United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi
BOBBY WEST, COYA JACKSON, DIANECHIA PATTERSON, MICHAEL PERKINS, FILANDO MARION, JANET F. POWER, AND DANIEL GREEN PLAINTIFFS
CITY OF HOLLY SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI, KELVIN O. BUCK, Mayor of the City of Holly Springs, and JOHN DOES 1-5 DEFENDANTS
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND AND SUPPLEMENT
PERCY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE.
September 28, 2017, Plaintiffs Bobby West, Cora Jackson,
Dianechia Patterson, Michael Perkins, Falando Marion, Janet
F. Power, and Daniel Green (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) filed a Motion to Amend and
Supplement Pleadings. Docket 36. Plaintiffs West and Jackson
allege that “since the filing of the Complaint in this
action, Defendants have committed numerous adverse actions
against them, including but not limited to, filing of false
felony criminal charges against Jackson, and West's
demotion and termination from the Holly Springs Police
Department.” Id. Plaintiffs' original
Complaint was filed on April 21, 2016, and the Amended
Complaint was filed on May 5, 2016. Docket 1, 3. The
parties' deadline for amendments to the pleadings was
October 12, 2016. Docket 10.
Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs
the amendment of pleadings. However, after the scheduling
order's deadline to amend has expired, Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 16(b) regarding scheduling is implicated and
requires a showing of “good cause” before
modifying the Court's scheduling deadlines. The good
cause standard requires the “party seeking relief to
show that the deadlines cannot reasonably be met despite the
diligence of the party needing the extension.”
S&W Enterprises, L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of
Alabama, NA, 315 F.3d 533, 535 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting
6A Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 1522.1 (2d ed. 1990)).
Fifth Circuit has adopted a four-factor test to determination
whether “good cause” exists under Rule 16(b)(4):
“(1) the explanation for the failure to timely move for
leave to amend; (2) the importance of the amendment; (3)
potential prejudice in allowing the amendment; and (4) the
availability of a continuance to cure such prejudice.”
Squyres v. Heico Companies, L.L.C., 782 F.3d 224,
237 (5th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted). Once good cause for
not meeting the deadline is shown, “the more liberal
standard of Rule 15(a) will apply.” Sw. Bell Tel.
Co. v. City of El Paso, 346 F.3d 541, 546 (5th Cir.
15(a) states that the court should “freely give leave
when justice so requires, ” and the Fifth Circuit has
held that “[a]mendments should be liberally
allowed.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a); Halbert v. City of
Sherman, 33 F.3d 526, 529 (5th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). The court may consider such factors 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 by virtue of allowance of the amendment, (and)
futility of amendment” in determining whether to grant
a motion to amend. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
West and Jackson seek to amend their Complaint to include
“transactions, occurrences and claims relating to
alleged retaliatory actions in violation of 29 U.S.C. §
215.” Docket 37 at 1. Plaintiffs state that on August
16, 2017, Jackson was served with a warrant for his arrest
charging him with disturbance in a public place in violation
of Mississippi Code Annotated § 87-35-13 for events
occurring on July 21, 2017, when Jackson attempted to
retrieve his final paycheck from the City of Holly Springs.
Id. at 2-3. Jackson alleges that Officer Darryl
Bowen, Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Holly
Springs, signed the criminal affidavit at the “order
and direction of Mayor [Buck]” leading to the Justice
Court of Marshall County, Mississippi issuing the arrest
warrant. Id. at 3. Jackson further alleges that the
same criminal affidavit was filed in the Municipal Court of
Holly Springs, Mississippi for which Jackson was served with
a summons and taken into custody “despite no warrant
being issued by the Court.” Id. The Circuit
Court of Marshall County, Mississippi ultimately dismissed
the charges against Jackson. Jackson alleges that Defendants
City of Holly Springs, Mississippi and Kelvin O. Buck
“acted in concert to cause a false affidavit to be
issued to bring criminal charges against Jackson” in
the Justice and Municipal Courts. Jackson seeks to add claims
for retaliation, false imprisonment, and malicious
prosecution and seeks damages against Defendant under to 29
U.S.C. § 215.
alleges that in January 2017, he was demoted from detective
to patrolman without explanation. Docket 37 at 4. West states
that he lost the use of a take home vehicle issued by the
police department which was provided as part of his
compensation in his previous role as detective. Id.
