United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
DOUGLAS A. NIXON AND PIAOWAKA C. WINDWOLF PLAINTIFFS
BRENT MANNING'S QUALITY PREOWNED, Inc., d/b/a BRENT MANNING'S CREDIT CARS, Inc., BRENT MANNING, BRETT THARP, and TRUITY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION DEFENDANTS TRUITY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION COUNTER CLAIMANT
DOUGLAS A. NIXON AND PIAOWAKA C. WINDWOLF COUNTER DEFENDANTS
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiffs Douglas A. Nixon's and
Piaowaka C. Windwolf s Petition to the Court to Add Defendant
Amanda Manning (Doc. 50). Plaintiffs filed the Motion on May
18, 2016, and none of the defendants have filed a response.
Accordingly, the Motion is now ripe for decision. For the
reasons stated below. Plaintiffs' Petition (Doc. 50) is
recounting of the background facts and procedural history of
this case is useful to provide context to this Order.
Plaintiffs, who proceed pro se and in forma
pauperis, filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) alleging that
several Defendants violated certain federal regulations
relevant to their purchase of a 2007 Mini Cooper automobile.
They then filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 32) on March 21,
2016, after the Court granted them leave to restyle their
original Complaint. The Court held a case management hearing
on March 28, 2016, at which it denied Plaintiffs' Motion
to Compel (Doc. 28) and Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 33), and
sua sponte dismissed without prejudice Defendant
Kelly Diven. On March 29, 2016, the Court entered a
Miscellaneous Order (Doc. 41) directing the Clerk's
Office to restyle the caption of the case, striking all
pending discovery requests, and establishing certain
deadlines related to initial disclosures and discovery.
the Defendants named in the Amended Complaint is Brent
Manning's Quality Preowned, Inc., d/b/a Brent
Manning's Credit Cars, Inc. ("Credit Cars"),
the company from which Plaintiffs bought the 2007 Mini
Cooper. Plaintiffs also named Brent Manning, an individual
they believed to be the owner and majority shareholder of
Credit Cars. Plaintiffs' Petition, however, states that
they learned during discovery that an individual named Amanda
Manning is the "true owner" of Credit Cars. (Doc.
50). Plaintiffs accordingly seek to add Ms. Manning as a
Ms. Manning under Rule 19 or Rule 20 would require the Court
to grant Plaintiffs leave to amend their Amended Complaint.
E.g., Tang v. Northpole Ltd., 2016 WL 1732757, at *5
(W.D. Ark. Apr. 29, 2016) (noting that a plaintiff's
motion to join a defendant would require leave to amend). A
party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course
within 21 days after serving it, or within 21 days of
receiving service of a responsive pleading or motion.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Otherwise, a party needs the opposing
party's written consent, or the court's leave, to
amend a pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). While Rule 15(a)(2)
instructs courts to "freely give leave when justice so
requires, " denial of a motion to amend is appropriate
if amendment would be futile. See Becker v.
Univ. of Neb. at Omaha, 191 F.3d 904, 908 (8th Cir.
1999); Brown v. Wallace, 957 F.2d 564, 566 (8th Cir.
1992). This is such a case.
certain exceptional circumstances, the corporate form
protects shareholders from being personally liable for claims
against their corporations. See K.C. Props. Of N.W. Ark.,
Inc. v. Lowell Inv. Partners, LLC, 373 Ark. 14, 32
(2008) ("It is a nearly universal rule that a
corporation and its stockholders are separate and distinct
entities"); Anderson v. Stewart, 366 Ark. 203,
207 (2006) ("Piercing the fiction of a corporate entity
should be applied with great caution."). As the Court
attempted to explain to Plaintiffs at the parties' Case
Management Hearing when it dismissed Kelly Diven, the CEO of
Defendant Truity Federal Credit Union, from the case, the
mere fact that a person controls or owns a corporation does
not mean that they can be sued for a wrong allegedly
committed by the corporation. As was the case with Mr. Diven,
Plaintiffs do not allege that Ms. Manning had any personal
involvement in the sale of the 2007 Mini Cooper; rather, they
seek to add her solely because she is the alleged owner of an
incorporated entity. Credit Cars. Accordingly, any claim
against her would be futile.
reasons stated herein, the Court finds that joining Ms.
Manning would be futile, and DENIES ...