United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division
R. READE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter before the court is Plaintiff Black Soil Dairy,
LLC's (“Black Soil”) “Motion for
Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice”
(“Motion”) (docket no. 25).
RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 15, 2017, Black Soil filed a “Petition and Jury
Demand” (“Petition”) (docket no. 2) in the
Iowa District Court for Sioux County, Iowa. In the Petition,
Black Soil asserts three claims against Defendants Land
O'Lakes, Inc. (“Land O'Lakes”) and Ridley
USA Inc. (“Ridley”) (collectively,
“Defendants”): (1) Count I alleges that
Defendants were negligent in a number of respects related to
a milk replacement delivered to Black Soil; (2) Count II
alleges that Defendants breached an implied warranty of
fitness regarding the milk replacement; and (3) Count III
alleges that Defendants breached their voluntarily assumed
duties. See Petition at 3-5. On October 13, 2017,
Land O'Lakes filed a Notice of Removal (docket no. 1),
bringing the case before the court. On October 16, 2017,
Ridley filed an Answer (docket no. 4). On that same date,
Land O'Lakes filed an Answer (docket no. 5).
March 21, 2018, Black Soil filed the Motion. On March 26,
2018, Land O'Lakes filed a Resistance (docket no. 27). On
April 3, 2018, Black Soil filed a Reply (docket no. 35).
Ridley does not resist the Motion. See Motion at 1.
No party has requested oral argument and the court finds that
oral argument is unnecessary. The matter is fully submitted
and ready for decision.
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
court has diversity jurisdiction over the claims because
complete diversity exists between the parties and the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a)(1) (“The district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter
in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000 . . . and
is between . . . citizens of different States . . .
December 6, 2017, the court filed a Scheduling Order and
Discovery Plan (“Scheduling Order”) (docket no.
15), which provided that motions to add parties or motions to
amend pleadings were due on February 8, 2018. See
Scheduling Order at 1. On February 20, 2018, Black Soil's
counsel emailed Defendants' counsel, stating, “The
deadline to amend the pleadings snuck up on me faster than I
thought. Would you have any objection to me filing a [m]otion
to [a]mend the deadline and to fil[ing] a motion to amend our
[Petition] to add a strict liability claim?” Resistance
Exhibits (docket no. 27-2) at 34. In reply, Land
O'Lakes's counsel stated that Land O'Lakes
intended to object to any untimely motion to amend because
Land O'Lakes had raised “[t]he issue of [Black
Soil] suing the wrong party . . . several times during th[e]
litigation” as early as September 2017. Id.
Black Soil's counsel responded, “[T]hat's fine
as everyone does things differently. I will file the motion
to amend and see what the court does. If it isn't
granted, I will dismiss without prejudice and file a new suit
in federal court.” Id. at 33.
February 23, 2018, Black Soil filed a Motion to Amend (docket
no. 17). In the Motion to Amend, Black Soil acknowledged that
Land O'Lakes “produced its initial disclosures on
December 26, 2017, ” but contended that it “ha[d]
now reviewed the initial disclosures” and determined
that it was “necessary to add Milk Products LLC
[(“Milk Products”)] . . . as a party to this
action” and sought to “add a products liability
claim against Land O'Lakes . . . and Milk
Products.” Motion to Amend at 2. On February 27, 2018,
Land O'Lakes filed a Resistance to the Motion to Amend
(docket no. 18). On March 19, 2018, United States Chief
Magistrate Judge C.J. Williams denied the Motion to Amend.
See March 19, 2018 Order (docket no. 23) at 6. Judge
Williams found that, beginning in September 2017, Land
O'Lakes had repeatedly informed Black Soil “that
Milk Products was the correct defendant, not Land
O'Lakes.” Id. at 4. Judge Williams
concluded that Black Soil “ha[d] not shown [that] it
acted with diligence in complying with the deadline for
moving to amend its [petition], and, therefore, . . . ha[d]
failed to establish good cause.” Id. Judge
Williams also found that Black Soil's assertion of
“garden-variety attorney inattention” did not
establish excusable neglect. Id. at 5 (quoting
Lowry v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 211 F.3d 457, 464
(8th Cir. 2000)).
Motion, Black Soil seeks to voluntarily dismiss this case
without prejudice. See Motion at 1. Black Soil
asserts that its “damages are not fully ascertainable
at this time” and, therefore, requests that the court
dismiss this action without prejudice so “that it may
[refile] at a later date in this same forum.”
Id. at 2. Land O'Lakes resists dismissal of this
action, asserting that Black Soil is attempting to circumvent
the denial of the Motion to Amend by refiling the matter at a
later date. See Resistance at 3-4.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2), a court may
order that an action be dismissed at the plaintiff's
request “on terms that the court considers