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Brownson Norby Defeats Catholic Diocese Federal Court Appeal to Amend Complaint

Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Robert Brownson and Olivia Cooper, together with co-counsel from Tressler, LLP in Chicago, have once again, successfully defeated an attempt by the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and thirteen of its parishes, to amend their Complaint to re-assert claims for promissory estoppel, bad faith/breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation, and tortious interference with contractual relations. These extra-contractual claims to purported insurance policies had previously been asserted against Brownson Norby client Arrowood Indemnity Company, and had been dismissed on March 16, 2018 by Chief Judge John Tunheim of the United States District Court, District of Minnesota.

In August 2018, the Diocese and parishes untimely sought leave to file an Amended Complaint to re-assert the claims as well as add additional defendants to the action. In siding with Arrowood Indemnity Company, Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois denied that attempt in a ruling dated September 24, 2018. Magistrate Judge Brisbois held that the Diocese and the parishes had violated the Pretrial Scheduling Order in the case by failing to timely present their motion. Further, he also held that Plaintiffs’ proposed Amended Complaint did not cure the deficiencies in their attempted claims against Arrowood upon which the dismissal of those claims by Chief Judge Tunheim was based.

In October 2018, the Diocese attempted to overturn Magistrate Judge Brisbois’ Order denying amendment by partially objecting to the Order on motion to Chief Judge John Tunheim. On January 2, 2019, Chief Judge Tunheim affirmed Magistrate Judge Brisbois’ September 24, 2018 ruling, holding that the Diocese was not diligent in bringing their motion to amend and that Plaintiffs’ attempted amendments to their extra-contractual claims did not cure the deficiencies upon which the Court based dismissal of those claims in March of 2018. Judge Tunheim further affirmed Magistrate Judge Brisbois’ holding denying joinder of Arrowpoint Capital Group and Arrowpoint Capital Corporation as Defendants, finding that the Diocese’s proposed Amended Complaint failed to allege any legitimate claim against those entities, making Plaintiffs’ attempt to join them as defendants futile.

The case is, Diocese of St. Cloud, et. al. v. Arrowood Indmenity Company, et. al., U.S.D.C., (D. Minn.), No. 17-CV-2002 (JRT/LIB).

To see the Order, click HERE.

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