United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge
Beaudoin ("Beaudoin") has sued Accelerated
Logistics, LLC and Accelerated Services, LLC
("Accelerated"), alleging negligence, assault, and
battery. Currently pending before the court are three
motions. First, Beaudoin has filed a motion to amend the
complaint. Second, Beaudoin has filed a motion for sanctions
for the spoliation of evidence. Third, Accelerated has filed
a motion for summary judgment as to the counts of assault and
battery and the plea for punitive damages. For the reasons
stated below, Beaudoin's motion to amend the complaint
and her motion for sanctions for spoliation of evidence will
be denied, and Accelerated's motion for summary judgment
will be granted.
case arises out of an accident that occurred on February 9,
2017, in the Royal Farms parking lot at 1200 Ponca Street in
Baltimore, Maryland. (Compl. ¶ 7, ECF No. 2). Leonard
Moore ("Moore"), driving a tractor trailer owned by
Accelerated, and carrying nine vehicles, attempted to make a
left turn into traffic to leave the Royal Farms parking lot.
(Beaudoin Dep. 38:2-14, 40:8-22). Beaudoin was stopped behind
the tractor trailer when the trailer began backing up towards
her car. (Id. 40:3-5; 41:23, 42:15-16). Beaudoin
honked her horn and attempted to get the tractor trailer
driver's attention. (Beaudoin Aff. ¶ 2)., Despite
Beaudoin's efforts to attract Moore's attention, the
tractor trailer struck Beaudoin's car, crushing the front
of the vehicle. (Id.). Subsequently, the tractor
trailer left the parking lot. (Beaudoin Dep. 47:14). Beaudoin
brought suit against Accelerated alleging negligence,
assault, and battery. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-52). Beaudoin
seeks monetary relief, including punitive damages.
(Id. ¶¶ 26, 41, 52).
Motion to Amend the Complaint
moved to amend the complaint to add Leonard Moore as a
defendant, and to add causes for negligent hiring and
retention, negligent supervision and training, and negligent
entrustment. Because the deadline to amend the
pleadings set by the court's scheduling order has
expired, the court must conduct a two-step inquiry to
determine if amendment is appropriate: (1) has Beaudoin
satisfied the good cause standard set by Rule 16(b)?; and (2)
if Rule 16(b)'s strictures are satisfied, is amendment of
the complaint proper under Rule 15(a)? See Nourison Rug
Corp. v. Parvizian, 535 F.3d 295, 298-99 (4th Cir.
2008); Wonasue v. Univ. of Maryland Alumni
Ass'n, 295 F.R.D. 104, 106-07 (D. Md. 2013).
16(b)'s good cause standard "requires the party
seeking relief [to] show that the deadlines cannot reasonably
be met despite the party's diligence." McMillan
v. Cumberland Cty. Bd. of Educ, 734 Fed.Appx. 836, 845
(4th Cir. 2018) (quoting Cook v. Howard, 484 Fed.
App'x. 805, 815 (4th Cir. 2012)). "[T]he good-cause
standard will not be satisfied if the [district] court
concludes that the party seeking relief (or that party's
attorney) has not acted diligently in compliance with the
schedule." McMillan, 734 Fed.Appx. at 845
(quoting Cook, 484 Fed. App'x. at 815). The
facts the court should consider, include whether the
non-moving party could be prejudiced by the delay, the length
of the delay, and whether the movant acted in good faith.
Tawwaab v. Va. Linen Serv., Inc., 729 F.Supp.2d 757,
768-69 (D. Md. 2010).
15(a)(2) holds that a court should "freely give leave
[to amend] when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). "[D]enial of leave to amend is appropriate
when (1) the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing
party; (2) there has been bad faith on the part of the moving
party; or (3) the amendment would have been futile."
