United States District Court, D. Maine
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND AND
MOTIONS FOR SANCTIONS
H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge
days after the close of discovery in this case, the plaintiff
filed a motion for leave to amend her complaint by adding a
new count alleging unlawful retaliation in her employment
with the defendant. Plaintiff's Motion to File a Second
Amended Complaint (“Motion”) (ECF No. 22). Oral
argument was held before me on September 19, 2016, and the
parties submitted additional evidence before the oral
argument and thereafter, all without objection. Both parties
have requested sanctions in the body of their briefs. Because
the plaintiff has not shown good cause for her most recent
request to amend her complaint, I deny the Motion; I also
deny the parties' cross-motions for sanctions.
Applicable Legal Standards
Rule of Civil Procedure 16 governs pre-trial scheduling. The
First Circuit has explained:
A motion to amend a complaint will be treated differently
depending on its timing and the context in which it is filed.
. . . As a case progresses, and the issues are joined, the
burden on a plaintiff seeking to amend a complaint becomes
more exacting. Scheduling orders, for example, typically
establish a cut-off date for amendments (as was apparently
the case here). Once a scheduling order is in place, the
liberal default rule is replaced by the more demanding
“good cause” standard of Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b). This
standard focuses on the diligence (or lack thereof) of the
moving party more than it does on any prejudice to the
party-opponent. Where the motion to amend is filed after the
opposing party has timely moved for summary judgment, a
plaintiff is required to show “substantial and
convincing evidence” to justify a belated attempt to
amend a complaint.
Steir v. Girl Scouts of the USA, 383 F.3d 7, 11-12
(1st Cir. 2004) (citations, internal quotation marks, and
First Circuit has explained that “[f]or Rule 16(b) to
operate effectively, litigants cannot be permitted to treat a
scheduling order as a frivolous piece of paper idly entered,
which can be cavalierly disregarded without peril.”
O'Connell v. Hyatt Hotels of P.R., 357 F.3d 152,
155 (1st Cir. 2004) (citation and internal quotation marks
case, the “good cause” standard applies, and it
must be met with “substantial and convincing”
evidence. While no motion for summary judgment has yet been
filed, under this court's local rule the defendant has
given notice of its intent to file one, and the plaintiff has
done the same.
August 30, 2016, I granted the plaintiff's motion (ECF
No. 18), filed on August 16, 2016, five days after the close
of discovery, to extend the discovery deadline to September
26, 2016, but only for the completion of discovery initiated
before August 11, 2016, the original discovery deadline.
Report of Hearing and Order (ECF No. 29) at 2. The deadline
for filing amended pleadings in this case was May 26, 2016.
Scheduling Order (ECF No. 6) at 2.
August 15, 2016, the defendant filed its notice of intent to
file a motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 17), as required
by this court's Local Rule 56. The plaintiff filed a
similar notice on August 18, 2016. ECF No. 20.
existing First Amended Complaint alleges discrimination in
employment on the basis of disability in violation of state
law, in two counts. Plaintiff's [First] Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 9) at ¶¶ 29-39.
plaintiff now seeks to add a count alleging retaliation for
engaging in activity protected by the Maine Human Rights Act.
Plaintiff's [Proposed] Second Amended Complaint (ECF No.
22-1) ¶¶ 49-53. Specifically, the plaintiff seeks
to add 10 paragraphs of factual allegations and five
allegations in an additional count. The factual allegations
approximate the facts discussed by the plaintiff as the basis
for her motion.