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Argent Holdings, LLC v. East El Paso Physicians Medical Center, L.L.C.

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division

January 23, 2018

ARGENT HOLDINGS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
EAST EL PASO PHYSICIANS MEDICAL CENTER, LLC, d/b/a Foundation Surgical Hospital of El Paso, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          ANNE T. BERTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On this day, the Court considered:

• “Defendant Stanton Nelson's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint” (“Motion to Dismiss”) (ECF. No. 53);
• Argent's “Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint” (ECF. No. 68);
• “Defendant Justin Bynum's Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Seeking Dismissal of Plaintiffs Amended Complaint” (“Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Regarding Argent's Claims”) (ECF. No. 77); and
• “Defendant Justin Bynum's Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Seeking Dismissal of Cross-Claimant's Claims” (“Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Regarding EEPPMC's Crossclaims”) (ECF. No. 78).

         After reviewing the parties' moving papers and the applicable law, the Court orders that Argent's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint is HEREBY GRANTED and the remaining motions are HEREBY DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS MOOT

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 28, 2017, Argent filed suit against Defendants East El Paso Physicians' Medical Center, LLC d/b/a Foundation Surgical Hospital of El Paso (“EEPPMC”), Foundation Surgical Hospital Holdings LLC, Randstad Professionals US, LLC d/b/a Tatum, Stanton Nelson, and Justin Bynum (collectively, “Defendants”). (ECF. No. 1). Thereafter, on August 4, 2017, Argent filed its Amended Complaint against Defendants. (ECF. No. 15). Argent asserts various causes of action related to a “Receivables Purchase and Sales Agreement” for the purchase of medical debt. (Id.). On November 28, 2017, after an extended absence from the litigation, Nelson filed a Motion to Dismiss Argent's Amended Complaint. (ECF. No. 53). Thereafter, on January 5, 2018, Argent sought leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. (ECF. No. 68).

         Separately, EEPPMC filed an amended answer containing crossclaims against Justin Bynum, Stanton Nelson, and Foundation Surgical Hospital Holdings and counterclaims against Argent. (ECF. No. 57). Bynum now seeks judgment on the pleadings regarding Argent and EEPPMC's claims against him. (ECF. Nos. 77, 78).

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that “a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. P 15(a)(2) (emphasis added). “[T]he language of this rule ‘evinces a bias in favor of granting leave to amend.'” Chitimacha Tribe of La. v. Harry L. Laws Co., Inc., 690 F.2d 1157, 1162 (5th Cir. 1983) (citing cases). Consequently, although leave to amend is not automatic, “there is a strong presumption in favor of granting leave to amend . . . .” Ackerson v. Bean Dredging LLC, 589 F.3d 196, 208 (5th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted); Ashe v. Corley, 992 F.2d 540, 542 (5th Cir. 1993). As this strong presumption exists, a court must possess “substantial reason” to deny a request for leave to amend. Lyn-Lea Travel Corp. v. Am. Airlines, 283 F.3d 282, 286 (5th Cir. 2002) (quoting Jamieson v. Shaw, 772 F.2d 1205, 1208 (5th Cir. 1985)).

         In determining whether substantial reason exists to deny leave to amend, the Court considers the following factors: (1) undue delay; (2) bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant; (3) repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed; (4) undue prejudice to the opposing party; and (5) futility of amendment. Ashe, 992 F.2d at 542 (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). Amendment is futile if “the amended complaint would fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.” Stripling v. Jordan Prod. Co., 234 F.3d 863, 873 (5th Cir. 2000). In determining futility, the court applies “the same standard of legal sufficiency as applies under Rule 12(b)(6).” Id. “Even if substantial reason to deny leave exists, the court should consider prejudice to the movant, as well as judicial economy, in determining whether justice requires granting leave.” Jamieson, 772 F.2d at 1208 (citation omitted).

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). Consequently, a complaint requires more ...


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