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Jurriaans v. Alabama Cooperative Extension System

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

October 11, 2018

WANDA JURRIAANS, Plaintiff,
v.
ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SYSTEM; AUBURN UNIVERSITY; GARY LEMME, in his official capacity; STANLEY WINDHAM, in his official capacity; CHRIS McCLENDON, in his official capacity; KYLE KOSTELECKY, in his official capacity; and PAUL BROWN, in his official capacity, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          W. KEITH WATKINS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         “The parties will not amend the complaint.” That is what the parties told the court in August 2018. (Doc. # 68, at 2.) But then Plaintiff moved for leave to file a third amended complaint based on information her attorney apparently had since April 2018. (Doc. # 73.) The motion for leave to amend is due to be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2016, Plaintiff Wanda Jurriaans filed two charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The first alleged that Defendants discriminated against her based on her age and gender. (Doc. # 75, at 10-13.) Her second charge alleged that Defendants fired her in retaliation for her first charge. (Doc. # 75, at 15-17.) The EEOC investigated the charges, found no discrimination, and sent Plaintiff right-to-sue letters. (Doc. # 75, at 37-45.)

         Plaintiff then filed this action in March 2017. (Doc. # 1.) Plaintiff amended her complaint in May 2017 (Doc. # 14) and again in September 2017 (Doc. # 36). In essence, she claims Defendants violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. The Magistrate Judge filed a Recommendation on Defendants' motion to dismiss in December 2017. (Doc. # 55.) In July 2017, the court adopted the Recommendation in part and rejected it in part. (Doc. # 60.)

         In August 2018, the parties filed a joint report under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f). (Doc. # 28.) In that report, the parties represented that they had completed discovery and would not amend the complaint. (Doc. # 68, at 2.) The resulting Uniform Scheduling Order set an October 1, 2018, discovery deadline and a November 14, 2018, deadline for amending the pleadings. (Doc. # 71, at 2.)

         On September 5, Plaintiff deposed Defendant Kyle Kostelecky. (Doc. # 73, at 2.) Before defense counsel interrupted, Plaintiff's attorney tried to ask Defendant Kostelecky about discrimination against four other women - Margaret Odom, Sallie Hooker, Melanie Allen, and Wanda Carpenter - who had worked for Defendants. Those women had filed charges of age and gender discrimination with the EEOC in March and April 2018. (Doc. # 75, at 47-50.) Plaintiff's attorney represents those women (Doc. # 75, at 52), and it appears his law firm helped them prepare their EEOC charges. Plaintiff's attorney brought Odom's draft lawsuit and the other women's EEOC charges with him to Defendant Kostelecky's deposition. (Doc. # 73, at 2.)

         Two weeks after the deposition, on September 18, Plaintiff moved to amend her complaint to allege that Defendants “engaged in a pattern and practice of age discrimination against four other older female employees.” (Doc. # 73-1, at 8.) Defendants oppose the motion to amend. (Doc. # 75.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         In general, a district court “should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). But leave to amend may be denied “where there has been undue delay” or “where amendment would be futile.” In re Engle Cases, 767 F.3d 1082, 1108-09 (11th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). Plaintiff bears the burden of showing that she is entitled to amend her complaint. Id. at 1119 n.37. She has not met her burden.

         A. The motion for leave to amend is unduly delayed.

         Plaintiff's proposed amendment is delayed. The amendment is based on alleged discrimination against Margaret Odom, Sallie Hooker, Melanie Allen, and Wanda Carpenter. Odom and Hooker filed their charges of discrimination with the EEOC in March 2018; Allen and Carpenter filed their charges in April 2018. (Doc. # 75, at 47-50.) Plaintiff's attorney represents all four women (Doc. # 75, at 52), and his firm apparently helped the four women prepare their EEOC charges. So it appears Plaintiff's attorney could have amended Plaintiff's complaint well before September 18, 2018.

         Though mere delay is usually an insufficient reason to deny leave to amend, undue delay is sufficient. Whether delay is undue depends on “the reasons for the delay” and “prejudice to the nonmoving party.” Engle, 767 F.3d at 1118-19.

         1. Plaintiff has not offered an adequate ...


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