United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 83)
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Plaintiff Zekiya Knox's
(“Knox”) motion for leave to file Second Amended
Complaint. ECF No. 83. Defendant AMISUB of SC, Inc.,
d/b/a Piedmont Medical Center (“PMC”) opposes
Knox's motion. ECF No. 84. Knox filed a reply. ECF No.
85. For the following reasons, Knox's motion for leave to
file Second Amended Complaint is granted.
filed this action on January 4, 2017, alleging medical
malpractice against Defendants, including a federal funded
community health care center in Rock Hill, SC (which provides
the basis for this court's jurisdiction over the case).
ECF No. 1. On February 16, 2017, the court entered a
scheduling order, noting motions to amend pleadings were due
by May 18, 2017. ECF No. 10. On March 16, 2017, Knox filed
a consent motion for leave to file First Amended Complaint,
which was granted as unopposed. ECF Nos. 43, 44. This
amendment added two Defendants to the case, Digestive Disease
Associates and Bret Garretson, M.D. ECF No. 45. The deadline
for motions to amend pleadings passed without additional
September 22, 2017, Knox filed the instant motion for leave
to file Second Amended Complaint to add additional facts
supporting her medical malpractice claim against existing
Defendants. ECF No. 83. As explained by Knox, the proposed
amendments would make “two primary changes to the
currently operative Complaint:” 1) “to conform to
the evidence recently uncovered through [discovery] . .
.” and 2) “to refine the allegations against PMC
to make explicit a claim that PMC's medical care of
Plaintiff on May 4 through May 6, 2014, deviated and departed
from the prevailing and accepted standards of medical care,
particularly with regard to overdosing Ms. Knox on pressors
in excess of the doctor's orders and PMC's policy, in
improperly relying on a knowingly inaccurate arterial line,
and in failing to report the signs and symptoms of ischemia
that arose during this time.” ECF No. 83-2 at 2.
PMC opposes the motion, arguing Knox has failed to show good
cause under Rule 16(b), failed to meet the requirements of
Rule 15(a) due to prejudice to PMC, and failed to show the
new allegations relate back to the Amended Complaint because
they do not arise out of the same conduct, transaction, or
occurrence in that pleading. ECF No. 84. PMC also argues
Knox's proposed amendments are futile, as the statute of
limitations has run and she did not satisfy the notice of
intent requirement as to this theory.
reply details communications between her attorney and counsel
for PMC, showing PMC's counsel was aware as early as
March 2017 of the theory advanced regarding Knox's
medical care at PMC between May 4 and May 6 (hereinafter, the
“pressor theory”). ECF No. 85. Therefore, Knox
argues, PMC would suffer no prejudice if the amendment is
allowed, because it was aware of the facts surrounding the
claim well before the deadline for amendment of pleadings or
the close of discovery. Knox also argues she satisfies the
good cause standard for amendment of the Amended Complaint
after the deadline in the scheduling order and there is no
prejudice to PMC.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that leave to amend a
pleading should be “freely give[n] . . . when justice
so requires.” The Fourth Circuit has held “that
leave to amend a pleading should be denied only when the
amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing party, there
has been bad faith on the part of the moving party, or the
amendment would be futile.” Edwards v. City of
Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 242 (4th Cir. 1999). However,
“after the deadlines provided by a scheduling order
have passed, the good cause standard must be satisfied to
justify leave to amend the pleadings.” Nourison Rug
Corp. v. Parvizian, 535 F.3d 295, 298 (4th Cir. 2008).
Therefore, the Amended Complaint may only be modified
“for good cause and with the judge's
consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4).
Civ. P. 15(a)(2) governs relation back of amendments -
whether an amendment will relate back to the filing of the
original Complaint. The Fourth Circuit has required:
First, to relate back there must be a factual nexus between
the amendment and the original complaint. Second, if there is
some factual nexus an amended claim is liberally construed to
relate back to the original complaint if the defendant had
notice of the claim and will not be prejudiced by the
Grattan v. Burnett, 710 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir.
1983), aff'd, 468 U.S. 42, 104 S.Ct. 2924, 82
L.Ed.2d 36 (1984)