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Robinson v. ACG Processing

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 25, 2019

ERIK T. ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ACG PROCESSING, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING RECOMMENDATION DENYING MOTION TO AMEND AND GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Marcia S. Krieger Senior United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to Plaintiff Erik Robinson's (“Mr. Robinson”) Objections (# 70) to the November 21, 2018 Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (# 67) that Mr. Robinson's Motion to Amend (# 56) be denied. Also pending is Defendant ACG Processing's (“ACG”) Motion for Summary Judgment (# 71), Mr. Robinson's response (# 74) , and ACG's reply (# 75).

         I. JURISDICTION

         The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question), 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d) (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”)), and 47 U.S.C. § 227 (Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)).

         II. BACKGROUND

         The Court assumes the reader's familiarity with the claims and underlying proceedings in this case. On October 11, 2018, the Court issued an Order on ACG's motion to dismiss, dismissing without prejudice all claims against former Defendant Robert Bass and claims 1, 2, 6, and 7 against ACG. (# 50). Accordingly, claims 3, 4, 5, which alleged various violations of the FDCPA, and claim 8, which alleged a violation of the TCPA, remained pending. The Court's Order concluded by permitting Mr. Robinson to file an amended complaint, within 14 days, provided he could “address the deficiencies specified herein.” (# 50 at 16). On October 24, 2018, Mr. Robinson filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, which the Court addresses in this Opinion. (# 56). On November 26, 2018, Mr. Robinson filed a motion for dismissal of his remaining FDCPA claims against ACG pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41 (a)(2) (# 68), which the Court granted. Thus, at this time, the only remaining claim is Mr. Robinson's TCPA claim against ACG. On December 14, 2018, ACG filed a motion for summary judgment as to the TCPA claim (# 71), which is discussed in this Opinion.

         III. MERITS

         A. Motion to Amend

         Presumably in response to the Court's October 11, 2018 Order, on October 24, 2018, Mr. Robinson moved (# 56) to amend his Amended Complaint (# 24) to remove Mr. Bass as a defendant and add approximately 15 new defendants and a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. (# 56).

         The Court referred Mr. Robinson's motion to the Magistrate Judge for a recommendation. On November 21, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Recommendation (# 7) that the motion to amend be denied. The Magistrate Judge noted that on February 13, 2018, he granted Mr. Robinson's initial motion to amend the complaint which added a new group of defendants to the case. The Magistrate Judge also modified the Scheduling Order to extend: (1) the deadline for joinder of parties and amendment of pleadings to May 30, 2018; (2) the discovery cut-off date to October 30, 2018; and (3) the dispositive motions deadline to November 30, 2018. (# 67 at 3). However, upon reviewing Mr. Robinson's second requested amendment, the Magistrate Judge found it was the product of unexplained delay, lacked good cause, and that permitting amendment at this point would result in undue prejudice to the Defendant because discovery had concluded, and dispositive motions were due within one month. The Magistrate Judge stated that “[a]dding fifteen new defendants and a state law claim would essentially begin this case anew.” (# 67 at 8).

         Mr. Robinson filed timely Objections to the Recommendation. (# 70). Although Mr. Robinson's Objections argue that he demonstrated good cause, he agreed to remove approximately 7 proposed defendants, leaving “only one set of new defendants, those collectively referred to as Market Street Debt Partners.” (# 70 at 2). Mr. Robinson acknowledged that he identified the additional individuals in July 2018, however, he did not address why he waited several more months to amend the pleadings. Finally, he posited that the addition of his new claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress would not adversely impact ACG, requiring ACG to “make only minor adjustments to their existing documents.” (#70 at 3).

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), the Court reviews the objected-to portions of the Recommendation de novo.[1] Upon such de novo review, the Court agrees entirely with both the findings and reasoning of the Magistrate Judge. The record of this case reflects that leave to amend has been freely granted. Mr. Robinson was permitted to file an amended version of his initial Complaint (which allowed him to add a new group of defendants), and the Magistrate Judge set a reasonable deadline, which was approximately 6 months after the case was originally filed. Mr. Robinson does not explain why he waited months after the expiration of the extended deadline for amendment of pleadings to move for leave to add numerous new defendants and a new cause of action. Upholding the deadline in these circumstances was well within the discretion of the Magistrate Judge. Further, while the Court's October 11, 2018 Order authorized Mr. Robinson to “address the deficiencies” in his Amended Complaint, he was not permitted to add new defendants nor an entirely new claim. This case is aged and has progressed to an advanced phase of the litigation; it would be inappropriate (and unduly prejudicial to ACG) at this late stage to interject new defendants and new causes of action that would further delay final resolution of Mr. Robinson's claims. Accordingly, the Court overrules the Objections, adopts the Recommendation, and denies Mr. Robinson's motion to amend.

         B. Motion for Summary Judgment

         ACG moves for summary judgment as to Mr. Robinson's sole remaining claim for a violation of the TCPA pursuant to Rule ...


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