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FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. ADT SECURITY SYSTEMS

August 3, 2004.

FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, as subrogee of ALAN SINGER and BETH BRONNER, Plaintiff,
v.
ADT SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff, v. TIMOTHY GERDEMAN, Third-Party Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT GETTLEMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Federal Insurance Company, as subrogee of Alan Singer and Beth Bronner (together, the "Insureds"), initiated the instant suit by filing a one-count complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, against defendant ADT Security Systems, Inc. ("ADT"), seeking damages arising from defendant's alleged failure to maintain the fire detection system installed in the home of Timothy Gerdeman ("Gerdeman") that is next door to the Insured's townhome. After defendant removed the case to this court, plaintiff filed a first amended complaint that added its Insureds as additional plaintiffs and Gerdeman, the owner of the property where the fire detection system was installed and the fire started, as an additional defendant. The complaint also added a count against Gerdeman based on the contractual indemnity agreement between Gerdeman and ADT.*fn1 During a status hearing on June 8, 2004, before this court ruled on plaintiff's first motion for leave to amend, plaintiff filed a second motion for leave to amend its complaint to add a negligence claim against Gerdeman for failing to properly maintain the fire detection system installed in his home.

For the reasons stated herein, plaintiff's motions for leave to amend are granted as to the addition of its Insureds as additional plaintiffs and the addition of Gerdeman as an additional defendant. Plaintiff's motion is denied as to Count II of its second amended complaint regarding contractual indemnity. The case is remanded to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

  FACTS

  Plaintiff Federal Insurance Company ("FIC") is an Indiana corporation with its principal place of business in New Jersey, and is acting as subrogee of Alan Singer and Beth Bronner (together, the "Insureds"), individual residents of Cook County, Illinois. Defendant ADT Security Systems, Inc. ("ADT"), is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Florida that provided fire alarm signal and notification services for Gerdeman, an individual residing in Cook County, Illinois. Gerdeman and the Insureds reside in a townhome building and share a common wall between their homes. On April 14, 2003, a fire occurred at Gerdeman's residence, was undetected by the fire alarm service, and resulted in damage to the Insureds neighboring property. Plaintiff initiated the instant suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, alleging a single count of negligence against defendant ADT, which subsequently removed the action to this court based on complete diversity of the parties. On May 27, 2004, plaintiff moved to amend its original complaint to add its Insureds as additional plaintiffs to the action, and Gerdeman, on whose property the fire alarm system was installed and the fire started, as an additional defendant, adding a claim based on contractual indemnity against Gerdeman. Defendant then filed a third-party complaint for declaratory judgment against Gerdeman for indemnity on June 3, 2004. Before this court ruled on plaintiff's first motion for leave to amend, plaintiff sought leave to file a second amended complaint to add an additional claim of negligence against Gerdeman for failure to properly maintain his alarm system.

  DISCUSSION

  Plaintiff FIC has moved pursuant to Fed.R. Civ. P. 15(a) to amend its original complaint to add its Insureds, Alan Singer and Beth Bronner, as additional plaintiffs and to add Tim Gerdeman as an additional defendant, with additional claims based on the contractual indemnity agreement between defendant ADT and Gerdeman and on Gerdeman's negligent maintenance of his fire alarm system. The decision to grant a Rule 15(a) motion for leave to file an amended pleading is a matter "purely within the sound discretion of the district court" and shall be ...


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