State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Central Therapy Center, Inc.
5/24/23, Per Curiam (Logue, Lindsey, and Lobree)
Topics: Amendment of Pleadings
Amendment of pleadings is pretty freely given in Florida, but the Third DCA affirmed an insurance company’s denial of a motion to amend to add nine new affirmative defenses. The motion came seven years after commencement of the case. The case was filed in 2013, and Central Therapy moved for summary judgment in relation to payment of PIP bills under an assignment of benefits. Apparently they forgot to set that for hearing, and nothing happened for three years. The trial court issued a notice of lack of prosecution, Central Therapy issued a notice of trial, and then the case was set for trial…for February 2020. Oops. The COVID 19 pandemic shut everything down again until September, and then State Farm filed its motion to amend to add nine affirmative defenses. The trial court found that the amendment would be prejudicial to the Plaintiff. Citing cases where there was both 1) a long delay between the original pleading and the request to amend; and where 2) the motion to amend came close to the time for trial or summary judgment, the DCA affirmed.