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Gustafson v. BI-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District

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

May 31, 2019

SCOTT GUSTAFSON, Plaintiff,
v.
BI-STATE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE MISSOURI-ILLINOIS METROPOLITAN DISTRICT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on plaintiff Scott Gustafson's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint. Defendant Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District opposes the motion and plaintiff filed a reply memorandum. For the following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed this action on December 23, 2015 in the Circuit Court of the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, St. Louis City, Missouri, asserting claims of public accommodation discrimination and unlawful discriminatory practices in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). (Doc. 5). Plaintiff filed a first amended petition on April 26, 2016 and a second amended petition on August 8, 2018. (Docs. 1, 6).

         On December 10, 2018, the state court granted plaintiff leave to file a third amended petition (“complaint”) (Doc. 8), which included his previous MHRA claims and two additional claims: denial of access to governmental services, programs, and activities in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. (“ADA”), and failure to provide accommodations and access to information in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 (“Rehab Act”). Defendant removed this action on December 12, 2018 on the basis of federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Doc. 1).

         On February 13, 2019, this Court dismissed plaintiff's MHRA claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Docs. 33, 34). A Case Management Order was subsequently issued, allowing the parties until May 1, 2019 to file motions to join additional parties or amend pleadings. (Doc. 38).

         On May 1, 2019, plaintiff filed the instant motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint to include three additional violations under his ADA and Rehab Act claims:

a. Defendant failed to ensure that the platform edges at MetroLink stations meet ADA requirements for clear visual contrast;
b. Defendant failed to ensure that wayfinding markings and signage for people with visual impairments at its rail stations, bus transfer centers, and bus stops is in compliance with the ADA; and
c. Defendant operated a new, non-compliant, real-time information and trip-planning mobile application, called “Transit.”

(Doc. 41).

         Plaintiff's proposed fourth amended complaint also seeks to include his dismissed MHRA claims, stating in a footnote: “Plaintiff acknowledges that on February 13, 201[9] this Court dismissed his MHRA Claims . . ., but only includes the claims for purpose of preserving the issues for potential appeal.” (Doc. 41-1 n. 2).

         II. Legal Standard

         Because plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint was filed by the Case Management Order's deadline to file motions to join additional parties or amend pleadings, but more than twenty-one days after service of a motion to dismiss under Rule 15(b), it is governed by the standard of Rule 15(a)(2), which states, “The court ...


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