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Brown v. Target, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 18, 2016

INGRID M. BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
TARGET, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          ELLEN LIPTON HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this employment discriminaiion case, I consider a motion for leave to file a third amended complain,, filed after the close of discovery by plaintiff Ingrid Brown.

         On March 26, 2014, Brown filed suit against her former employer, Target, Inc. ("Target"), [1] claiming that Target discriminated against her on the basis of age and race, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000(e) et seq. ("Title VII"), and the Age Discrimination Employment Act ("ADEA",, 29 U.S.C. §§ 626 et seq. ECF 1. After Target filed three motions to dismiss (ECF 6; ECF 14; ECF 21) and Brown filed two amended complaints (ECF 13; ECF 19), the parties commenced discovery. See ECF 35. After two extensions, discovery closed on June 30, 2016. See ECF 56.

         On July 7, 2016, almost two and a half years after suit was filed, Brown filed "Plaintiffs Motion and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to File Amended Pleading" (ECF 57, the "Motion",, accompanied by two exhibits. ECF 57-1; ECF 57-2. Target opposes the Motion. ECF 58 ("Opposition"). Brown has replied. ECF 61 (''Reply").

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant the Motion in part and deny it in part.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff, who is African-American and over the age of forty (ECF 19 ¶¶ 2, 7), began work for Target in 2007. Id. ¶ 7. On September 20, 2010, plaintiff filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") an initial charge of employment discrimination based on race and age. Id. ¶¶ 6, 9. She filed a formal Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on January 18, 2011. Id. ¶9; see also ECF 21-1 at 13 ("Charge".. In the Charge (ECF 21-1 at 13), plaintiff stated, in part: "I have been passed over for promotion since September 20, 200.. There have been positions available (Guest Service Team Leader ['GSTL]] and Guest Service Assistant ['GSA']) that I have been qualified for, but was not selected for either position. My employer has hired younger White employees from the outside that [sic] were not qualified for these positions." She added, id: "There are no Black Team Leaders in this store." And, she said, id.: "My employer has not given me a reason for not promoting me." On or about December 27, 203;, the EEOC issued a "Notice of Right to Sue" to plaintiff. ECF 19 ¶ 6.

         As noted, plaintiff filed this suit on March 26, 2014. ECF 1. Target filed a motion to dismiss (the "First Motion to Dismiss"). ECF 6. Plaintiff did not file a timely response. However, on August 21, 2014, Brown filed an untimely "Plaintiffs Motion and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to File Amended Pleading" (the "Motion for Leave"). ECF 10. By Order of August 21, 2014 (ECF 12), I granted the Motion for Leave (ECF 10) and denied as moot the First Motion to Dismiss (ECF 6).

         The Amended Complaint again alleged that Target discriminated against Brown on the basis of her age and race, in violation of the ADEA and Title VII. ECF 13. Brown asserted that defendant discriminated by scheduling her to work fewer hours than younger, white employees; by denying her "training and promotional opportunities" in favor of younger, white employees; and retaliated against her for engagement in civil rights activities protected under Title VII, by assigning her fewer work hours and denying her training opportunities and promotion.. Id.

         In response, Target moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint (the "Second Motion to Dismiss"). ECF 14. By Memorandum Opinion (ECF 17) and Order (ECF 18) of May 20, 205,, I granted the Second Motion to Dismiss (ECF 14). I agreed with Target that, with the exception of those claims pertaining to allegations that Target discriminated against plaintiff on the basis of her age and/or race by denying promotions, Brown had failed to exhaust the administrative claims process of the EEOC. See ECF 17 at 12-13. I also agreed with Target that the Amended Complaint failed to state a claim for failure-to-promote under both the ADEA and Title VII. Id. at 17-18. In particular, I noted that, although Brown's EEOC Charge identified two positions for which she allegedly applied and was denied a promotion, the Amended Complaint did not identify the positions for which Brown applied and was rejected. See Id. at 17. In addition, I concluded that although Brown alleged that younger persons of a different race received the promotions she sought, she failed to allege facts to support a reasonable inference that Brown was not promoted because of her age or race. Id. at 18. Nevertheless,, I granted Brown leave to file a Second Amended Complaint, to supplement her allegations as to her failure-to-promote claims under the ADEA and Title VII. ECF 18.

         Brown filed a Second Amended Complaint on June 11, 2015. ECF 19. In relevant part, the Second Amended Complaint added the following factual allegations, id. ¶10:

Plaintiff was clearly more qualified, more experience [sic], and had [a] better performance and attendance record, to work as GSTL or GSA, than the individuals who were selected and promoted as GSTL or GSA. These included:
a. Angelina Baker who is white and [was] less than forty years of age when she was selected and promoted to the GSTL in September 2010. The position was not posted before Angelina Baker was selected and promoted. Plaintiff was never considered.
b. Brieanna Gwinn who is white and [was] less than forty years of age when she was selected and promoted to the GSA position sometime in October 2010. The position was not posted before Brieanna Gwinn was ...

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