WILSON, Circuit Judge:
Andrew J. Wagner appealed the district court's dismissal of his case pursuant to
The allegations in the complaint are discussed in, and a copy of the complaint is set forth in, the panel's opinion. See Wagner, 289 F.3d at 1270-73, 1277-83. After hearing oral argument, the panel concluded that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and that it was not obvious that a more carefully drafted complaint would fail to state a claim. Id. at 1271, 1274. We agree.
In this en banc opinion, we address whether this case should be remanded to the district court with instructions to permit the plaintiff to amend his complaint. Under Bank, we would answer that question in the affirmative. 928 F.2d at 1112 ("Where a more carefully drafted complaint might state a claim, a plaintiff must be given at least one chance to amend the complaint before the district court dismisses the action with prejudice."). We, however, have determined that the Bank rule should no longer be followed. As a result, we overrule Bank and substitute the following rule: A district court is not required to grant a plaintiff leave to amend his complaint sua sponte when the plaintiff, who is represented by counsel, never filed a motion to amend nor requested leave to amend before the district court.
This new rule is more efficient and in line with the critically important concept of finality in our judicial system. Powers v. Boston Cooper Corp., 926 F.2d 109, 112 (1st Cir.1991) ("Finality is a critically important concept in our system of jurisprudence. At some point, battles must end" (internal quotation marks omitted).); see Prado-Steiman ex rel. Prado v. Bush, 221 F.3d 1266, 1276 (11th Cir.2000) (noting that interlocutory appeals "are generally disfavored" because "[p]iecemeal appellate review has a deleterious effect on judicial administration"). It also is in line with the general rule of this Circuit that issues not raised before the district court will not be considered on appeal. See Wright v. Hanna Steel Corp., 270 F.3d 1336, 1342 (11th Cir.2001). In addition, it satisfies the apparent
Under the Bank rule, a plaintiff could sit idly by as he awaited the district court's determination with respect to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss; he need not seek leave to amend his complaint nor amend it as of right,
Our system thus turned these appeals into interlocutory appeals, because no matter what our ruling was, the district court would have to entertain further proceedings.
We avoid this costly, additional litigation by following the rule we announce today. In adopting this rule, we bring our Circuit
As we have established a new rule, we now must address the application of that rule. We can apply our new rule retroactively or prospectively. See James B. Beam Distilling Co. v. Georgia, 501 U.S. 529, 535-37, 111 S.Ct. 2439, 115 L.Ed.2d 481 (1991); see also McKinney v. Pate, 20 F.3d 1550, 1565 (11th Cir.1994) (en banc).
Generally, new rules of law are applied retroactively as well as prospectively. Int'l Ass'n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge No. 1688 v. Allied Prods. Corp., 786 F.2d 1561, 1564 (11th Cir.1986). The general rule, however, "is just that: a general presumption that is subject to rebuttal." McKinney, 20 F.3d at 1566. Thus, we have noted that a new rule of law may be applied prospectively if the following conditions are met:
Kirkland v. Midland Mortgage Co., 243 F.3d 1277, 1282 (11th Cir.2001) (alterations in original) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also McKinney, 20 F.3d at 1565.
The first and third conditions are satisfied easily in this case. The first condition is satisfied, because this case clearly is one in which we are "overruling clear past precedent." The rule set forth in Bank provided the plaintiff with "two bites at the apple." The plaintiff could appeal a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, hoping that the complaint would be deemed sufficient on appeal; if it was not deemed sufficient, the plaintiff's case likely would be remanded to the district court with instructions to permit the plaintiff to amend. See Bank, 928 F.2d at 1113. The rule of law we set forth today clearly contravenes the old rule. We now have decided that a district court is not required to grant a plaintiff who is represented by counsel leave to amend his complaint sua sponte. Thus, we are no longer required to remand to the district
In addition, the third condition is satisfied, because it would be inequitable to apply the new rule to this case and to other cases now on appeal. See McKinney, 20 F.3d at 1566 & n. 23 (noting that retroactive application would be inequitable to the plaintiff and "would also produce inequities — for defendants in other pending cases"). Wagner and other plaintiffs likely relied upon Bank in determining whether to seek leave to amend before the district court or to appeal the dismissal.
It is the second condition that gives us some pause. The apparent purpose of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is "to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action." Fed. R.Civ.P. 1. As we noted above, our new rule follows that purpose, for it is designed to secure efficiency and to reduce costly, additional litigation. We, however, also note that the purpose of allowing amendments is to resolve litigation on the merits, and decisions based upon the merits generally are favored under the Rules. See Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 181-82, 83 S.Ct. 227, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962). As Wagner followed our precedent in appealing his case rather than seeking to amend before the district court, the retroactive application of this rule would strip him of the opportunity to have his case heard on the merits. As a result, it seems consistent with the purpose of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to decline to apply our new rule in this case.
Thus, as the conditions of Kirkland are satisfied, this rule will be applied prospectively; it applies only to cases in which the notice of appeal was filed after the date of this decision.
Thus, we VACATE the district court's dismissal of Wagner's complaint and REMAND this case to the district court with instructions to grant Wagner leave to amend his complaint.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a) (emphasis added).