Reeser v. Henry Ford Hospital
ORDER granting 47 plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint. Signed by District Judge George Caram Steeh. (MBea)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 14-CV-11916
HON. GEORGE CARAM STEEH
HENRY FORD HOSPITAL,
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT (Doc. 47)
This case arises out of Plaintiff’s claim that she was improperly discharged after
reporting Defendant for a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In her
complaint, filed on May 13, 2014, Plaintiff named “Henry Ford Hospital” as Defendant.
The Defendant’s proper business title is “Henry Ford Health System.” Defendant was
served the complaint, accepted service, responded to discovery requests, and had
managerial agents deposed without subpoenas as party representatives. Discovery in
this case closed on April 6, 2015. On May 15, 2015, Defendant filed a motion for
summary judgment based in part on the fact that “Henry Ford Hospital” was not a legal
entity subject to suit, and was not Plaintiff’s employer. On June 8, 2015, Plaintiff filed a
motion seeking leave to amend her complaint to name “Henry Ford Health System,
d/b/a Henry Ford Hospital” as Defendant. Having shown that the Defendant would not
be prejudiced by the amendment sought, Plaintiff’s motion to amend shall be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The standard for granting leave to amend is set forth at Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(a), which provides that “leave shall be freely granted when justice so
requires.” The Supreme Court has explained that courts may deny leave to amend
where there is “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, [and/or] futility
of amendment.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
Defendant opposes Plaintiff’s motion to amend on three grounds: (1) there was
an inexcusable delay in seeking leave to amend, (2) the long delay prejudices the
Defendant because a summary judgment motion is pending, and (3) the proposed
amendment is futile. Defendant’s arguments lack merit, and justice requires that
Plaintiff be granted leave to amend her complaint.
1. Defendant Had Sufficient Notice, and Will Not Be Prejudiced By Amendment
The Supreme Court has clearly interpreted the purpose of the pleading
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as supporting decisions on the
merits of a claim, rather than on the basis of a mere technicality. See Foman, 371 U.S.
at 181-82. The Sixth Circuit has also held that "[n]otice and substantial prejudice to the
opposing party are critical factors in determining whether an amendment should be
granted." Wade v. Knoxville Utils. Bd., 259 F.3d 452, 458-459 (6th Cir. 2001). Further,
the Sixth Circuit has found that at least some significant showing of prejudice is required
to deny a motion to amend solely based on delay. Moore v. City of Paducah, 790 F.2d
557, 562 (6th Cir. 1986).
Here the proposed amendment causes no substantial prejudice to the
Defendant. The Defendant fully participated in all aspects of the litigation up to this
point including pleadings and discovery. This participation also establishes that
Defendant had sufficient notice of the claim. Further, the Plaintiff does not seek to
change any of the claims in the original pleadings, but merely to amend the name on
the complaint to the Defendant’s proper name, rather than its assumed name.
Defendant has failed to show that allowing Plaintiff to correct its name has or will
prejudice it in any way.
2. Proposed Amendment Is Not Futile
The Defendant claims that Plaintiff should not be allowed to amend her complaint
because the amendment would be futile. The standard for determining futility is
whether the amendment could withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Rose v.
Hartford Ins. Co., 203 F.3d 417, 420 (6th Cir. 2000). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, plaintiff’s complaint must allege sufficient facts to make their alleged legal
conclusions plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “A claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Bell Atlantic. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007).
In her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she was specifically threatened by her
direct supervisor that she would be terminated for reporting Defendant’s alleged FLSA
violation. (Doc. 1, Para. 21). She alleges she was then terminated after reporting the
violation. Id. at Para. 25. Plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts so that a reasonable
inference could be drawn by the court as to the plausibility that she was terminated as a
result of reporting her employer’s conduct to the State. Therefore, her complaint would
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Having found that the Defendant would not be prejudiced by the amendment
sought, and that the amendment would not be futile, Plaintiff’s motion to amend the
complaint (Doc. 47) for the limited purpose of correcting Defendant’s name is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: July 23, 2015
s/George Caram Steeh
GEORGE CARAM STEEH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
Copies of this Order were served upon attorneys of record on
July 23, 2015, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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