Carmack v. Park Cities Healthcare LLC et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting 29 MOTION for Leave to File Plaintiff's 2nd Amended Complaint filed by Charlotte Carmack, Teresa Miller, Jovan Aniagu. (Ordered by Judge Sidney A Fitzwater on 12/5/2017) (Judge Sidney A Fitzwater)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
CHARLOTTE CARMACK, et al.,
PARK CITIES HEALTHCARE, LLC,
Civil Action No. 3:16-CV-3500-D
Plaintiff Charlotte Carmack (“Carmack”) moves under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) for leave
to file a second amended complaint. The court grants the motion.1
Carmack brings this collective action against defendants Park Cities Healthcare, LLC
(“PCHC”) and Sharon D. Quick (“Quick”), alleging violations of the Flair Labor Standards
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (“FLSA”). In her first amended complaint, filed on February
14, 2017, Carmack alleges that defendants did not pay her and others similarly situated the
required one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours
in a week. Javon Aniagu (“Aniagu”) and Teresa Miller (“Miller”) have joined the lawsuit
Under § 205(a)(5) of the E-Government Act of 2002 and the definition of “written
opinion” adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, this is a “written opinion
issued by the court” because it “sets forth a reasoned explanation for [the] court’s decision.”
It has been written, however, primarily for the parties, to decide issues presented in this case,
and not for publication in an official reporter, and should be understood accordingly.
as opt-in plaintiffs.
In their answer to the first amended complaint, defendants asserted a counterclaim
against Carmack and Aniagu, contending that both plaintiffs violated their signed
agreements of employment with PCHC. The court later dismissed this counterclaim
“because it is not a compulsory counterclaim and because the court should decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the counterclaim.” June 12, 2017 Order at 1.
Following this dismissal, PCHC sued Carmack and Aniagu on the same claim in Texas state
Carmack now moves for leave to file a second amended complaint to remove her
collective action allegations, to convert Aniagu and Miller into named plaintiffs, and to
update Quick’s surname to Westen in the case caption.2 Carmack also seeks to add an FLSA
retaliation claim against defendants based on PCHC’s state court lawsuit, which she alleges
is retaliatory for the present suit. Carmack filed this motion on October 26, 2017, before the
scheduling order deadline of October 31, 2017 for filing a motion to amend the pleadings.
PCHC and Quick oppose the motion only with respect to the FLSA retaliation claim, which
they maintain would be prejudicial if allowed.
During her deposition, Quick informed plaintiffs that her legal name is now Sharon
“It is settled that the grant of leave to amend the pleadings pursuant to Rule 15(a) is
within the discretion of the trial court.” Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401
U.S. 321, 330 (1971). “The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Rule
15(a)(2). Granting leave to amend, however, “is by no means automatic.’” Wimm v. Jack
Eckerd Corp., 3 F.3d 137, 139 (5th Cir. 1993) (quoting Addington v. Farmer’s Elevator Mut.
Ins. Co., 650 F.2d 663, 666 (5th Cir. Unit A July 1981). The district court may consider
factors such as 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, and futility of amendment. Id. (collecting cases).
PCHC and Quick contend that allowing Carmack to add an FLSA retaliation claim
would prejudice them because the claim is “based not on the facts currently before the Court
in the live pleadings.” Ds. Br. 4. Without more, however, this bare objection is insufficient
to deny plaintiffs’ motion. Defendants cite, and the court has found, no authority suggesting
that Rule 15(a) limits freely granted amendments to those pertaining to previously pleaded
facts. Courts routinely view Rule 15(a)(2) as imposing a “liberal standard” allowing
amendment, despite the fact that “it is not unusual for amended pleadings to impact strategies
already adopted and discovery already taken by the opposing party.” Mktg. Investors Corp.
v. New Millennium Bank, 2012 WL 1563937, at *2 (N.D. Tex. May 3, 2012) (Fitzwater,
C.J.); see also Lowrey v. Tex. A & M Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242, 245 (5th Cir. 1997) (“Rule
15(a) expresses a strong presumption in favor of liberal pleading.”); Nance v. Gulf Oil Corp.,
817 F.2d 1176, 1180 (5th Cir. 1987) (“Federal Rule 15(a) counsels a liberal amendment
policy.”); Youmans v. Simon, 791 F.2d 341, 348 (5th Cir. 1986) (“The policy underlying Rule
15(a) is one in favor of liberal amendment.”). Moreover, neither PCHC nor Quick has
demonstrated that it or she is unable to obtain adequate discovery on this retaliation claim
before the discovery period ends on January 31, 2018, or under an enlarged discovery period.
Therefore, defendants have made an insufficient showing of prejudice.
None of the other factors favors denying Carmack’s motion for leave to file a second
amended complaint. When, as here, parties file a motion for leave to amend by the court
ordered deadline, there is a “presumption of timeliness.” Poly-Am., Inc. v. Serrot Int’l, Inc.,
2002 WL 206454, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 7, 2002) (Fitzwater, J.). Separately, defendants have
made no showing of futility, and there has been no failure on the part of plaintiffs to cure past
For the reasons explained, the court grants Carmack’s motion for leave to file her
second amended complaint, and the clerk of court is directed to file the second amended
December 5, 2017.
SIDNEY A. FITZWATER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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