United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
CRYST'N J. CURRY, Plaintiff,
WESTGATE ENTERPRISES, INC. and RAINBOW CITY CHICKEN, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on “Plaintiff's
Motion to Amend Complaint.” (Doc. 49). In her motion,
Plaintiff Cryst'n Curry requests leave under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) to amend her complaint to add a
new party, Anniston Fried Chicken, Inc., as a defendant. For
the reasons discussed below, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's
Rainbow City employed Ms. Curry from September 11, 2011,
until her termination on May 19, 2016. Ms. Curry's
complaint arises directly from her termination, and Ms. Curry
alleges that Beth Ezell, the area director at the time,
“effectively decided to terminate Ms. Curry.”
(Doc. 49 at 2).
Ms. Curry filed her first amended complaint, she believed
Defendant Westgate Enterprises, Inc. employed Ms. Ezell.
(Doc. 7 at ¶ 8). So, even though Ms. Curry worked at and
was terminated by Defendant Rainbow City Chicken, Inc., she
alleged Westgate and Rainbow City were both liable under
either a joint or single employer theory. (Doc. 7 at
court entered a Scheduling Order in this case on June 14,
2018, in which it provided that “Plaintiff(s) may amend
pleadings and/or join additional parties, in accordance with
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, until August 1, 2018.” (Doc. 26 at 2).
The court entered a Revised Scheduling Order on January 30,
2019, but did not amend or extend the August 1 deadline,
which by that time had already expired. (Doc. 32).
her November 7, 2018 deposition, Ms. Ezell, who terminated
Ms. Curry, identified her employer as Anniston Fried Chicken.
(Doc. 51-1 at 10:22-11:6). Mike Cothran, the owner of
Westgate, Rainbow City, and Anniston Fried Chicken, confirmed
Ms. Ezell as an employee of Anniston Fried Chicken during his
February 22, 2018 deposition. (Doc. 49-1 at 17:13-16). Mr.
Cothran also identified Ms. Ezell as an area director with
supervisory responsibilities at Westgate, Rainbow City, and
Anniston Fried Chicken. (Doc. 49-1 at 19:12-18, 20:13-16).
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), courts
“should freely give leave [to amend complaints] when
justice so requires.” Rule 15 is a liberal amendment
policy within the discretion of the district court. Foman
v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
when a scheduling order sets a deadline to amend pleadings
and a party seeks to amend after the deadline, the court
should apply the standard under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 16(b). O'dell v. Wal-Mart Stores East,
L.P., o. 5:18-CV-1763, 2019 WL 2206444, at *3 (N.D. Ala.
May 22, 2019). Rule 16(b)(4) provides that a “schedule
may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's
consent.” The decision to grant a plaintiff leave to
amend her complaint under either Rule 15 or 16 falls within
the court's discretion.
Curry seeks leave to add Anniston Fried Chicken as a
defendant after the August 1, 2018, deadline to amend
pleadings set out in the Scheduling Order. (Doc. 26 at 2). So
Ms. Curry must show good cause why the court should modify
its Scheduling Order and allow her to amend her complaint
Ms. Curry's motion applies the more liberal Rule 15
standard, the court still concludes that she has met her
burden of showing good cause.
Curry alleges she did not know Anniston Fried Chicken was Ms.
Ezell's employer until November 7, 2018, more than two
months after the Scheduling Order's cutoff to amend
pleadings. (Doc. 49 at 3 n. 1). Failing to amend a complaint
before the cutoff date because the plaintiff did not know the
party should be added until after the cutoff ...