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Allstate Ins Co v. St. Anthony's Spine & Joint Inst

August 17, 2010

ALLSTATE INS CO
v.
ST. ANTHONY'S SPINE & JOINT INST ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint [222] is granted. Plaintiff is to file its amended complaint by 8/24/10.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Before the Court is Plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint. In its motion, Plaintiff seeks to amend its complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) to add a count pursuant to the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, 740 ILCS 160/1 et seq. ("UFTA"), and to join Fidencio Chaidez, John D'Souza and Bernadine D'Souza as defendants. Defendants St. Anthony's Spine & Joint Institute, P.C., Melvin D'Souza, et al. ("Defendants") oppose the motion as futile. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed its complaint on December 19, 2006. On February 2, 2010, the Court denied the majority of Defendant's motion for summary judgment. On March 17, 2010, the Court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Denlow for a settlement conference. During preparation for the settlement conference, Plaintiff learned that Defendant had transferred four real estate properties to his relatives during the pendency of this lawsuit. On June 3, 2010, the parties participated in a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Denlow, but were unable to reach settlement. On June 24, 2010, Plaintiff filed its motion for leave to amend the complaint.

LEGAL STANDARDS

I. Motion to Amend

"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 [party] 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 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).

II. Motion to Dismiss

"A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). As the Seventh Circuit recently explained, this "[r]ule reflects a liberal notice pleading regime, which is intended to 'focus litigation on the merits of a claim' rather than on technicalities that might keep plaintiffs out of court." Brooks v. Ross, 578F.3d 574, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514, 122 S.Ct. 992, 152 L.Ed. 2d 1 (2002)). This short and plain statement must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed. 2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed. 2d 80 (1957)). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); see also Cooney v. Rossiter, 583 F.3d 967, 971 (7th Cir. 2009) (amount of factual allegations required to state a plausible claim for relief depends on complexity of legal theory). "[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed. 2d 1081 (2007); Justice v. Town of Cicero, 577 F.3d 768, 771 (7th Cir. 2009) (court construes complaint in light most favorable to plaintiff drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor).

III. Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see Knight v. Wiseman, 590 F.3d 458 (7th Cir. 2009). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, "facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167 L.Ed. 2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed. 2d 265 (1986). "Thus, to survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party must present evidence sufficient to establish a triable issue of fact on all ...


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