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Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff was injured while using a water slide and sued who he believed to be the manufacturer of the waterslide. Defendant initially admitted it had manufactured the waterslide, then upon realizing it had not, filed leave to amend its answer to the complaint.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Absent an element of bad faith on the part of the Defendant, courts will generally grant a Defendant leave to amend his answer to a complaint unless it will clearly prejudice the ability of the Plaintiff to proceed with his suit.
Issue. Whether a Defendant should be allowed to amend his complaint even where it will cause irreparable prejudice to the Plaintiff.
Held. The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the Defendant to amend its answer. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) provides that a party may amend his pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. In ruling on a motion for leave to amend, the trial court must inquired into the issue of prejudice to the opposing party, in light of the particularly facts of the case.
Of course, the grant or denial of an opportunity to amend is within the discretion of the District Court, but outright refusal to grant the leave to amend without any justifying reason appearing for the denial is not an exercise of discretion; it is merely an abuse of that discretion and inconsistent with the spirit of the Federal Rules.View Full Point of Law