United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants Massey Enterprises,
Inc. and FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.'s motions for
summary judgment (#48, #53). Plaintiff Pamela Norman claims
she was discriminated against in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq.. The motions have been fully briefed and are ripe
filed this lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Scott County,
Missouri. Her first petition brought claims against William
Morrow, Dustin Massey, Massey Enterprises, Inc., and FedEx
Ground Package System, Inc. under the Missouri Human Rights
Act (“MHRA”). Plaintiff later amended her
petition to add claims under Title VII. Defendants then
removed the case in light of federal question jurisdiction.
This Court dismissed plaintiff's MHRA claims due to their
untimeliness and dismissed plaintiff's claims against
individuals Morrow and Massey because Title VII does not
impose liability on supervisors. The remaining defendants,
FedEx and Massey Enterprises, have moved for summary judgment
on plaintiff's claims for sex discrimination, sexual
harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation.
noted, this Court has already dismissed plaintiff's MHRA
claims as untimely filed. The MHRA requires that a plaintiff
seeking to pursue a claim under the MHRA must first have been
issued a “right-to-sue” letter from the Missouri
Human Rights Commission. § 213.111.1 RSMo. A plaintiff
must then file his or her action within 90 days of the date
of the right-to-sue letter. Id. Plaintiff's
Missouri right-to-sue letter was dated May 25, 2017. Her
deadline to file an MHRA claim was thus August 23, 2017.
Plaintiff's petition was filed on August 25, 2017-two
days late. Lawsuits under the MHRA that are filed after the
90-day deadline are barred by the statute of limitations and
must be dismissed. E.g., Hammond v. Mun.
Correction Inst., 117 S.W.3d 130, 137 (Mo.Ct.App. 2003).
did not file her Title VII claim until October 1-after
defendants had moved to dismiss the MHRA claim but before
that motion was ruled on. The Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) had issued plaintiff her
right to sue letter on June 7; that letter stated that any
claim had to be filed within 90 days-by September 8, 2017
after adding three days for mailing time allowed by Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 6. See also 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(f)(1). Defendant Massey Enterprises argues that
because plaintiff did not amend her petition to add her Title
VII claims until nearly a month after the deadline, her
claims are time-barred.
responds that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c) saves her
claim. Plaintiff relies on Mandacina v. United
States, 328 F.3d 995, 1000 (8th Cir. 2003), which
explains that Rule 15(c)'s “relation back doctrine
allows untimely claims to be deemed timely by treating the
claims as if they had been filed when the timely claims were
filed.” “An amendment to a pleading shall
‘relate back' to the date of the original pleading
only if the claim asserted in the original pleading and the
claim asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the same
conduct, transaction, or occurrence.” Id.
(internal quotations omitted). No. one doubts that, here, the
amended pleading's claim arose from the same conduct;
however, plaintiff's own case requires a “timely
claim” filed with the original petition. Id.;
see also Taylor v. United States, 792 F.3d 865, 869
(8th Cir. 2015) (“Claims made in an untimely filed
motion under § 2255 may be deemed timely if they relate
back to a timely filed motion…”.). Again, this
Court has already held that plaintiff's original petition
was not timely.
Eighth Circuit has not spoken on the precise issue before the
Court. But the Supreme Court, addressing a different
relation-back issue, has observed that Rule 15(c)
“governs when an amended pleading ‘relates
back' to the date of a timely filed original
pleading.” Krupski v. Costa Crociere S. p. A.,
560 U.S. 538, 541 (2010) (emphasis added). Looking to other
jurisdictions, the Seventh Circuit held that an amended
complaint alleging violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
could not relate back to an untimely original complaint in
Henderson v. Bolanda, 253 F.3d 928 (7th Cir. 2001).
See also Williams v. Lampe, 399 F.3d 867, 870 (7th
Cir. 2005). Numerous district court decisions have followed.
E.g., Clink v. Oregon Health & Sci.
Univ., 9 F.Supp.3d 1162, 1165 (D. Or.
2014); Washington v. Potter,
1:09-CV-1774-JOF-RGV, 2010 WL 2635647, at *4 (N.D.Ga. Apr.
16, 2010), report and recommendation adopted, 2010 WL 2635649
(N.D.Ga. June 28, 2010); Roberts v. Newberry Coll.,
C/A 7:08-3198GRABHH, 2009 WL 1485038, at *3 (D.S.C. May 27,
2009). This Court is in agreement with those that have held
that “it strains reason to argue that one untimely
complaint can be saved by relating back to another untimely
complaint.” Papenthien v. Papenthien, 16
F.Supp.2d 1235, 1240-41 (S.D.Cal.1998). “Stated
otherwise, it simply makes no sense to hold that a complaint
that was dead on arrival can breathe life into another
Court therefore need not reach the parties' substantive
arguments for summary judgment. The Court will grant
defendant Massey Enterprises's motion for summary
judgment. Defendant FedEx did not raise this argument in its
own motion for summary judgment; however, the Court will hold
the motion in abeyance and allow defendant FedEx seven days
in which to file supplemental briefing on this matter.
Plaintiff will be permitted seven days in which to file any
response to FedEx's supplemental briefing.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant Massey Enterprises,
Inc.'s motion for summary judgment (#53) is GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that defendant FedEx Ground Package Systems,
Inc.'s motion for summary judgment (#48) is HELD IN
FINALLY ORDERED that defendant FedEx Ground Package Systems
shall have until June 11, 2019 in which to file supplemental
briefing with respect to the effect of this Memorandum and
Order on the claims against FedEx, and plaintiff ...