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Orr v. U.S. EPA

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

January 14, 2020

WILLIAM ORR, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. EPA, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, FRENCH BROAD ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORPORATION, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, JEFF LOVEN and U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, Defendants.

          ORDER

          W. Carleton Metcalf, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's “Joint Motion for Leave to File Out of Time and to File Amended Complaint” (“Motion to Amend”) (Doc. 29).

         I. Relevant Procedural Background

         On July 19, 2019, Plaintiff William Orr (“Plaintiff”), appearing pro se, filed a Complaint against the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Interior, the United States Forest Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively, “Federal Defendants”), and against French Broad Electric Membership Corporation and Jeff Loven (collectively, “Private Defendants”). (Doc. 1).

         The Private Defendants and the Federal Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss on September 13, 2019 and September 30, 2019, respectively. (Docs. 16, 20).

         Following extensions of time, Plaintiff's deadline to respond to the Motions to Dismiss was November 29, 2019. Plaintiff, however, did not file his response to the Motions to Dismiss (Doc. 28) (“Opposition”) until December 5, 2019.[1]

         Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Amend (Doc. 29) the same day. In that Motion, Plaintiff requests leave to file his Opposition out of time and leave to file a proposed Amended Complaint (Doc. 29-1).

         On December 11, 2019, the Federal Defendants moved that their deadline for filing a reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss be held in abeyance and/or that, if the Court allowed Plaintiff to amend his complaint, the Federal Defendants be allowed three weeks to respond to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. (Doc. 30).

         On December 12, 2019, the Private Defendants made a similar request. (Doc. 31).

         On December 18, 2019, the Court granted Defendants' requests in part and temporarily stayed the deadlines for all Defendants to file replies in support of their Motions to Dismiss pending a determination of Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. (Doc. 32).

         Defendants filed their responses to the Motion to Amend on December 19, 2019. (Docs. 33, 34).

         II. Motion to Amend

         A. Legal Standard

         Amendments sought pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2) are allowed with the opposing party's written consent or leave of court, which leave should be given freely “when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); United States v. ex rel. Nathan v. Takeda Pharms. N. Am., Inc., 707 F.3d 451, 461 (4th Cir. 2013). “This liberal rule gives effect to the federal policy in favor of resolving cases on their merits instead of disposing of them on technicalities.” Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 426 (4th Cir. 2006) (en banc). “[L]eave 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 have been futile.” Id. at 426 (quoting ...


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