United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
P. JORDAN III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
product-liability action, Defendant Smith & Nephew, Inc.
(“S&N”) moved to dismiss the Complaint under
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 12(b)(6). Plaintiff
John Randolph Taylor subsequently sought leave to file a
Fourth Amended Complaint. For the following reasons,
Defendant's motion  is granted in part and moot in
part, Plaintiff's motions [57, 59] are granted in part
and denied in part, and Plaintiff is directed to file an
amended complaint consistent with this Order.
case arises from a hip-replacement surgery gone awry. Taylor
received a hip implant, the components of which were
“designed, manufactured, distributed, sold and/or
placed into the stream of commerce” by S&N.
Pl.'s Third Am. Compl.  ¶ 8. The implant only
caused him more pain, so Taylor underwent a second surgery.
Id. ¶ 9. As a result of these operations,
Taylor filed suit against S&N alleging several
product-liability claims. See Id. ¶¶ 11-
now seeks to amend his complaint to clarify those claims.
S&N concedes that the Proposed Fourth Amended Complaint
“cure[s] some deficiencies in [Taylor's] pleadings,
and the issues have been narrowed, ” but challenges the
amendment as to Taylor's manufacturing-defect and
implied-warranty claims. Def.'s Resp.  at 4; see
also Def.'s Reply  at 2-3.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(A) allows a party to amend a
pleading as a matter of course within 21 days of serving the
pleading. A party may amend a pleading outside this
three-week window “only with the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). The rule instructs that “[t]he court should
freely give leave when justice so requires.”
Id. Indeed, “Rule 15(a) evinces a bias in
favor of granting leave to amend.” Thomas v.
Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 832 F.3d 586, 590 (5th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Herrmann Holdings, Ltd v. Lucent Techs.,
Inc., 302 F.3d 552, 566 (5th Cir. 2002)) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
is settled that the grant of leave to amend the pleadings
pursuant to Rule 15(a) is within the discretion of the trial
court.” Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research,
Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330 (1971). But “it is by no
means automatic.” Wimm v. Jack Eckerd Corp., 3
F.3d 137, 139 (5th Cir. 1993) (quoting Addington v.
Farmer's Elevator Mut. Ins. Co., 650 F.2d 663, 666
(5th Cir. 1981)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Accordingly, “the district court may consider such
factors as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the
part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party, and futility of amendment.”
futility analysis is “identical, in practice, to the
standard used for reviewing a dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6).” Thomas, 832 F.3d at 590 (quoting
City of Clinton v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., 632
F.3d 148, 152 (5th Cir. 2010)). That is, the Fifth Circuit
has interpreted “futility” to mean that
“the amended complaint would fail to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted.” Stripling v. Jordan
Prod. Co., LLC, 234 F.3d 863, 873 (5th Cir. 2000). Under
the well-known Rule 12(b)(6) standard, “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) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim is facially
plausible if the complaint ‘allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id.
motion to dismiss originally challenged Taylor's Third
Amended Complaint. Although Taylor seeks to amend the Third
Amended Complaint, the Proposed Fourth Amended Complaint
contains the same previously-challenged claims, just with
more detail, and S&N's arguments rest on the same
grounds. Accordingly, they will be addressed collectively.
Proposed Fourth Amended Complaint, Taylor alleges that the
components in his hip implant “were defective in design
and/or manufacture.” Pl.'s Proposed Fourth Am.
Compl. [59-1] ¶¶ 12, 15. S&N argues that the
proposed complaint “does not identify which components
deviated from specification” or “describe the
alleged deviation[.]” Def.'s Resp.  at 4.
Taylor replies that the complaint is sufficient, and he
should be allowed to proceed to discovery to be more
specific. Pl.'s Reply  at 3.
Mississippi, the Mississippi Products Liability Act
(“MPLA”) “provides the exclusive remedy for
products-liability claims[.]” Elliot v. El Paso
Corp., 181 So.3d 263, 268 (Miss. 2015) (footnote and
internal quotation marks omitted). The MPLA applies “in
any action for damages caused by a product, including, but
not limited to, any action based on a theory of strict
liability in tort, negligence or breach of implied warranty,
except for commercial damage to the product itself[.]”
Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-63. For ...