Minix et al v. Indiana University Health Laporte Hospital et al
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING Request for File a Second Amended Complaint contained in 46 Response to Motion; DENYING as moot 31 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint filed by Indiana University Health LaPorte Physicians Inc, Dr Curtis Bejes. The Clerk is DIRECTED to file the Second Amended Complaint attached as Exhibit 3 to DE 46 in the record. Signed by Judge William C Lee on 9/26/2014. (lns)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
JENNY MINIX and
INDIANA UNIVERSITY HEALTH LA
PORTE PHYSICIANS, INC., INDIANA
UNIVERSITY HEALTH, - BOARD OF
DIRECTORS, and DR. CURTIS
CASE No. 3:13-CV-503
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs, Jenny Minix and her husband, Anthony Minix (“Plaintiffs”) filed an Amended
Complaint against Jenny Minix’s
former employer alleging sexual harassment and sex
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and various state law claims,
including a claim for loss of consortium. [DE 28].
Presently before the Court is a Motion to
Dismiss [DE 31] pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), filed by Defendants, Dr. Curtis Bejes (hereafter,
“Dr. Bejes”), and Indiana University Health LaPorte Physicians Inc. (hereafter, “IULP”)
(collectively referred to as “Defendants”).1 The motion has been fully briefed. For the following
reasons, the Court will GRANT Plaintiff leave to file her Second Amended Complaint. The Motion
to Dismiss will be DENIED as MOOT.
There is no record of service upon IU Health Board of Directors.
For a case in its infancy, this case already has quite a storied procedural history. On May
28, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed their original complaint and request for a jury trial. In response to that
Complaint, the Defendants filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs’ Complaint. [DE 14].
After some machinations and numerous missed deadlines by the Plaintiffs’ counsel, on September
19, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed their Motion to File an Amended Complaint and attached to it a copy
of the Amended Complaint.
On January 16, 2014, Magistrate Judge John E. Martin entered an Order in response to the
Plaintiffs’ request to file an Amended Complaint. [DE 26]. In that Order, the Magistrate Judge
granted the request to amend and directed the Plaintiffs to file their Amended Complaint that was
attached to the Motion no later than January 23, 2014. Plaintiffs’ counsel did not comply with this
deadline, which led to another Motion to Dismiss filed by the Defendants for failure to comply with
the Court’s Order. [DE 27].
Upon receiving that
Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs’ counsel
immediately filed their Amended Complaint [DE 28] and responded to the motion to dismiss [DE
29]. To say that Plaintiffs’ counsel’s response failed to demonstrate excusable neglect for all of his
missed deadlines is an understatement. His response laid out a laundry list of reasons for his failure
to comply with the deadline – he is not a “seasoned” attorney, he is a sole practitioner, he is
financially struggling due to a large amount of account receivables, he has taken on more cases than
he can handle, and he has only recently been able to hire a certified paralegal. That said, because
of a difference in local procedure between the Fort Wayne and South Bend divisions, the Court
excused the late filing of the Amended Complaint and denied the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). [DE 33]. In that Order however, the undersigned wrote:
Plaintiffs’ counsel is SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED to observe all response
deadlines in the Fed.R.Civ.P and this Court’s local rules related to any filings made
by the Defendants. Further delinquencies by Plaintiffs’ counsel may result in the
Court entertaining Motions for Sanctions from the Defendants.
DE 33 at p. 3. The day following entry of this Order, Defendants filed the present Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim [DE 31]. Plaintiffs’ counsel responded in a rather haphazard
way to the Motion, indicating, among other things, that counsel was unaware of the corporate
structure of the entities he sued and thus, acknowledging he sued the wrong parties.
Thereafter and, not surprisingly given his record in this case, the Court became aware that
Plaintiffs’ counsel had been disciplined by the Indiana Disciplinary Commission and was
suspended from the practice of law. New counsel appeared on Plaintiffs’ behalf [DE 40] and the
Court, sua sponte, held a telephonic conference wherein it discussed permitting new counsel the
opportunity to file a supplemental response to the Motion to Dismiss. [DE 45]. Subsequenly, new
counsel filed a Response to the Motion to Dismiss wherein he requested leave to file a Second
Amended Complaint and attached the proposed amendment to his response. [DE 46]. Defendants
replied, objecting to the request to amend and requesting the Court rule on the pending Motion to
Dismiss. It is with this procedural background in mind that the Court turns to the present filings.
In their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs failed to exhaust
their administrative remedies because Jenny Minix failed to file a charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) against the named Defendants. Defendants
argue that there is no individual liability under Title VII, Dr. Bejes does not constitute an employer
under Title VII, and that the Court should not retain supplemental jurisdiction over the Indiana
common law claims. [DE 41].
In response, Plaintiffs request another opportunity to amend the complaint to name only
the proper defendants, IULP and Dr. Bejes, and to assert federal and state claims only on behalf
of Jenny Minix.2 Plaintiffs’ counsel notes that prior counsel did file a Charge of Discrimination
but, again, he was incompetent in doing so since the Charge reflects the name of the respondent
to be IU Health LaPorte Hospital not IULP; but, even so, counsel notes that the mailing address
for both entities are the same and Defendants’ current counsel appeared before the EEOC on the
Defendants’ behalf so they should have been aware of the Plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiffs further
assert that neither IULP or Dr. Bejes are prejudiced by the amendment since Dr. Bejes admits that
IULP is his employer and the EEOC charge clearly identifies Dr. Bejes as the perpetrator of the
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), “a party may amend its pleading only with
the opposing party’s written consent or the court’s leave. The court should freely give leave when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Reasons for finding that leave should not be granted
include “undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to
cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment....” Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc.
V. AT & T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 666 (7th Cir.2007) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
In the present case, the Court will grant the Plaintiffs this final opportunity to amend their
The proposed Second Amended Complaint also removes Anthony Minix as a plaintiff.
complaint. While the Court is cognizant of defense counsel’s frustration with the numerous
delays, prior attempts to amend, and the incompetence of prior counsel, Plaintiffs have since
obtained new counsel who is competently representing their interests. Moreover, the failings of
prior counsel were not the result of any bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the Plaintiffs.
In fact, Plaintiffs did promptly take action to obtain new counsel once it was clear that their prior
counsel was no longer permitted to continue in the case.
Finally, as Plaintiffs argue, there is no prejudice to the Defendants in permitting the
amendment since counsel appeared on their behalf before the EEOC, the Charge clearly
designated Dr. Bejes as the offender and the Charge was mailed to the address of record for the
defendant IULP. In contrast, the prejudice to the Plaintiffs is great without the ability to amend
since the Plaintiffs would have no opportunity to have the case heard on the merits. Accordingly,
the court finds that justice so requires granting the Plaintiff leave to file the Second Amended
Complaint. Indeed, “courts must balance the need for efficient administration of justice with the
preference for deciding cases on their merits and giving a party its day in court.” Flying J, Inc. v.
Jeter,720 N.E.2d 1247, 1249 (Ind. Ct. App.1999). Plaintiffs’ Request to File a Second Amended
Complaint contained in DE 46 is GRANTED. The Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [DE 31] is
DENIED as MOOT. The Clerk is DIRECTED to file the Second Amended Complaint attached
as Exhibit 3 to DE 46 in the record.
Plaintiffs’ Request to File a Second Amended Complaint contained in DE 46 is hereby
GRANTED. The Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [DE 31] is hereby DENIED as moot. The
Clerk is DIRECTED to file the Second Amended Complaint attached as Exhibit 3 to DE 46 in
Entered: This 26th day of September, 2014.
S/ William C. Lee
United States District Court
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?