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Formulatrix, Inc. v. Rigaku Automation, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 7, 2019

FORMULATRIX, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RIGAKU AUTOMATION, INC. and RIGAKU AMERICAS HOLDING, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT

          JUDITH GAIL DEIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Formulatrix, Inc. (“Formulatrix”) has brought this action against Rigaku Automation, Inc. (“Rigaku”) and Rigaku Americas Holding, Inc. (“Rigaku Americas”) (together “Rigaku”) for breach of contract and other causes of action related to a January 2015 Customer Support Agreement (“CSA”) between the parties. This matter is before the court on “Formulatrix Inc.'s Motion to Amend Complaint” (Docket No. 104). By its motion, the plaintiff seeks to amend its Amended Complaint (“First Amended Complaint”) to add an additional breach of contract claim for the defendants' alleged failure to remit service contract revenue owed to Formulatrix under the CSA. For the reasons detailed herein, Formulatrix's motion is DENIED.

         II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Procedural History

         Formulatrix filed its original Complaint on June 22, 2015. (See Docket No. 1). Pursuant to a scheduling order issued by this court, any motions to amend the pleadings were due by July 27, 2016. (See Docket No. 23). On July 27, 2016, Formulatrix sought to amend its Complaint to clarify that it was asserting a breach of contract claim and seeking damages based on Rigaku's alleged breach of its financial representations and warranties in the CSA. (See Docket No. 33). This court allowed the motion in relevant part. (See Docket No. 41). The plaintiff now seeks to amend its First Amended Complaint to add an additional breach of contract claim based on entirely different conduct.

         Factual Background

         As of the beginning of 2015, Formulatrix and Rigaku were competitors in the protein crystallization automation products industry. See Formulatrix, Inc. v. Rigaku Automation, Inc., 344 F.Supp.3d 410, 417 (D. Mass. 2018). Effective January 20, 2015, they entered into a CSA, wherein Rigaku agreed to exit the industry, transfer assets, and license intellectual property to Formulatrix in exchange for a $2 million payment upon execution of the CSA and subsequent additional installment payments. See id. Under the CSA, Formulatrix agreed to provide support services to Rigaku's customers and Rigaku agreed to remit the revenue generated from those services to Formulatrix. See id. at 417, 425.

         Upon execution of the contract, Rigaku began transferring records and other data to Formulatrix. Id. at 419. Between January and April 20, 2015, Formulatrix communicated to Rigaku frustration with the pace, organization, accuracy, and completeness of the records it was receiving from Rigaku. Id. A few months later, Formulatrix filed suit, asserting, inter alia, a breach of contract claim for Rigaku's alleged failure to adhere to the terms of the CSA's record transfer provision. See id. at 420.

         When Formulatrix's installment payments later came due, it began transferring the payments into an account that Rigaku did not have access to and furnishing statements to Rigaku. Id. at 421. Rigaku allegedly responded by withholding service contract revenue from Formulatrix. See id. at 425. The parties entered into settlement negotiations, and on December 14, 2016, Formulatrix wired all of the installment payments that had been withheld to Rigaku. Id. at 422. Rigaku did not, however, remit the withheld service contract revenue to Formulatrix. See id. at 425.

         On March 9, 2017, both parties moved for partial summary judgment. (See Docket Nos. 66, 70). In its summary judgment motion, Formulatrix argued that it had suffered damages from its breach of contract claim in the form of unpaid service contract revenue that Rigaku had failed to remit, something not previously alleged in the complaint. See Formulatrix, Inc., 344 F.Supp.3d at 425. This court denied Formulatrix's motion for partial summary judgment and allowed in part and denied in part Rigaku's motion for partial summary judgment. (See Docket No. 100). In its decision, this court explained that the plaintiff's First Amended Complaint had not asserted a breach of contract claim for failure to remit service contract revenue, and that the plaintiff could not assert it as a form of damages stemming from its other breach of contract claims.[1] See Formulatrix, Inc., 344 F.Supp.3d at 425. Three months after this court issued its decision on the cross-motions for summary judgment, Formulatrix filed the instant motion, seeking leave to file a Second Amended Complaint that includes a breach of contract claim for Rigaku's failure to remit service contract revenue. (See Docket No. 104). Trial has been scheduled for June 3, 2019.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint “will be treated differently depending on its timing and the context in which it is filed.” Steir v. Girl Scouts of the USA, 383 F.3d 7, 11-12 (1st Cir. 2004). A plaintiff is permitted to amend a complaint once as a matter of course within 21 days of service of the answer or 21 days of service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Thereafter, a plaintiff may only amend the complaint “with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave, ” provided that the court should freely give leave “when justice so requires.” Id.; see Steir, 383 F.3d at 12 (“The default rule mandates that leave to amend is to be freely given when justice so requires, unless the amendment would be futile, or reward, inter alia, undue or intended delay.” (quotations and citations omitted)).

         Where, as here, a scheduling order is in place setting the deadline to amend the pleadings, a plaintiff seeking to amend the complaint after the deadline must show good cause. Id. The good cause standard “focuses on the diligence (or lack thereof) of the moving party more than it does on any prejudice to the party-opponent.” Id. (footnote omitted). Further, where the parties have already moved for summary judgment, the plaintiff must also show “‘substantial and convincing evidence' to justify a belated attempt to amend a complaint.” Id. (quoting Resolution Trust ...


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