Joiner v. Davis et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: it is ORDERED that Plf's 25 Motion to Modify Scheduling Order and Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint is DENIED; further ORDERED that Plf's 33 Supplemental Motion to Modify Scheduling Order and Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint is DENIED. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 5/10/2016. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
TIM DAVIS, et al.,
CASE NO. 2:15-CV-682-WKW
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court are Plaintiff’s Motion to Modify Scheduling Order and
Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. # 25) and Plaintiff’s
Supplemental Motion to Modify Scheduling Order and Motion for Leave to File
Amended Complaint (Doc. # 33). Defendants filed a joint response to the motions
(Doc. # 35), and Plaintiff filed a reply (Doc. # 36). Plaintiff’s motions are due to be
Plaintiff initiated this action in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County on
August 17, 2015. (See Doc. # 1). She alleges that Defendants are liable for unlawful
retaliation, race and sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and outrageous conduct.
(See Doc. # 8.) Defendants removed the action to this court on September 18, 2015.
(Doc. # 1.) Defendant Tim Davis moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s original complaint
(Doc. # 5), but in light of Plaintiff’s amended complaint (Doc. # 8), that motion was
denied (Doc. # 12). A Uniform Scheduling Order was entered on November 19,
2015. (Doc. # 19.)
Plaintiff’s original counsel sought and was granted, for good cause, leave to
withdraw from the case. (Doc. # 21.) Plaintiff’s current counsel filed a notice of
appearance on January 29, 2016. (Doc. # 23.) Pursuant to the Uniform Scheduling
Order, any motions to amend the pleadings or add parties were due on or before
March 1, 2016. (Doc. # 19, at 2.) Plaintiff sought leave on March 26, 2016, to file
an amended complaint. (Doc. # 25.) Plaintiff filed a renewed motion (Doc. # 33)
seeking leave to amend the complaint and further seeking an extension of her
deadline for expert witness disclosures, which was originally set for April 1, 2016
(Doc. # 19).
A motion to amend the scheduling order is governed by Rule 16 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 16 provides that the scheduling order may only be
modified upon a showing of good cause. Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4). To show good
cause, the moving party must establish that she was unable to meet the deadline
despite her diligence. Sosa v. Airprint Sys., Inc., 133 F.3d 1417, 1418 (11th Cir.
The moving party fails to show good cause where the basis for the
modification rests on information that she knew or should have known before the
relevant deadline. Kendall v. Thaxton Road, LLC, 443 F. App’x 388, 394 (11th Cir.
2011). Where the moving party fails to seek out the information it needs to
determine whether a modification is necessary, it has not acted diligently to meet the
relevant deadline. Southern Grouts & Mortars, Inc. v. 3M Co., 575 F.3d 1235, 1241
n.3 (11th Cir. 2009).
With respect to a motion to amend the complaint, Rule 15 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure provides that when a party moves to amend a pleading, the court
should “freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Where
the moving party seeks leave to amend the complaint after a scheduling order’s
deadline for amending the pleadings, the moving party must first show good cause
for deviation from the scheduling order under Rule 16. Sosa, 133 F.3d at 1419.
These principles will be applied to the facts at bar.
Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint
Plaintiff fails to show good cause for allowing an untimely amendment to her
complaint. It is true that Plaintiff’s current counsel appeared at a later hour of this
litigation. Even accounting for this hiccup in the proceedings, Plaintiff and her
counsel had ample time—approximately one month—between the notice of
appearance and the deadline for amendments to pleadings. If there was some reason
that Plaintiff and her counsel were unable to confer and prepare an amended
complaint within this time period, Plaintiff has failed to provide it. Without any
information indicating that Plaintiff was unable to meet the March 1, 2016 deadline
for seeking amendments to the pleadings, it cannot be said that Plaintiff worked
diligently to comply with the scheduling order. See Sosa, 133 F.3d at 1418.
Plaintiff’s counsel represents that the modifications he seeks to make are
slight. This is all the more reason to expect that Plaintiff and her counsel could have
made these modifications within the time allowed under the Uniform Scheduling
Order. The amendments are not based on newly discovered information, but rather
are based on facts that were apparent to Plaintiff throughout the course of the
litigation. See Kendall, 443 F. App’x at 394. One month should be sufficient, absent
extenuating circumstances, to seek out and compile the information necessary for
amending the pleadings. See Southern Grouts, 575 F.3d at 1241. Plaintiff’s counsel
offers the bare assertion that he was “unable to complete his interviews with Plaintiff
prior to March 1, 2016,” (Doc. # 25, at 2), but he fails to explain why this was the
case. This is insufficient to show good cause why he was unable to prepare an
amended pleading in the time allotted.
Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff has failed to show good cause, as required
by Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for allowing an amendment to
the pleadings beyond the March 1, 2016 deadline provided in the Uniform
Scheduling Order. To the extent Plaintiff seeks leave to amend the complaint, her
motions will be denied.
Motion to Modify Scheduling Order
In addition to seeking leave to amend the complaint, Plaintiff requests an
extension of all discovery deadlines and dates in the Uniform Scheduling Order for
a period of 60 days. Her counsel represents that he needs additional time to receive
and review medical records pertaining to Plaintiff’s treatment for mental health
issues associated with her claims. The deadline for disclosing expert witnesses was
April 1, 2016, and Plaintiff filed a motion seeking an extension of that deadline on
March 30, 2016. Plaintiff has failed to show good cause for extending discovery
The information that Plaintiff’s counsel seeks time to review was available to
Plaintiff at the time she filed her initial complaint. See Kendall, 443 F. App’x at
394. Though Plaintiff’s current counsel did not make an appearance until January
29, 2016, he nonetheless had approximately two months to acquire medical records
relating to Plaintiff’s treatment and determine which expert witnesses he intended to
depose or call at trial. These facts militate against a finding that Plaintiff exercised
the sort of diligence necessary for a modification of the scheduling order. Plaintiff’s
counsel merely represents, without providing any further reason, that it is
“impossible” for him to disclose experts at this time. (Doc. # 33, at 2.) This is
insufficient to meet the Rule 16 standard.
For these reasons, Plaintiff has failed to show good cause for allowing an
extension of the discovery deadlines set forth in the Uniform Scheduling Order. To
the extent Plaintiff seeks such an extension, her motions will be denied.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Modify Scheduling
Order and Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. # 25) is DENIED.
It is further ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Supplemental Motion to Modify Scheduling
Order and Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. # 33) is DENIED.
DONE this 10th day of May, 2016.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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