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Lynch v. Bobcat of Fort Wayne, Inc.

United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

December 11, 2014

BRYAN P. LYNCH, Plaintiff,
v.
BOBCAT OF FORT WAYNE, INC., Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ROGER B. COSBEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Before the Court is a Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff Bryan Lynch on November 24, 2014, seeking to amend his complaint to: (1) name “Buddycat, LLC, d/b/a Bobcat of Fort Wayne” (“Buddycat”) as an additional defendant; and (2) add a claim of unpaid wages under Indiana Code § 22-2-5-1 et seq. (Docket # 22.) Defendant Bobcat of Fort Wayne, Inc. (“Bobcat”), opposes the motion, contending that Lynch’s amendments are futile. (Docket # 23.) Lynch has not filed a reply to his motion to amend, and the time to do so has now passed.

For the following reasons, the motion to amend will be GRANTED in part and DENIED without prejudice in part.

A. Factual and Procedural Background

On May 20, 2014, Lynch filed this action against Bobcat, his former employer, contending that it discriminated against him on the basis of a disability or perceived disability and retaliated against him when it terminated his employment, all in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Indiana Workers Compensation Act. (Docket # 1.) Lynch also asserts that Bobcat failed to pay him for hours of training in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (Compl. ¶¶ 8, 11.)

Bobcat filed an answer on August 1, 2014, and the Court conducted a preliminary pretrial conference on August 29, 2014. (Docket # 14, 18.) At the conference, the Court set November 24, 2014, as the last day for Lynch to amend his pleadings; and March 31, 2015, as the last day for the completion of all discovery. (Docket # 16, 18.)

Lynch filed the instant motion to amend on November 24, 2014. (Docket # 22.)

B. Standard of Review

“[T]he decision to grant or deny a motion to file an amended pleading is a matter purely within the sound discretion of the district court.” Soltys v. Costello, 520 F.3d 737, 743 (7th Cir. 2008) (alteration in original) (citation omitted). “The court ‘should freely give leave when justice so requires.’” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2)); see Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S 178, 182 (1962). “Although the rule reflects a liberal attitude towards the amendment of pleadings, courts in their sound discretion may deny a proposed amendment if the moving party has unduly delayed in filing the motion, if the opposing party would suffer undue prejudice, or if the pleading is futile.” Soltys, 520 F.3d at 743 (citation omitted); see Foman, 371 U.S. at 182.

C. Discussion

As explained earlier, Lynch seeks to amend his complaint to name Buddycat as an additional defendant and add a claim of unpaid wages under state law. Bobcat opposes the motion on the basis of futility. Bobcat’s arguments are persuasive only in part.

“[F]utility is measured by the capacity of the amendment to survive a motion to dismiss.” Duthie v. Matria Healthcare, Inc., 254 F.R.D. 90, 94 (N.D. Ill. 2008) (citing Crestview Vill. Apartments v. U.S. Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev., 383 F.3d 552, 558 (7th Cir. 2004); Barry Aviation, Inc. v. Land O’Lakes Mun. Airport Comm’n, 377 F.3d 682, 687 (7th Cir. 2004)). “That means a proposed amendment must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Duthie, 254 F.R.D. at 94 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)).

1. Title VII Claims Against Buddycat

Lynch alleges in his proposed amended complaint that at all material times both Bobcat and Buddycat were his “employer” under the relevant statutes, and thus, “are jointly liable under predecessor/successor liability and/or joint/multiple employer liability doctrines.”[1] (Proposed First Am. Compl. ΒΆ 2.) Lynch, however, named only Bobcat as a respondent in the charge of discrimination that he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in September 2013. ...


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