) for serving summons and complaint, the
party to be brought in by amendment: (i) received such notice
of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on
the merits; and (ii) knew or should have known that the
action would have been ...