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Henderson v. United Auto Workers Local 249 Union

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

August 11, 2017

MICHELLE DENISE HENDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED AUTO WORKERS LOCAL 249 UNION and FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          FERNANDO J. GAITAN, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Currently pending before the Court is defendant Ford Motor Company (“Ford's”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 7), United Auto Workers Local 249 Union (“UAW's”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 20) and plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File An Amended Complaint (Doc. 28), UAW's Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File An Amended Complaint (Doc. # 33), Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery (Doc. # 35) and Defendants' Motion for Extension of Time to File Dispositive Motions (Doc. # 38).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's initial Complaint was filed on July 18, 2016. In her initial Complaint, plaintiff alleged claims against the defendants for violations of Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and the Missouri Human Rights Act. Ford filed a Motion to Dismiss on November 15, 2016. On December 7, 2016, plaintiff was directed to show cause on or before December 30, 2016 why the Motion to Dismiss should not be granted. Plaintiff filed a one sentence response on December 30, 2016 just stating that she requested that the Court not grant the defendants' Motions to Dismiss and that she wished to continue to trial. On January 26, 2017, defendant UAW filed a Motion to Dismiss. On February 27, 2017, the court directed plaintiff to file a substantive response to the Motions to Dismiss on or before March 20, 2017. On March 20, 2017, plaintiff filed a response stating that after the filing of her initial Complaint, she discovered a great deal more information that should be brought before the court. Plaintiff then proceeded to list various causes of action such as breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, Americans with Disabilities Act, Breach of Contract, Wrongful Termination, deprivation of rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. On April 24, 2017, plaintiff delivered to the Court a forty-one page pleading entitled “Amended Civil Complaint” in which she provides additional details regarding the above referenced causes of action. Attached to the Amended Complaint are hundreds of pages of medical and mental health reports, statements and grievances. However, plaintiff did not file this pleading with the Court, nor does it appear from the Certificate of Service that she served this pleading on opposing counsel. On May 3, 2017, the Court directed plaintiff to file a Motion requesting leave to file the Amended Complaint. The Court instructed plaintiff to explain the reasons why she was seeking leave to amend her Complaint after the expiration of the deadline and also indicate whether she intended to continue asserting the claims in her initial Complaint for violations of for Title VII, ADEA and the Missouri Human Rights Act or whether she concedes that these claims are time barred.

         II. STANDARD

         In French v. Central Credit Services, No. 4:16CV1654RLW, 2017 WL 3105848 (E.D.Mo. July 20, 2017), the Court stated:

Under Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court should freely grant leave to amend a pleading when justice so requires. “[T]he court has broad discretion and will only deny leave to amend in order to avoid undue delay, where there has been bad faith on the part of the plaintiff, when amendment would be futile or when amendment would result in unfair prejudice to the defendants.” Swider v. Hologic, Inc., Civ. No. 12-1547 (DSD/AJB), 2012 WL 6015558 at *2 (D.Minn. Dec. 3, 2012)(citation omitted). However, “[w]here a party seeks leave to amend a complaint after the deadline in the applicable case management order has passed, the [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 16(b) good-cause standard applies first, then the ‘when justice so requires' standard of Rule 15(a) applies.” Jo Ann Howard & Assoc., P.C. v. Cassity, No. 4:09-CV-01252-ER, 2014 WL 6607077, at *4 (E.D.Mo. Nov. 19, 2014). “Good cause requires a change in circumstance, law, or newly discovered facts.” Id. (citing Hartis v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 948 (8th Cir. 2012)).

Id. at *1.

         To survive a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A pleading that merely pleads "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation" of the elements of a cause of action, or "naked assertions" devoid of "further factual enhancement" will not suffice. Id. (quoting Twombly). "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) we must accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true and grant all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Phipps v. FDIC, 417 F.3d 1006, 1010 (8th Cir. 2005).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Amend

         1. Good Cause for Leave to Amend

         In her Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, plaintiff states that the “amended complaint maintains the counts and allegations against the same defendants from the original complaint, but accounts for the significant factual and procedural developments that have occurred since the original complaint was filed.” (Motion to Amend, pp. 1-2). Plaintiff then states that she has been at a disadvantage in this case from the beginning due to severe injuries she suffered in a fire in December 2016. Plaintiff states that the side effects of being in a medically induced coma hampered her memory and as a result, her ability to meet the deadlines in the Scheduling and Trial Order. Additionally, plaintiff states that “[n]one of the factors that may militate against granting a motion to amend is present in this case. Plaintiff moved swiftly to file these papers once the Supreme Court's ruling issued and administrative proceedings resumed[1]. Thus, there is no undue delay in Plaintiff's request to amend. The newly-alleged facts were entirely unknown - and in fact, not in existence- at the time the Commission filed its original complaint. Plaintiff is not seeking the amendment in bad faith or with a dilatory motive.” (Motion to Amend, pp.5-6). Again, the Court is not sure what “newly alleged facts” plaintiff is referring to, as the facts alleged in the Amended Complaint occurred between August 2007 and February 4, 2015 and relate to four different injuries plaintiff suffered while employed by Ford. Plaintiff alleged that she was put on involuntary leave status due to these injuries and despite the Union's involvement, Ford has failed to return her to work in a position that would accommodate her disabilities. Plaintiff's initial Complaint was filed on July 18, 2016. In her initial Complaint, plaintiff alleged that she was put on involuntary leave due to on the job injuries and despite union involvement Ford failed to return her to work in a position that she can perform within the medical restrictions and in a non-hostile, non-threatening work environment. Plaintiff also alleged that no one from the Union took steps to return her to work. She also stated that she was told that she was not allowed to return to the Ford plant after she was assaulted on November 19, 2014. (Doc. # 5, pp. 6-7).

         The only significant difference that the Court can discern between the original complaint and the amended Complaint, are the causes of action. In the initial Complaint, plaintiff asserted causes of action under Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). In the Amended Complaint, plaintiff again alleges violation of ADA, but also adds the the following counts: 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Breach of Fiduciary Duty; Negligence; Breach of Contract and Wrongful Termination.

         Defendants argue that the Motion for Leave to Amend should be denied because: 1) plaintiff failed to demonstrate good cause and 2) any amendment would be futile. Defendants state that the deadline in the Scheduling Order to file amended pleadings was February 24, 2017, however, plaintiff did not deliver her amended complaint to the Court until April 24, 2017, two months past the deadline. As noted above, “[g]ood cause requires a change in circumstance, law, or newly discovered facts.” Jo Ann Howard & Assoc., P.C. v. Cassity, No. 4:09-CV-01252-ER, 2014 WL 6607077, at *4 (E.D.Mo. Nov. 19, 2014). The Court does not find that plaintiff has demonstrated that she meets any of these criteria.

         The original complaint was filed on July 18, 2016. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint was received by the Clerk's Office on April 24, 2017. The factual premise of both the original and amended complaints is the same, plaintiff has not added any new factual information to her amended complaint, that she did not possess before. Nor has plaintiff alleged that there have been any changes in the laws relating to her claims. The only change in circumstance that plaintiff has alleged is that she was severely injured during a fire in December. But, this was six months after the original complaint was filed and all of the facts and information contained in the amended complaint were known to plaintiff before she was injured. Thus, the Court does not find that plaintiff has satisfied the good cause standard for filing an Amended Complaint. However, even if plaintiff had been able to satisfy this standard, the Court still finds that the Motion to Amend should be denied because any amendment would be futile.

         2. Futility

         Defendants state that the motion for leave to file an amended complaint should also be denied because the amendments would be futile, as they could not withstand a motion to dismiss. The Court will examine each of the counts alleged in ...


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