United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
XINIS United States District Judge
is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (ECF
No. 18). The issues are fully briefed and the Court now rules
pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary.
Plaintiff's Motion is granted.
March 3, 2017, Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of
similarly situated putative class members, filed a class
action against Defendant Full Citizenship of Maryland,
alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.,
the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (“MWHL”), Md. Code
Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-401 et seq.; and the
Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law
(“MWPCL”), Md. Code Ann., Lab & Empl. §
3-501 et seq., as well as injunctive relief pursuant
to 29 U.S.C. § 217. Defendant has answered the complaint
and discovery pertinent to class certification is underway.
29, 2017, Plaintiff moved to amend the complaint pursuant to
Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Specifically, Plaintiff seeks to add named Plaintiffs
“to ensure that the class is adequately represented by
a number of typical class members.” ECF No. 18 at 1.
Plaintiff also seeks to clarify the basis for federal
jurisdiction under the FLSA and the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”), codified in relevant part at 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d). Plaintiff also proposes to add class
allegations covering those individuals who were not paid the
legal minimum wage in any one work week. Finally, Plaintiff
would add Pansy Stancil-Diaz as a named Defendant because she
has allegedly exerted personal control over and
responsibility for the unlawful pay practices. Plaintiff
avers that she only recently learned of the factual bases
supporting the proposed amendments. ECF No. 18 at 3. For the
reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion is granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
15(a) permits amendment of pleadings automatically within
twenty-one days after service of a responsive pleading. After
such time, amendment is permitted only by consent of the
opposing party or by leave of court. Id. Pursuant to
Rule 15(a)(2), “[t]he court should freely give leave
[to amend] when justice so requires.” The Court only
should deny the motion if amendment “would prejudice
the opposing party, reward bad faith on the part of the
moving party, or would amount to futility, ” MTB
Servs., Inc. v. Tuckman-Barbee Constr. Co., No. RDB-
12-2109, 2013 WL 1819944, at *3 (D. Md. Apr. 30, 2013)
(citing Steinburg v. Chesterfield Cty. Planning
Comm'n, 527 F.3d 377, 390 (4th Cir. 2008)).
lodges two primary objections to the proposed amendment.
First, Defendant asserts that the addition of minimum wage
claims must be brought in a separate suit, primarily because
keeping the claims together would “confuse the
issues” and prejudice defendant by expanding class
discovery. ECF No. 26 at 4. Second, Defendant claims that
adding Stancil-Diaz as a named defendant is inappropriate
because counsel for Plaintiff's involvement in a prior
class action lawsuit against Defendant provided counsel with
sufficient information regarding her role as Executive
Director of Full Citizenship. Neither argument is persuasive.
regard to adding the minimum wage claims, they are certainly
related to the underlying class complaint in that they
involve the same institutional defendant, the same time
frame, and the same basic state law framework as the other
state claims. Further, Plaintiff avers (and Defendant does
not dispute) that Plaintiff first learned the factual bases
for this claim during the course of initial class discovery
which has taken place in the last few months. What is more,
any possible prejudice may be cured by a reasonable
enlargement of time in the scheduling order to accommodate
discovery on the new claims.
process seems far more efficient than denying amendment.
Denial would force Plaintiff to bring a separate suit as well
as additional motions regarding consolidation of the two
class cases. Given that the claims are sufficiently related
enough to permit amendment, to do otherwise would appear
wasteful and unnecessary.
with regard to joining Stancil-Diaz, Defendant's only
objection centers on the fact that Plaintiff's counsel
learned certain information about Stancil-Diaz during prior
litigation. Defendant does not dispute, however, that the
request for amendment is based on additional information from
witnesses who just came forward. ECF No. 18 at 3. That
Plaintiff may have learned other information prior to this
suit about Stancil-Diaz does not undercut why amendment is
warranted in this case based on new information learned
relatively early in the discovery process. In short,
Defendant has not marshalled sufficient evidence of prejudice
to warrant denial of amendment.
reasons stated in the foregoing, and on this 4th day of
August, 2017, Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend the
Complaint (ECF No. 18) is hereby GRANTED. The clerk is
directed to detach and file Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
(ECF No. ...