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Henson v. Naturmed, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 15, 2019

JAMES HENSON Plaintiff
v.
NATURMED, INC. D/B/A INSTITUTE FOR VIBRANT LIVING Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander, United States District Judge

         On April 17, 2018, plaintiff James Henson filed a class action suit against defendant NaturMed, Inc., d/b/a Institute for Vibrant Living (“NaturMed”). ECF 1 (“Complaint”). Plaintiff asserts several contract claims, tort claims, and a violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, Md. Code (2017 Repl. Vol., 2018 Supp.), §§ 13-301 et seq. of the Commercial Law Article. Id.

         This Memorandum resolves plaintiff's “Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint, for Joinder of Additional Parties, and to Amend the Scheduling Order” (ECF 24, the “Motion”), filed on December 5, 2018. NaturMed filed an opposition (ECF 25) as well as 17 exhibits that total over 200 pages. See ECF 25-1 to ECF 25-17. Henson did not reply. See Docket.

         In addition, I shall resolve defendant's motion to compel answers to interrogatories and the production of documents, filed on November 7, 2018. ECF 18. It is supported by a memorandum (ECF 18-1) (collectively, “Discovery Motion”) and exhibits. No. response has been filed.

         On March 11, 2019, NaturMed's attorneys asserted that NaturMed is now a dissolved corporation and moved to withdraw from the case. ECF 26. That motion was granted by an Order of the same date. ECF 27. Defendant, a corporation, has been advised of the need to secure counsel. ECF 28. But, to date, no attorney has appeared for the defendant. See Docket.

         A hearing is not necessary to resolve the motions. Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant plaintiff's Motion and deny defendant's Discovery Motion.

         I. Procedural Background

         As noted, suit was filed on April 17, 2018. ECF 1. Defendant filed its Answer on July 10, 2018. ECF 3.

         The Court held a telephone conference with counsel on August 22, 2018. See ECF 10; ECF 11. Thereafter, on August 27, 2018, counsel submitted a Joint Proposed Scheduling Order. ECF 12. I approved it on the same date. ECF 13. The Scheduling Order set a deadline of October 15, 2018, for joinder of parties and amendment of pleadings. Id.

         On October 31, 2018, plaintiff attempted to file a motion for leave to amend the Complaint, so as to join additional parties, and to amend the Scheduling Order. ECF 14. However, the Clerk advised that it was not properly filed. ECF 15. On November 4, 2018, plaintiff again sought to amend. ECF 16. Again, the Clerk advised that the filing was not properly made. ECF 16. Thereafter, on November 7, 2018, NaturMed filed its Discovery Motion. ECF 18.

         The Court held a status conference with counsel on November 15, 2018. See ECF 20; see also Docket. And, in an Order of November 16, 2018 (ECF 21), I directed plaintiff to submit his overdue discovery responses by November 25, 2018. I also directed plaintiff to submit a corrected motion to amend the complaint by November 30, 2018. Id.

         On December 3, 2018, plaintiff moved for leave to amend the complaint, but once again it was improperly filed. ECF 22. Two days later, on December 5, 2018, plaintiff properly filed the Motion, along with over 200 pages of exhibits. See ECF 24-3 to ECF 24-7. Of relevance here, plaintiff sought leave to add four parties, described by plaintiff as indispensable: (1) Bactolac Pharmaceutical, Inc. (“Bactolac”); (2) Independent Vital Life, LLC (“Independent Vital”); (3) HKW Capital Partners III, L.P. (“HKW Capital”); and (4) William Ruble. ECF 24 at 3, 8.

         As indicated, on March 11, 2019, counsel for NaturMed moved to withdraw (ECF 26) from the case. The ...


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