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Pa. Chiropractic Assn., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Assn

February 17, 2011

PA. CHIROPRACTIC ASSN., ET AL.
v.
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD ASSN., ET AL.



Order Form (01/2005)

Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Matthew F. Kennelly than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons stated below, the Court grants plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint [docket no. 354], on the express condition that plaintiffs serve the newly named defendants with summonses, not waivers, within seven days of entry of this order on the docket. Any Rule 12, transfer, or arbitration-related motion regarding the claims of newly added plaintiff Susanna Wood must be filed by no later than 2/28/11; the response is due by 3/7/11; and the reply is due by 3/14/11.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Plaintiffs have moved to file a fourth amended complaint (4AC). The changes involve:

- adding a plaintiff, Susanna Wood, who is a licensed clinical social worker;

- adding defendants that are wholly-owned subsidiaries of an existing defendant, WellPoint, Inc. and that plaintiffs allege were involved in repayment demands or recoupments from particular plaintiffs;

- altering the class definition; and

- adding further detail regarding particular recoupments.

Defendants have objected to the motion.

The Court previously set a deadline of January 20, 2011 for amending the pleadings and adding parties. This motion was filed a few days after the deadline. Plaintiffs originally filed the proposed 4AC before the deadline, but without seeking leave of court. The Court struck the proposed 4AC and told plaintiffs they had to file a motion.

Although the motion was filed after the deadline, that does not mean that it is automatically barred. Rather, it enhances the burden plaintiffs must meet to obtain leave to amend: in addition to the ordinary requirements, they must show good cause, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4), which incorporates, among other things, the absence of undue delay and unfair prejudice to opposing parties.

1. Wood. Though the Court previously advised plaintiffs that they should file Wood's claims as a separate action, the Court has reconsidered and now believes the amendment to add her claim to be appropriate. Good cause exists because adding Wood to the present case -- subject to defendants' right to seek dismissal, stay, or transfer of her claims -- will avoid procedural jockeying and wrangling over whether her case, ...


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