United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN
EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE AMENDED PETITION
KAYS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE
case arises from Plaintiff Felicia Hannon-Johnson's
(“Plaintiff”) allegation that Defendant Kansas
City Area Transportation Authority (“KCATA”)
discriminated against her on the basis of a disability. Now
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Enlargement of
Time to File Amended Petition (Doc. 12).
procedural history of this motion is somewhat convoluted.
Plaintiff filed her original complaint (Doc. 1-4 pp. 7-15) in
the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, on September
16, 2016, alleging two Missouri Human Rights Act
(“MHRA”) violations. The first count alleged
intentional discrimination on the basis of her disability,
and/or failure to provide and accommodation; the second
removed the lawsuit to federal court and then, on November
18, 2016, filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim (Doc. 5). KCATA argued it was not subject to the MHRA
and, even if it was, Plaintiff's claims were time-barred
because she did not sue within 90 days after receiving her
right to sue letter.
December 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed suggestions in opposition
(Doc. 9) claiming the lawsuit was timely filed, and that she
would file a motion for leave to amend the complaint which
would address Defendant's objection that KCATA was not
subject to the MHRA.
December 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a request for leave to
amend the complaint (Doc. 10). Plaintiff moved to amend as a
matter of course under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(a)(1)(B), which she had a right to do because she was
amending her complaint within 21 days of being served with a
12(b) motion. Attached to the motion was a proposed amended
complaint (Doc. 10-1) pleading three causes of action under
the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The
first alleged disability discrimination; the
second alleged failure to provide a reasonable
accommodation; and the third alleged retaliation.
Court granted the motion for leave to amend via a text entry
and directed Plaintiff to file the proposed amended complaint
on or before December 16, 2016 (Doc. 11).
however, did not file the proposed amended complaint by
December 16th. Instead, on December 21st, she filed the
pending Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Amended
Petition (Doc. 12) and a motion to remand (Doc. 13). In the
motion for enlargement of time, Plaintiff's counsel
explained the failure to meet the December 16, 2016, deadline
was due to the press of business in another case, and she
again requested leave to file an amended petition. Attached
to the motion was a new proposed amended complaint
(Doc. 12-1) pleading two MHRA claims. Although these two claims
mirror those asserted in the original complaint-the first
count alleges intentional discrimination and/or failure to
provide an accommodation, and the second count alleges
retaliation-the complaint contains different factual
allegations. And, unlike the earlier motion for enlargement
of time, Plaintiff did not file this motion within 21 days of
being served with KCATA's motion to dismiss.
opposes granting the motion, arguing Plaintiff has made a
procedural mess of this case; that she has failed to satisfy
the substantive prerequisites for the relief she now seeks;
and that her actions have prejudiced it. KCATA asks the Court
to deny her latest motion and decide all pending motions on
the basis of the allegations in the original complaint.
Alternately, it suggests the Court grant Plaintiff leave to
file only the amended complaint she was previously given
leave to file, not the latest proposed amended complaint.
Plaintiff replies that: (1) her failure to file the amended
complaint by the Court's deadline constituted excusable
neglect; and (2) KCATA would not be prejudiced should the
Court grant her motion for enlargement of time.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(B), a court may
extend the time in which an act may or must be done “if
the party failed to act because of excusable neglect.”
In determining whether the circumstances rise to the level of
excusable neglect, the Court must weigh “the danger of
prejudice to the [opposing party], the length of the delay
and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, the reason
for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable
control of the movant, and whether the movant acted in good
faith.” Pioneer Inv. Servs. Co. v. Brunswick
Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993).
“These four Pioneer factors do not carry equal
weight; the reason for delay is a key factor in the
analysis.” In re Guidant Corp. Implantable
Defibrillators Prods. Liab. Litig., 496 F.3d 863, 867
(8th Cir. 2007).
KCATA argues that it was prejudiced because it did not file
reply suggestions in support of its motion to dismiss,
assuming that Plaintiff's amended complaint would moot
the motion. This prejudice can be cured by allowing KCATA to
file reply suggestions or a renewed motion to dismiss based
on the amended complaint. Thus, KCATA is not unduly
prejudiced and this factor weighs in favor of allowing the
the Court finds that the length of this delay-five days-is
not unreasonable given that the litigation is in its early
stages. The second factor also weighs in favor of allowing
Counsel explains she missed the Court's deadline
“because Counsel was working on an Appeal Brief for the
Western District of Missouri which was also due on December
16, 2016” (Doc. 21 at 2). The amount of time required
to write and file the brief “was totally unexpected and
unavoidable and not within the control of Plaintiff or her
counsel” (Id.). But “courts have been
unwilling to view an attorney's busy schedule as
excusable neglect, ” and this factor weighs against
Plaintiff. Villines v. Gen. Motors Corp., No.
00-0613-CV-W-2-ECF, 2001 WL 36102766, at *6 (W.D. Mo. Aug.
27, 2001) (collecting cases).
in determining whether a party acted in good faith, the Court
must distinguish between “intentional delay or
disregard for the deadlines and procedural rules, and a
marginal failure to meet pleading or other deadlines.”
In re Guidant Corp., 496 F.3d at 867 (quoting
Johnson v. Dayton Elec. Mfg. Co., 140 F.3d 781, 784
(8th Cir. 1998)). At the time of its filing, the instant
motion was Plaintiff's first request for an extension of