West claims that Defendants warned that he should resign from
the department, creating a hostile work environment.
Id. at 5. Ultimately, West states that he was fired
without explanation or valid basis on July 19, 2017, and that
such action was motivated by his assertion of his wage and
hour rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the action.
Id. at 4-5. West seeks to add a retaliation claim
and seeks damages against Defendants under 29 U.S.C. §
Jackson and West assert that under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 16(b), good cause exists to extend the scheduling
deadlines because the events and transactions giving rise to
their proposed claims “did not occur until after the
expiration of the scheduling order deadline for amending the
complaint and were timely brought.” Docket 37 at 8.
Plaintiffs state that the proposed claims are related to and
a result of filing of their original Complaint and therefore
should be adjudicated in the same action. Id.
Plaintiffs argue that the proposed retaliation claims are
proper under FLSA's anti-retaliation provision proving
that it is unlawful for any person “to discharge or in
any other manner discriminate against any employee because
such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused
to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this
chapter….” 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3).
Id. at 6. Plaintiffs state that they have pled a
causal connection between the protective activity and the
adverse action to establish a violation under 28 U.S.C.
§ 215(a)(3). Id. at 6-7.
to Plaintiffs, any potential prejudice can be cured by a
“relatively brief continuance of the scheduled trial in
this case and an extension of the discovery period to permit
investigation of such facts and claims.” Id.
Contemporaneous with the filing of the instant motion,
Plaintiffs moved for a trial continuance and for modification
of the scheduling order. Docket 34.
response, Defendants argue that “said allegations are
not related to the FLSA and such claims must be filed
independently of the herein matter.” Docket 43 at 1.
Defendants deny Plaintiffs' assertion that the proposed
claims are causally related to the original Complaint and
without explanation state that “any such amendment is
prejudicial to the Defendants in this matter.”
Id. at 2. Separately Defendants filed a Motion to
Dismiss and/or Alternatively Deny Plaintiffs' Motion to
Amend and Supplement Pleadings. Docket 42. Defendants claim
that Plaintiffs' motion is untimely, that the retaliation
and false imprisonment claims are unrelated to the FLSA, and
that Defendants will be prejudiced as they have already
“expended time and funds to defend the matter under the
FLSA.” Docket 42 at 2.
Court has considered Defendants brief and conclusory
objections and finds that Plaintiffs have established the
requisite good cause to modify the deadlines under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4). Plaintiffs could not have
sought leave to add the proposed additional claims prior to
the expiration of the deadline for amendments on October 12,
2016, because the events giving rise to these claims had not
yet occurred. The Court finds that the proposed retaliation
claims are related to the FLSA and are authorized under 28
U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). As to the proposed false
imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims, the Court
finds that Plaintiffs have alleged a sufficient basis for
jurisdiction in that these state law claims arise from the
alleged retaliatory conduct thus forming part of the same
controversy. Therefore, the Court finds that the proposed
amended claims are not futile. The Court notes that
Defendants did not file any dispositive motions prior to the
expiration of the motions deadline, and any potential
prejudice caused by granting the motion to amend can be cured
by trial continuance and extension of the discovery and
Court further finds that justice requires the proposed
amendment be permitted and as such, leave to amend should be
granted under Rule 15(a)(2). Therefore, Plaintiffs'
Motion to Amend and Supplement Pleadings is
GRANTED, and Plaintiffs must electronically
file their Second Amended Complaint in the same form as
Exhibit A to the motion within seven (7) days from the date
of this Order. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and/or
Alternatively Deny Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend and
Supplement Pleadings is DENIED.