Drager v. PLIVA USA, Inc., 74.1 F.3d 470, 474 (4th
has not established good cause to amend the complaint. Even
though the court set a February 12, 2018, deadline for
joinder of additional parties and amendment of the pleadings,
(Scheduling Order, ECF No. 11), Beaudoin did not move to
amend the complaint until May 3, 2018, (Pl.'s Mot. to
Amend Compl., ECF No. 15). Beaudoin explained this delay by
noting that though she received a copy of Moore's
employment application, including his background check, Motor
Vehicle Record, and Pre-Employment Screening Program Report
("PSP Report") on January 31, 2018, it was not
readable, and a clearer version was not produced by
Accelerated until April 30, 2018. (Pl.'s Reply, Mot. to
Amend Compl. at 3, ECF No. 23). Further, Beaudoin did not
receive a copy of Accelerated's hiring guidelines and
procedures until May 4, 2018. (Id. at 1-2). And
Beaudoin alleged that facts relevant to her proposed
additional causes of action did not come to light until
Moore's deposition on April 17, 2018. (Id. at
4). Beaudoin's arguments are not convincing.
Report, produced on January 31, 2018, clearly denotes
Moore's previous driving infractions, including speeding,
driving beyond the federal 14-hour duty period, and driving a
Commercial Motor Vehicle while disqualified. (PSP Report, Ex.
9 at 2-3, EGF No. 18-9). Therefore, even if Beaudoin did not
receive a readable-copy of Moore's employment application
until April 30, 2018, she was on notice by January 31, 2018
that Moore's driving record was far from pristine.
Cf. Wcmasue, 295 F.RD. at 108 (finding the plaintiff
did not act in good faith when she claimed to have learned
facts for the first time in a deposition, but had previously
received a personnel file which included the relevant facts).
Beaudoin's notice of these facts prionto the deadline set
by the court's scheduling order distinguishes this case
from cases where leave to amend has been granted because
entirely new evidence came to light after the scheduling
order deadline. See Tawwaab, 729 F.Supp.2d at 770
(good cause to amend found because documents and depositions
containing the relevant evidence were not produced or
conducted, respectively, until several months after the
scheduling order deadline).
alleges that several new facts-beyond the blemishes
on.Moore's driving record-came to light during
Moore's deposition. Specifically, that: Accelerated never
questioned Moore about discrepancies between his job
application and the violations listed in the PSP report;
Accelerated never questioned Moore about the suspension of
his license; Accelerated never interviewed Moore before
hiring him; and Accelerated did not train Moore upon hiring
And Beaudoin emphasizes that she did not receive
Accelerated's hiring guidelines and procedures until
after the deadline set by the scheduling order. But a
"party need not wait on evidentiary
'confirmation' before pleading a claim for which it
has a reasonable, good-faith basis." United States
v. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co., No. JKB-14-2148,
2016 WL 386218, at *6 (D. Md. Feb. 2, 2016). The PSP Report
provided the requisite factual predicates for the claims of
negligent hiring and retention, negligent supervision and
training, and negligent entrustment that Beaudoin now seeks
to add. The additional facts that came to light during
Moore's deposition may have colored these claims, but
they are by no means necessary prerequisites. And if Beaudoin
believed she could not assert these claims without first
reviewing Accelerated's hiring guidelines and practices
she could have moved to extend the deadline for amendment of
pleadings. See Hartford Accident, 2016 WL 386218, at
*6. Because Beaudoin received information about Moore's
history of driving infractions before the deadline set to
amend the pleadings, the court finds Beaudoin did not act
diligently in complying with the scheduling order.
even if the Rule 16(b)'s good cause standard was
satisfied; amendment would be denied under Rule 15(a) because
it would unduly prejudice the defendants. "Whether an
amendment is prejudicial will often be determined by the
nature of the amendment and its timing." Laber v.
Harvey,438 F.3d 404, 427 (4th Cir. 2006). "[T]he
further the case progressed before judgment was entered, the
more likely it is that the amendment will prejudice the
defendant." Id; see also May field v. Nat'l
Ass'n for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., 674 F.3d 369,
379 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting Matrix CapitalMgmt. Fund, LP
v. BearingPoint, Inc.,576 F.3d 172, 193 (4th Cir.
2009)). Beaudoin did not file her motion to amend until six
days before the close of discovery. (Scheduling Order at 2,
ECF No. 11). And Accelerated has agreed to stipulate to
liability-admitting that Moore, driving within the scope of
his employment, negligently . operated a tractor trailer and
struck Beaudoin's ...