Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint and for Leave to Add a Party Defendant  is denied in substantial part, and granted in limited part.
O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
On April 29, 2009, Plaintiff Jack Deschauer ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint for legal malpractice against Defendant Michael Talbett ("Defendant"). Before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) to add additional breaches committed by Defendant, to correct a mistaken citation to a lease provision, and to add a party defendant: Amoco Oil Company/BP North America, Inc. ("BP"). For the following reasons, the Court denies the motion in substantial part and grants the motion in limited part.
"Although Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) instructs that leave to amend shall be freely given 'when justice so requires,' a district court may deny a plaintiff leave to amend if 'there is undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive.'" Sound of Music Co. v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 477 F.3d 910, 922 (7th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). The Court may also deny a plaintiff's motion for leave to amend if "undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [or] futility of amendment" would occur. Id. at 922-23 (citations omitted). In other words, "leave to amend is not automatically granted, and may be properly denied at the district court's discretion for reasons including undue delay, the movant's bad faith, and undue prejudice to the opposing party." Crest Hill Land Dev., LLC v. City of Joliet, 396 F.3d 801, 804 (7th Cir. 2005); see also Guise v. BWM Mortgage, LLC, 377 F.3d 795, 801 (7th Cir. 2004) ("district court's decision to grant or deny a motion for leave to file an amended pleading is 'a matter purely within the sound discretion of the district court.'") (citation omitted).
Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant for legal malpractice on April 29, 2009, which he now seeks to amend. In the initial complaint, Plaintiff alleged that in late 2006 or early 2007, he entered into an oral agreement with Defendant pursuant to which Defendant agreed to represent Plaintiff in a real estate transaction.
(R. 1, Compl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff further alleged that in February 2007, Defendant oversaw an agreement to lease a property to Angelos Lake Zurich, LLC ("Zurich LLC") for a term of 20 years. (Id. at ¶ 9.) According to Plaintiff, Mr. Spiro Angelos, who controlled Zurich LLC, made a personal guarantee of the lease during negotiations that Defendant failed to document. (Id. at ¶ 13.) After entering into the lease, Mr. Angelos made rent payments to Plaintiff at a reduced rate for six months. (Id. at ¶ 13.) On January 22, 2008, however, Zurich LLC terminated the lease agreement because it had not received the ALTA Survey of the Premises ("Survey") pursuant to paragraph 5 of the lease and because BP had no interest in proactively pursuing a No Further Remediation Letter ("NFR"). (Id. at ¶¶ 10,11; Ex 2, pp. 2-3.) In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant was responsible for providing Zurich LLC with the documents specified in the lease. (R. 1, Compl. ¶ 12.) Moreover, Plaintiff alleged that Zurich LLC was estopped or otherwise prohibited by its conduct from terminating the lease and that had Defendant informed him of this, Plaintiff would have sued Zurich LLC. (Id. at ¶ 14.) Instead, according to the complaint, Plaintiff entered into a contract to sell the property to Zurich LLC. (Id)Zurich LLC walked away from the purchase, however, because the land trustee, and not Zurich LLC, signed the sales contract. (Id.) Finally, Plaintiff also alleged that since Defendant did not secure Mr. Angelos' guarantee in writing, Plaintiff could only seek damages from Zurich LLC, a dissolved corporation. (Id. at ¶ 15.)
The Court initially scheduled the close of fact discovery for January 29, 2010. The Court extended the fact discovery cutoff three times: (i) on December 17, 2009 to March 29, 2010, (ii) on March 25, 2010 to May 6, 2010, and (iii) on April 22, 2010 to June 7, 2010. On June 17, 2010, after the close of discovery on June 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed the current motion for leave to file an amended complaint seeking to add additional breaches allegedly committed by Defendant, to correct a mistaken citation to a lease provision, and to add BP as a party defendant. In his motion, Plaintiff contends that he discovered the additional breaches by Defendant during the discovery process. Plaintiff further asserts that during the June 1, 2010 deposition of a BP corporate representative, he discovered information that raised the possibility that both Defendant and BP proximately caused the injuries suffered by Plaintiff. (R. 30, Pl.'s Mot. for Leave to Amend. Compl., ¶¶ 2, 6-7.) Plaintiff ...