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Nodd v. Integrated Airline Servs., Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

August 4, 2014

ZINA B. NODD, Plaintiff,
v.
INTEGRATED AIRLINE SERVICES, INC., Defendant

Order Filed: August 21, 2014

For Zina B. Nodd, Plaintiff: Ronnie L. Williams, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mobile, AL.

For Integrated Airline Services, Inc., Defendant: R. Scott Hetrick, LEAD ATTORNEY, Adams & Reese, LLP, Mobile, AL.

Page 1356

ORDER

Callie V. S. Granade, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

After due and proper consideration of the issues raised, and there having been no objections filed, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge made under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and dated August 4, 2014, (Doc. 33) is ADOPTED as the opinion of this Court. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (Doc. 25) is GRANTED, and the Defendant's motions to dismiss (Docs. 18, 20) are DENIED as moot.

The clerk is directed to file the second amended complaint attached to Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 25). Defendant's responsive pleading shall be filed no later than September 4, 2014.

DONE and ORDERED.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KATHERINE P. NELSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Pending before the Court are the " Motion to Dismiss Plaintff's [sic] Amended Complaint Counts Three and Four" (Doc. 18), the " Motion to Dismiss Count Five (in Part) for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction" (Doc. 20), and briefs in support of both motions (Docs. 19, 21) filed by the Defendant, Integrated Airline Services, Inc. (" IAS" ). The Plaintiff, Zina B. Nodd (" Nodd" ), has timely filed responses (Docs. 23 -- 24) in opposition to the motions to dismiss. Contemporaneous with her responses, Nodd also filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint under

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Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) (Doc. 25). IAS has filed a response (Doc. 26) in opposition to the motion for leave to amend, and Nodd has timely filed a reply (Doc. 29) to the response.

The motions to dismiss (Docs. 18, 20) and the motion for leave to amend (Doc. 25) have been taken under submission and are ripe for adjudication. ( See Docs. 22, 27). These motions have been referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for entry of a report and recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(1). Upon consideration, and for the reasons stated herein, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Nodd's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (Doc. 25) be GRANTED and that IAS's motions to dismiss (Docs. 18, 20) be DENIED as moot.

I. Applicable Background

Nodd initiated this action on December 5, 2013, by filing pro se a complaint (Doc. 1) alleging claims against IAS under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (" § 1981" ) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. , as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a (" Title VII" ), for alleged unlawful discrimination " based on her race, sex, [and] religion," as well as unlawful retaliation. ( See Doc. 1). On April 7, 2014, Nodd's current counsel of record entered his appearance in this action. (Doc. 7). On June 6, 2014, IAS filed a motion to dismiss Nodd's complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6). (Doc. 12). On June 9, 2014, Nodd filed her Amended Complaint (Doc. 15), currently the operative pleading in this action; [1] accordingly, the first motion to dismiss (Doc. 12) was declared moot.[2] (Doc. 17).

Per the allegations in the Amended Complaint, IAS is a business providing cargo-handling services at Brookley Field in Mobile, Alabama, for various carriers with terminals at that location. (Doc. 15 at 2, ¶ 2). Nodd was first hired by IAS in May 2006, has been employed with IAS as a Mail Handler Supervisor since 2008 at its Brookley Field location, and is the only female supervisor employed at that location. ( Id. at 1-2, ¶ ¶ 1, 4). Nodd stated that her Amended Complaint was being filed " to more clearly set out her claims for relief and the facts upon which her claims are based..." ( Id. at 1). Nodd asserted that she " is seeking principally declaratory and injunctive relief, back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, and other relief to redress discrimination in employment on the basis of her sex and retaliation" under both Title VII and § 1981. ( Id. ).

The Amended Complaint alleges five causes of action against IAS:

1. Count One -- retaliation in violation of Title VII by reducing Nodd's work hours after her " complaints of discrimination; "

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2. Count Two -- retaliation in violation of Title VII by suspending Nodd without pay because she filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" );
3. Count Three -- retaliation in violation of § 1981 by reducing Nodd's work hours after her " complaints of discrimination; "
4. Count Four -- retaliation in violation of § 1981 by suspending Nodd without pay because she filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC; and
5. Count Five -- " unlawful sex discrimination" in violation of Title VII by " reducing [Nodd's] work hours, suspending her without pay, and denying her the same terms, conditions and privileges of employment as male supervisors..."

( Id. at 7-8).

IAS asserts that Counts Three and Four of the Amended Complaint are due to be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted because § 1981 only applies to claims based on racial discrimination and does not cover claims for sex discrimination. ( See Docs. 18 -- 19). IAS asserts that Count Five is due to be dismissed in part under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because Nodd failed to exhaust her EEOC administrative remedies with regard to her claim that IAS discriminated against her on the basis of her sex by " suspending her without pay[] and denying her the same terms, conditions and privileges of employment as male supervisors..." ( See Docs. 20 -- 21).

While Nodd has responded (Docs. 23 -- 24) in opposition to the arguments in IAS's motions to dismiss, she has also filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (Doc. 25) " so as to clarify several factual statements made that may contribute to a lack of understanding of Plaintiff's claims in this case." [3] (Doc. 25 at 1). In its response in opposition to the motion to amend, IAS asserts that leave to file a second amended complaint should be denied because 1) amendment would be futile, for the reasons set forth in its pending motions to dismiss, and 2) " due to bad faith, dilatory motives, [Nodd's] rejection of a previous opportunity to amend which caused unnecessary expense to IAS, and her repeated failure to cure deficiencies." (Doc. 26).

II. Analysis

a. Rule 15(a)(2) Motion to Amend Complaint

" After a party has amended its pleading once as a matter of course, the party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or with the court's leave." Spaulding v. Poitier, 548 F.App'x 587, 593-94 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2)), cert. denied, 134 S.Ct. 1880, 188 L.Ed.2d 918 (2014) District courts may properly deny leave to amend when an amendment would be futile." " The decision whether to grant leave to amend a complaint is within the sole discretion of the district court. Rule 15(a), however, limits the court's discretion by mandating that 'leave shall be freely given when justice so requires.'" Laurie v. Ala. Court of Criminal Appeals, 256 F.3d 1266, 1274 (11th Cir. 2001) ( per curiam ) (quoting Halliburton & Assoc. v.

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Henderson, Few & Co., 774 F.2d 441 (11th Cir. 1985)). " There must be a substantial reason to deny a motion to amend." Id. " A district court need not...allow an amendment (1) where there has been undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, or repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed; (2) where allowing amendment would cause undue prejudice to the opposing party; or (3) where amendment would be futile." Bryant v. Dupree, 252 F.3d 1161, 1163 (11th Cir. ...


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