ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
Andon L. Amaraich
Decided: July 16, 2003
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[12 FSM Intrm. 2]
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ANDON L. AMARAICH, Chief Justice:
Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint in this case on June 24, 2003. The Department of Treasury and Finance of the State of Pohnpei ("Pohnpei State") filed a non-opposition to this motion on June 25, 2003.
Rule 15 of the FSM Rules of Civil Procedure states in relevant part that:
A party may amend the party’s pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served . . . . Otherwise a party may amend the party’s pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within the time remaining for response to the original pleading or within 10 days after service of the amended pleading, whichever period may be the longer, unless the court otherwise orders.
FSM Civ. R. 15(a). Plaintiff filed its complaint against Pohnpei State on February 25, 2003. The original complaint was an appeal of an administrative decision of Pohnpei State. A related administrative decision, involving related tax matters between plaintiff and the Department of Finance and Administration of the Federated States of Micronesia ("FSM"), was recently issued on June 9, 2003. In summary, plaintiff claims that this case involves the FSM’s refusal to pay Pohnpei State sales tax to plaintiff, Pohnpei State’s assessment of liability for that tax against plaintiff, and the FSM’s assessment of liability against plaintiff for failure to pay gross revenue tax on the amount that plaintiff has paid under protest to Pohnpei State. Plaintiff seeks to add the FSM as a defendant to this case, as it asserts that Pohnpei State and the FSM are inconsistently interpreting tax laws, and so that both Pohnpei State and the FSM will be required to tax plaintiff uniformly, without plaintiff potentially being subjected to double tax liability.
[12 FSM Intrm. 3]
Judicial economy weighs in favor of permitting plaintiff to file its amended complaint and consolidate the appeals of the inconsistent administrative decisions of Pohnpei State and the FSM. Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion for leave to file its amended complaint, attached to its motion as Exhibit A, is hereby granted. The Clerk of Courts is hereby ordered to file plaintiff’s amended complaint. Defendants shall have 20 days from the date of service of the amended complaint to file any answer.
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