The burden is on the party opposing an amendment to show prejudice. In ruling on a motion for leave to amend, a court must inquire into the issue of prejudice to the opposing party, in light of the particular facts of the case.
Jerry A. Beeck was severely injured on July 15, 1972, while using a water slide. He and his wife, Judy A. Beeck, sued Aquaslide 'N' Dive Corporation, alleging it manufactured the slide involved in the accident, and sought to recover substantial damages on theories of negligence, strict liability and breach of implied warranty. Aquaslide initially admitted manufacture of the slide, but later moved to amend its answer to deny manufacture. The district court granted leave to amend. On motion of the defendant, a separate trial was held on the issue of "whether the defendant designed, manufactured or sold the slide in question."
Did the trial court gravely abuse its discretion by permitting defendant to amend its answer?
In the absence of bad faith, prejudice, and undue delay, the “leave to amend " shall be freely given when justice so requires." If the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a proper subject of relief, he ought to be afforded an opportunity to test his claim on the merits. In the absence of any apparent or declared reason -- such 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 by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc.--the leave sought should, as the rules require, be "freely given."