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Smith v. Grifols USA, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

August 1, 2016

JENNA SMITH, Plaintiff,
GRIFOLS USA, LLC, et al., Defendants.



         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to File Second Amended Complaint [ECF No. 59] and Plaintiff’s Motion to Revise Memorandum and Order Dated March 8, 2016 [ECF No. 69].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jenna Smith (“Plaintiff”) initiated this lawsuit by filing a petition in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri on January 26, 2015, claiming gender discrimination and termination based on gender under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”), against Defendant Grifols USA, LLC (“GUSA”). On January 29, 2015, Plaintiff filed an amended petition asserting similar MHRA claims. On March 9, 2015, GUSA removed the action to this Court. On July 22, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint asserting claims pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq, adding Grifols Shared Services North America, Inc. (“GSSNA”)[1], and Grifols Therapeutics Inc. (“GTI”)[2] as Defendants. The complaint included the following allegations.

         Plaintiff worked as a medical sales representative for Defendants from 2009 to 2014. During this time period, Plaintiff was subjected to intimidation, ridicule, and insults by supervisory employees. Sexually suggestive comments were made to Plaintiff. She was shouted at in public and her arm was physically grabbed by a supervisor. She was accused of improper conduct, not paid her bonuses, and her documents were falsified. She was not provided with customer leads regarding customers in her territory, customers in her territory were taken away and assigned to other sales representatives, and she was not promoted over less qualified male employees, among other actions. On February 6, 2014, she was terminated. She filed charges with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) and Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEOC”) in October 2013, and December 2013.[3] She was issued a right to sue letter on October 24, 2014.

         In response to Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, GUSA, GSSNA, and GTI filed Motions to Dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 12(b)(6). On March 8, 2016, the Court granted, in part, and denied, in part, Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss. The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims relating to the denunciation of single moms, Defendants’ refusal to accommodate single parents, the falsification of Plaintiff’s documents, and Count II for retaliation because they did not relate back to the original petition. The Court also dismissed Plaintiff’s claim she was written up while male employees involved in the same improper activity were not written up, because it was outside the 300-day statute of limitations period. Plaintiff’s claims regarding allegations from 2012 to 2014 about failure to pay bonuses, termination, failure to provide a final paycheck until 2015, taking customers away and assigning them to different sales representatives, and a failure to promote Plaintiff were dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The Court denied the remainder of Defendants’ Motions.

         Subsequent to the Court’s order, Defendants filed an answer and a case management order was entered. On April 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion to File Second Amended Complaint (“Motion to Amend”) and then filed a Motion to Revise Memorandum and Order Dated March 8, 2016 (“Motion for Reconsideration”) on June 1, 2016.


         Plaintiff has a Motion to Amend and a Motion for Reconsideration. In her Motion to Amend, Plaintiff seeks leave of the Court to file a second amended complaint. She states the request is in compliance with the case management order, the Court has not specifically prohibited additional amendments to the pleadings, and Defendants will not be prejudiced. In her Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff asks the Court to revise its order dismissing Count II, a retaliation claim, as time barred. Plaintiff claims this ruling is contrary to case law and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 8. If the Court does not revise its order, Plaintiff asks the Court to stay the action and enter an order allowing an immediate appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). The Court will first address Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration and then Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend.

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         In Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration, she makes three arguments as to why the Court should reconsider its dismissal of Count II of her Amended Complaint. First, she asserts her reference to the December 2013 supplemental charge is embraced by the original pleadings and is so central to matters pled in the amended complaint, it must be considered for purposes of a motion to dismiss. Second, she argues Defendants received notice of her retaliation claim prior to the end of the statute of limitations period; thus, relation back will not prejudice Defendants in defending the claim. Finally, she claims her supplemental charge was set out or attempted to be set out in the original pleadings, so all matters in the supplemental charge relate back under FRCP 15(c). In response, Defendants assert Plaintiff lacks any basis for reconsideration of the Court’s ruling. Defendants argue any claim of retaliatory discharge is barred for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and is barred by the statute of limitations and does not relate back to Plaintiff’s initial pleadings before this Court.

         Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the Court to revise any order, before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the parties’ rights, claims and liabilities. A motion to reconsider may also be brought under Rule 54(b) to correct any “clearly or manifestly erroneous findings of facts or conclusions of law.” Prosser v. Nagaldinne, No. 4:09CV2117 JAR, 2013 WL 308770 at *1 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 25, 2013) (quoting Jones v. Casey's Gen. Stores, 551 F.Supp.2d 848, 854 (S.D. Iowa 2008)). “The exact standard applicable to the granting of a motion under Rule 54(b) is not clear, though it is typically held to be less exacting than would be a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which is in turn less exacting than the standards enunciated in Federal Rule of Civil procedure 60(b)”. Wells' Dairy, Inc. v. Travelers Indem. Co. of Ill., 336 F.Supp.2d 906, 909 (N.D. Iowa 2004).

         “A motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle to identify facts or legal arguments that could have been, but were not, raised at the time the relevant motion was pending.”Julianello v. K-V Pharm. Co., 791 F.3d 915, 923 (8th Cir. 2015). “District courts have substantial discretion in ruling on motions for reconsideration.

         In Heuberl Material Handling, Incorporated v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Company, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri held it would consider a motion for reconsideration for an interlocutory order if the party demonstrates it did not have a fair opportunity to argue the matter previously and granting the motion was necessary to correct a significant error. No. 4:10-CV-00102-DGK, 2011 WL 1458654 at *1 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 15, 2011). This Court has held a motion for reconsideration can be granted when there is a manifest error of law or fact, any true apprehension of the adversarial issues presented to the court or a party’s positions about those issues, or any other good reason to revisit an order. Reid v. Doe Run Resources Corp., No. 4:11CV44 CDP, 2015 WL 3855151 at *2 (E.D. Mo. Jun. 22, 2015). Similarly, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held a motion for reconsideration may be granted when a court has ‚Äúpatently misunderstood a party, has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension, or where a controlling or significant change in the law or facts has occurred since the ...

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