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Morningware, Inc v. Hearthware Home Products

November 1, 2011

MORNINGWARE, INC
v.
HEARTHWARE HOME PRODUCTS, INC



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

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants in part and denies in part Morningware's motion for leave file a First Amended Complaint [220]. The Court further orders Morningware to file its First Amended Complaint by 11/4/11.

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

STATEMENT

Before the Court is Morningware's Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). Morningware seeks to amend its Complaint to "update its allegations" and to add a claim for infringement of its registered "MORNINGWARE" trademark. For the following reasons, the Court grants Morningware's motion in part and denies it in part.

BACKGROUND

On July 20, 2009, Plaintiff Morningware, Inc. ("Morningware"), filed its Complaint against Hearthware Home Products, Inc. ("Hearthware"), alleging that Hearthware had commercially disparaged Morningware's goods, had committed the common-law tort of unfair competition, and had violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act of Illinois, as well as the unfair competition and product-disparagement provisions of the Lanham Act. (R. 1, Complaint.) Separately, Hearthware brought an action against Morningware alleging that Morningware's use and sale of the Halogen Convection Oven Model H0-1200 infringed Hearthware's U.S. Patent No. 6,201,217 ("the '217 patent"). (IBC-Hearthware, Inc. v. Morningware, Inc., No. 09-CV-4903 (N.D. Ill.) (R. 1).) The Court consolidated both cases on August 26, 2009. (Id.,R. 19.) The parties have requested numerous extensions to the fact discovery deadline, which the Court has granted. (R. 175, R. 190, R. 194, R. 206.) On October 20, 2011, at the parties' joint request, the Court further extended the fact discovery deadline, for the purpose of conducting limited discovery, until December 5, 2011. (R. 237.)

Courtroom Deputy KF

Initials:

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 15(a)(2), a plaintiff may amend its Complaint "only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); see also Sides v. City of Champaign, 496 F.3d 820, 825 (7th Cir. 2007) (noting that courts should generally "use their discretion under Rule 15(a) to liberally grant permission to amend pleadings"). "Although leave to amend should be "freely given," that does not mean it must always be given." Hukic v. Aurora Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Crest Hill Land Dev., LLC v. City of Joliet, 396 F.3d 801, 804 (7th Cir. 2005) (noting that despite the liberal nature of Rule 15(a), "leave to amend is not automatically granted"); Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 759 (7th Cir. 2002). Indeed, district courts "'have broad discretion to deny leave to amend where there is undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure deficiencies, undue prejudice to the [non-moving party], or where the amendment would be futile.'" Hukic, 588 F.3d at 432 (quoting Arreola v. Godinez, 546 F.3d 788, 796 (7th Cir. 2008)). "Delay on its own is usually not reason enough for a court to deny a motion to amend." Soltys v. Costello, 520 F.3d 737, 743 (7th Cir. 2008). The longer the delay, however, "'the greater the presumption against granting leave to amend.'" Id. (quoting King v. Cooke, 26 F.3d 720, 723 (7th Cir. 1994)). Ultimately, "'[t]he decision to grant or deny a motion to file an amended pleading is a matter purely within the sound discretion of the district court.'" Id. (quoting Brunt v. Serv. Emp. Int'l Union, 284 F.3d 715, 720 (7th Cir. 2002)); see also Larkin v. Galloway, 266 F.3d 718, 721 (7th Cir. 2001).

ANALYSIS

Hearthware does not oppose Morningware's motion to the extent it seeks permission from the Court to update the allegations in its Complaint. Therefore, the Court ...


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