United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge.
Garrett Hollars alleges that on the morning of February 7,
2016, a coworker raped him. At some point following the
alleged incident, Mr. Hollars' employer - Roadhouse Host
LLC, a franchise of Texas Roadhouse Development Corporation
(hereinafter, “Texas Roadhouse”) -
terminated his employment.
Hollars brought suit against Texas Roadhouse in Madison
Circuit Court, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as
several state law causes of action. [Filing No.
1-1.] On April 13, 2018, Texas Roadhouse removed Mr.
Hollars' suit to this Court on the basis of federal
question jurisdiction, with supplemental jurisdiction over
Mr. Hollars' state law claims. [Filing No. 1.]
Shortly after Mr. Hollars amended his Complaint, [Filing
No. 18], Texas Roadhouse filed a Partial Motion to
Dismiss pertaining to Mr. Hollars' state law claims.
[Filing No. 20.] Mr. Hollars filed both a response
and an Alternative Motion to Amend his Amended Complaint,
[Filing No. 24]. Both Motions are now ripe for the
Court's review. [Filing No. 20; Filing No.
Motion to Amend
initial matter, the Court will consider Mr. Hollars'
Motion to Amend. [Filing No. 24.] In his brief in
support of his Motion to Amend, Mr. Hollars states that the
currently-operative Complaint only included one of six
paragraphs from his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) Charge of Discrimination in
this matter. [Filing No. 25 at 2.] He states that
his proposed amendments would “add allegations relating
to the paragraphs presented in the EEOC Charge, ” that
he believes “will cure any remaining defects in [his]
amended pleading.” [Filing No. 25 at 7-8.] He
argues that Texas Roadhouse would not be prejudiced by the
amendment because the case “is in its initial
stages.” [Filing No. 25 at 8.] In addition,
Mr. Hollars points out that Texas Roadhouse is already aware
of the allegations he seeks to add because it has already
cited to the allegations contained in his EEOC Charge.
[Filing No. 25 at 8.]
response, Texas Roadhouse argues that Mr. Hollars'
proposed amendment is “futile” as it will not
cure any of the defects in the Complaint. [Filing No. 29
Hollars' reply does not address this issue, but merely
states that the Court should allow him to amend his
Complaint. [Filing No. 30 at 4.]
a motion for leave to amend a complaint is evaluated under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). Alioto v. Town
of Lisbon, 651 F.3d 715, 719 (7th Cir. 2011). Rule 15
provides that “a party may amend its pleading only with
the opposing party's written consent or the court's
leave, ” which should be freely given “when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The
Seventh Circuit has called this standard
“generous.” Arrigo v. Link, 836 F.3d
787, 797 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Adams v. City of
Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 734 (7th Cir. 2014)).
However, “a district court has broad discretion to deny
leave to amend where there is undue delay, bad faith,
dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure deficiencies, undue
prejudice to the defendants, or where the amendment would be
futile.” U.S. v. Sanford-Brown, Ltd., 788 F.3d
696, 706-07 (7th Cir. 2015) (quotation and citations
omitted). Only where a plaintiff seeks to amend a complaint
after the deadline set in the case management plan has passed
do courts apply a heightened pleading standard, under which
“the moving party must show good cause.”
Arrigo, 836 F.3d at 797 (quotation and citation
case, the deadline to move to amend the pleadings is
September 13, 2018. [Filing No. 27 at 3.] Therefore,
Mr. Hollars need not show good cause in order to amend his
complaint. Texas Roadhouse has only argued that amendment
would be futile. After reviewing Mr. Hollars' proposed
Second Amended Complaint, however, the Court finds that it
alleges significantly more details than the Amended
Complaint, including the date of Mr. Hollars' termination
and allegations that he reported sexual harassment to Texas
Roadhouse. [Filing No. 18; Filing No.
24-1.] Therefore, it is not apparent from the face of
the proposed Second Amended Complaint that amendment would be
futile. Accordingly, Mr. Hollars' Motion to Amend,
[Filing No. 24], is GRANTED, and
his proposed Second Amended Complaint is the operative
Complaint in the case.
Court now turns to Texas Roadhouse's Partial Motion to
Dismiss, which the Court will treat as applying to Mr.
Hollars' Second Amended Complaint. [Filing No.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a claim that does
not state a right to relief. The Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure require that a complaint provide the defendant with
“fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In reviewing the
sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all
well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible inferences
in favor of the plaintiff. See Active Disposal
Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th Cir.
2011). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss asks whether the
complaint “contain[s] sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The Court will not accept
legal conclusions or conclusory allegations as sufficient to
state a claim for relief. See McCauley v. City
of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual
allegations must plausibly state an entitlement to relief
“to a degree that rises above the speculative
level.” Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633
(7th Cir. 2012). This plausibility determination is “a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
following are the factual allegations in the Complaint, which
the Court must accept as true at this time:
Mr. Hollars and John Bryant were both employed by the Texas
Roadhouse in Anderson, Indiana. [Filing No. 24-1 at
2.] Mr. Hollars began his employment with Texas
Roadhouse in October 2015. [Filing No. 24-1 at 2.]
In November 2015, Mr. Bryant began sexually harassing Mr.
Hollars. [Filing No. 24-1 at 2.] Mr. Hollars
reported the harassment to Texas Roadhouse. [Filing No.
24-1 at 2.] Between November 2015 and February 10, 2016,
Mr. Bryant continued to sexually harass Mr. Hollars, and each
time this occurred Mr. Hollars reported the harassment to
Texas Roadhouse. [Filing No. 24-1 at 2.] Initially,
Texas Roadhouse scheduled ...