United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
SALLY K. FAVALORO, Plaintiff,
BJC HEALTHCARE, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, along with the proposed second amended complaint. The matter is fully briefed and ready for decision. For the following reasons, the Court will deny plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff filed her initial complaint on February 18, 2014 against BJC Healthcare, Barnes-Jewish Hospital ("BJH"), and four individual defendants alleging that she had been illegally discharged from her employment. This complaint was 27 pages long and asserted seven causes of action.
On October 20, 2014, plaintiff filed a first amended complaint, adding four individual defendants, including the President of BJH. This new complaint was 129 pages long, including a table of contents, 800 paragraphs, and asserted at least 30 separate causes of action. The first amended complaint asserted six "Claims Sets, " each containing between six and thirteen subclaims or legal theories against defendants. As pleaded, the first amended complaint asserted potentially 300 claims.
Finding the first amended complaint indecipherable, the Court granted defendants' motion to strike the first amended complaint. See Doc. 40. The Court ordered plaintiff to file a second amended complaint with "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" and to state her claims "in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances, " and "each claim founded on a separate transaction or occurrence... must be stated in a separate count." Id . Further, the Court ordered that the second amended complaint shall specifically state which claims are being asserted against which named defendants. Additionally, plaintiff was ordered to eliminate any immaterial or redundant material.
Pursuant to the Court's Order, plaintiff seeks leave to file her second amended complaint. Defendants oppose the motion, stating that the proposed second amended complaint is no clearer than the first, and "continues to make a mockery of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." (Resp. at 2-3).
Although leave to amend is to be freely granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), the Court has discretion whether to grant leave to amend. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330-32 (1971). Factors to consider in determining whether leave to amend should be granted include (1) whether the motion was filed in bad faith with dilatory motive; (2) whether the motion was filed with undue delay; (3) whether leave to amend would be unduly prejudicial to the opposing parties; and (4) whether the proposed amendment would be futile. See Bell v. Allstate Life Ins. Co., 160 F.3d 452, 454 (8th Cir. 1998) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
It is appropriate to deny leave to amend where the filing of the amended complaint would be futile. Humphreys v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 990 F.2d 1078, 1082 (8th Cir. 1993); Harbor Ins. Co. v. Essman, 918 F.2d 734, 739 (8th Cir. 1990). It is well-settled law that district courts have the power to deny leave to amend if the proposed changes would not remedy the deficiencies of the original complaint. Weimer v. Amen, 870 F.2d 1400, 1407 (8th Cir. 1989); Norbeck v. Davenport Community Sch. Dist., 545 F.2d 63, 70 (8th Cir. 1976).
Plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint fails to remedy the defects of the first amended complaint, and the Court finds that granting leave to amend would be futile. The second amended compliant, like the first, violates Federal Rule 8 as the allegations are not "simple, concise, and direct." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). On page 1, table of contents, plaintiff states: "G. The Legal Claims, In Short and Plain Statements ¶¶ 100-799." This entry alone conflicts with Rule 8, which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim." Plaintiff has filed 699 paragraphs of self-titled "short and plain statements" supporting her relatively simple employment action. The proposed second amended complaint is 90 pages long, includes 959 paragraphs, multiple subparagraphs, sub-subparagraphs (i.e., ¶¶ 800.68.1, 800.68.2, 800.68.2, et seq.), and contains wholly irrelevant and scandalous material.
The second amended complaint includes many cross-references, including 74 claims of conspiracy and 13 claims of negligence per se that refer the Court to other paragraphs. (2d Am. Compl., Claims 4.5.1-4.5.6, 601.1-605.12). As pointed out by defendants, scores of plaintiff's factual allegations refer to other allegations, complicating any attempt to comprehend the facts giving rise to the claims. For example, plaintiff pleads "Further Facts Supporting ¶¶ 10-99, " followed by nine pages of additional factual allegations. (2d Am. Compl., 71-80, ¶¶ 800.66.1-800.74.3). This new section of facts allegedly supports plaintiff's section entitled "The Factual Claims, In Detail, " which spans 33 pages. The additional nine pages contain numerous other cross-references further complicating matters.
Plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint does not withstand a motion to strike under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The proposed second amended complaint continues to allege immaterial, impertinent and scandalous matter, including the following:
28.4. Nurse X's story also reminded Plaintiff of something Plaintiff had been told by another Nurse, Y. Nurse Y said Becker directed "Becky, " a low-level manager and known Becker crony, to wear a secret audiotaping device inside her ...