220-0 Order on WTNY Motion
April 14th, 2023
Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (“WTNY”) moves to amend its Answer to assert the settled party defense against Bruce Mapley, Sr. (“Mapley Sr.”). (Doc. 177). Plaintiffs Tracy Caekaert and Camillia Mapley oppose the motion, arguing that the settled party defense does not apply. (Doc. 179). WTNY filed a reply (Doc. 185), and the motion is ripe. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part WTNY’ s motion.
WTNY’ s description of why it does not know Plaintiffs’ reasons for dismissal is false. During Camillia’s deposition, her attorney objected to WTNY’s questions concerning settlement with Mapley Sr. and his release from liability but did not prevent Camillia from answering them. (Doc. 185-1 at 2-5). She answered each. (Id.). WTNY’s attorney then asked why Plaintiffs dismissed Mapley Sr. (Id.). Camillia’ s attorneys instructed her not to answer that question, though she previously stated it was her lawyer’s decision. (Id. at 3, 5). Thus, if WTNY amends its Answer to assert the settled party defense, it may not state or suggest that Plaintiffs’ counsel instructed Camillia not to answer questions about settlement or release from liability. Further, WTNY may not state or suggest that Plaintiffs settled with Mapley Sr. Rather, any statement on the applicability of the settled party defense must conform with this order’s findings.
For these reasons, Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.’ s Motion to Amend its Answer to Asserted Settled Party Defense (Doc. 177) is GRANTED as to the addition of the settled party defense to its Answer and DENIED as to the wording of its proposed amendment.0