Craighead v. Full Citizenship of Maryland, Inc.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting 18 MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint. Signed by Judge Paula Xinis on 8/4/2017. (aos, Deputy Clerk)
Case 8:17-cv-00595-PX Document 33 Filed 08/04/17 Page 1 of 4
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
FULL CITIZENSHIP OF MARYLAND,
Civil Action No. PX 17-595
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending is Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 18). The issues
are fully briefed and the Court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is
necessary. Plaintiff’s Motion is granted.
On March 3, 2017, Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of similarly situated putative
class members, filed a class action against Defendant Full Citizenship of Maryland, alleging
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., the Maryland
Wage and Hour Law (“MWHL”), Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-401 et seq.; and the
Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”), Md. Code Ann., Lab & Empl. § 3501 et seq., as well as injunctive relief pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 217. Defendant has answered the
complaint and discovery pertinent to class certification is underway.
On June 29, 2017, Plaintiff moved to amend the complaint pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks to add named Plaintiffs “to
ensure that the class is adequately represented by a number of typical class members.” ECF No.
18 at 1. Plaintiff also seeks to clarify the basis for federal jurisdiction under the FLSA and the
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Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), codified in relevant part at 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). Plaintiff
also proposes to add class allegations covering those individuals who were not paid the legal
minimum wage in any one work week. Finally, Plaintiff would add Pansy Stancil-Diaz as a
named Defendant because she has allegedly exerted personal control over and responsibility for
the unlawful pay practices. Plaintiff avers that she only recently learned of the factual bases
supporting the proposed amendments. ECF No. 18 at 3. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff’s
motion is granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 15(a) permits amendment of pleadings automatically within twenty-one days after
service of a responsive pleading. After such time, amendment is permitted only by consent of
the opposing party or by leave of court. Id. Pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2), “[t]he court should freely
give leave [to amend] when justice so requires.” The Court only should deny the motion if
amendment “would prejudice the opposing party, reward bad faith on the part of the moving
party, or would amount to futility,” MTB Servs., Inc. v. Tuckman–Barbee Constr. Co., No. RDB–
12–2109, 2013 WL 1819944, at *3 (D. Md. Apr. 30, 2013) (citing Steinburg v. Chesterfield Cty.
Planning Comm’n, 527 F.3d 377, 390 (4th Cir. 2008)).
Defendant lodges two primary objections to the proposed amendment. First, Defendant
asserts that the addition of minimum wage claims must be brought in a separate suit, primarily
because keeping the claims together would “confuse the issues” and prejudice defendant by
expanding class discovery. ECF No. 26 at 4. Second, Defendant claims that adding Stancil-Diaz
as a named defendant is inappropriate because counsel for Plaintiff’s involvement in a prior class
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action lawsuit against Defendant provided counsel with sufficient information regarding her role
as Executive Director of Full Citizenship. Neither argument is persuasive.
With regard to adding the minimum wage claims, they are certainly related to the
underlying class complaint in that they involve the same institutional defendant, the same time
frame, and the same basic state law framework as the other state claims. Further, Plaintiff avers
(and Defendant does not dispute) that Plaintiff first learned the factual bases for this claim during
the course of initial class discovery which has taken place in the last few months. What is more,
any possible prejudice may be cured by a reasonable enlargement of time in the scheduling order
to accommodate discovery on the new claims.
This process seems far more efficient than denying amendment. Denial would force
Plaintiff to bring a separate suit as well as additional motions regarding consolidation of the two
class cases. Given that the claims are sufficiently related enough to permit amendment, to do
otherwise would appear wasteful and unnecessary.
Similarly, with regard to joining Stancil-Diaz, Defendant’s only objection centers on the
fact that Plaintiff’s counsel learned certain information about Stancil-Diaz during prior litigation.
Defendant does not dispute, however, that the request for amendment is based on additional
information from witnesses who just came forward. ECF No. 18 at 3. That Plaintiff may have
learned other information prior to this suit about Stancil-Diaz does not undercut why amendment
is warranted in this case based on new information learned relatively early in the discovery
process. In short, Defendant has not marshalled sufficient evidence of prejudice to warrant denial
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For the reasons stated in the foregoing, and on this 4th day of August, 2017, Plaintiff’s
Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint (ECF No. 18) is hereby GRANTED. The clerk is
directed to detach and file Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint (ECF No. 18-1), and transmit copies
of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to the parties.
United States District Judge
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