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Chicago IP Litigation Tracking Northern District of Illinois IP Cases

Amended Complaint Must Have New Substantive Allegations

Posted in Pleading Requirements

Tillman v. New Line Cinema, No. 05 C 910, 2007 WL 2323302 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 9, 2007) (Kennelly, J.)

Judge Kennelly denied plaintiff’s motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, despite noting that Fed. R. Civ. P. 15A) requires that leave to amend be given “freely.” Plaintiff alleged that defendants collectively had access to his screen play “Kharisma Heart of Gold” about his experience with a sick child requiring heart surgery, stole it, produced it and released it as the movie “John Q.” Plaintiff filed his first complaint pro se alleging copyright infringement. Plaintiff then hired counsel and filed an amended complaint alleging copyright infringement and numerous other tort claims arising out of the alleged theft of plaintiff’s screen play. Various defendants filed motions to dismiss the amended complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) and for failure to state a claim regarding the non-copyright claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff did not respond to that complaint, but filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. The Court* granted the motion to dismiss the individual defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction and the non-copyright claims against the remaining defendants. The Court also denied plaintiff leave to file its second amended complaint because it was futile. Plaintiff, again proceeding pro se, then sought leave to file a new second amended complaint. But the Court held that plaintiff’s current second amended complaint had no substantive changes from plaintiff’s original second amended complaint. The second amended complaint, therefore, was still futile. Additionally, the second amended complaint attempted to reassert claims against the individual defendants, who had been dismissed from the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction. Because the Court lacked personal jurisdiction, plaintiff could not draw the individual defendants back into the suit. 

* The case was originally before Judge Norberg, who decided the original motions to dismiss and motion for leave to file the second amended complaint, and has since been transferred to Judge Kennelly who heard this motion.