Garcia v. Salvation Army

Filing 61

ORDER: Plaintiff's motion to amend (Doc. 46 ) is denied. Defendant's motion to transfer and consolidate (Doc. 44 ) is granted. Case No. CV15-0144-PHX-SPL will be transferred to the undersigned and consolidated with this case. The parties shall, on or before within 20 days of this order, submit a proposed revised case management order for the consolidated case. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 09/24/2015. (Associated Cases: 2:14-cv-02225-DGC, 2:15-cv-01444-SPL) (REK)

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    1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Ann Garcia, No. CV-14-02225-PHX-DGC Plaintiff, 10 11 v. 12 ORDER Salvation Army, Defendant. 13 14 15 Plaintiff has filed a motion for leave to amend her complaint and Defendant asks 16 the Court to transfer this case to Judge Logan and consolidate it with Garcia v. Salvation 17 Army, 2:15-cv-01444-SPL (D. Ariz. Jul. 28, 2015). Doc. 46, 44. The motions are fully 18 briefed, and no party has requested oral argument. The Court will deny the motion to 19 amend, transfer Judge Logan’s case to the undersigned, and consolidate the actions. 20 I. Background. Garcia was an employee of the Salvation Army for more than a decade. Doc. 58 21 22 at 8. In November 2013, she filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal 23 Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging that certain actions taken by 24 the Salvation Army related to her performance evaluation constituted discrimination 25 based on religion and age, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 26 of 1964. Doc. 44, at 12-13. In May 2014, the Salvation Army notified Garcia that her 27 position had been eliminated. Doc. 58 at 8. Thereafter, in July 2015, the EEOC issued a 28 Notice of Suit Rights with respect to Garcia’s Charge. Doc. 1. at 4-5.     1 In October 2014, Garcia filed suit for religious discrimination, retaliation, hostile 2 work environment, and retaliatory discharge. Doc. 1. On March 20, 2015, the Court 3 entered a Case Management Order which established a May 19, 2015 deadline for 4 amending pleadings. Doc. 29. The day before the deadlines, Garcia filed an amended 5 complaint.1 Doc. 31. On August 18, 2015, Garcia filed a motion for leave to amend her 6 complaint to add a claim for constructive discharge. See Doc. 46. 7 Meanwhile, Garcia was also seeking relief against the Salvation Army on a theory 8 of disability discrimination. In July 2014, shortly after her position was terminated, 9 Garcia filed an EEOC Charge of Discrimination against the Salvation Army alleging 10 disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). 11 Doc. 44 at 15-16. The EEOC issued a Notice of Suit Rights with respect to this charge 12 on April 29, 2015. Id. at 10. On July 28, 2015, Garcia filed a new lawsuit in this Court, 13 alleging failure to accommodate and retaliation in violation of the ADA. See Garcia v. 14 Salvation Army, 2:15-cv-01444-SPL (D. Ariz. Jul. 28, 2015). 15 II. Motion for Leave to Amend. 16 Plaintiff filed her motion for leave to amend on August 18, 2015, more than 90 17 days after the deadline for amendment of pleadings established by the Court’s Case 18 Management Order. Doc. 29, ¶ 2. “[W]hen a party seeks to amend a pleading after the 19 pretrial scheduling order’s deadline for amending the pleadings has expired, the moving 20 party must satisfy the ‘good cause’ standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4).” 21 In re W. States Wholesale Nat. Gas Antitrust Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 737 (9th Cir. 2013). 22 The primary consideration under this good cause standard is whether the moving party 23 acted with reasonable diligence. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreation, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 24 609 (9th Cir. 1992). 25 diligence, good cause has not been shown. See id. If the deadline could have been satisfied through reasonable 26 27 28 1 Plaintiff did not seek leave to file the amended complaint as required by Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but the Court will overlook this error in light of Defendant’s failure to object and Plaintiff’s pro se status. -2-     1 Plaintiff has not acted with reasonable diligence in raising her constructive 2 discharge claim and has not identified any other good cause for modifying the scheduling 3 order’s deadline. Plaintiff asserts that her amendment is justified by “newly discovered 4 evidence” (Doc. 58 at 2), namely, a May 27, 2014, letter from the Salvation Army to 5 Plaintiff explaining the organization’s decision to terminate her employment. But 6 Plaintiff does not rely on this letter to support the constructive discharge claim she seeks 7 to add to her complaint, and appears to have had access to the letter from the inception of 8 this case. Therefore, the Court will deny Plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend. 9 III. Motion to Consolidate. 10 Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the Court to 11 consolidate cases which, in the Court’s judgment, involve common questions of law or 12 fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a). The Court has “broad discretion” under Rule 42(a) “to 13 consolidate cases pending in the same district.” Inv’rs Research Co. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for 14 Cent. Dist. of Cal., 877 F.2d 777, 777 (9th Cir. 1989). In exercising this discretion, the 15 Court “balance[s] the interest of judicial convenience against the potential for delay, 16 confusion and prejudice that may result from such consolidation.” Sapiro v. Sunstone 17 Hotel Inv’rs, L.L.C., No. CV-03-1555-PHX-SRB, 2006 WL 898155, at *1 (D. Ariz. Apr. 18 4, 2006) (citations omitted). 19 Upon consideration of these factors and independent review of the two complaints, 20 the Court concludes that the cases should be consolidated. The cases raise common 21 questions of fact related to a single course of events – Plaintiff’s employment and 22 subsequent termination by Defendant. Moreover, the cases can be consolidated without 23 giving rise to delay, confusion, or prejudice.2 24 IV. Motion to Transfer. 25 Rule 42.1(d) of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure provides that judges should 26 consider four factors in determining whether to grant a motion to transfer. These factors 27 28 2 Plaintiff indicates that she is “willing to consolidate both cases if Judge Campbell is assigned to both cases.” Doc. 48 at 5. -3-     1 include: “(1) whether substantive matters have been considered in a case; (2) which 2 Judge has the most familiarity with the issues involved in the cases; (3) whether a case is 3 reasonably viewed as the lead or principal case; or (4) any other factor serving the 4 interest of judicial economy.” LRCiv. 42.1(d). The cases should be assigned to this 5 Court because the undersigned judge has developed familiarity with the issues involved 6 in the cases and because case 14-2225 is reasonably viewed as Plaintiff’s lead or 7 principal case. 8 IT IS ORDERED: 9 1. Plaintiff’s motion to amend (Doc. 46) is denied. 10 2. Defendant’s motion to transfer and consolidate (Doc. 44) is granted. Case 11 No. CV15-0144-PHX-SPL will be transferred to the undersigned and 12 consolidated with this case. 13 14 15 3. The parties shall, on or before within 20 days of this order, submit a proposed revised case management order for the consolidated case. Dated this 24th day of September, 2015. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

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