United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED
Z. Singal United States District Judge
the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7)
and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 11). As briefly explained herein, the
Court GRANTS WITHOUT OBJECTION Plaintiff's Motion, GRANTS
IN PART Defendant's Motion as to Plaintiff's Maine
Human Rights Act claims, and DENIES IN PART Defendant's
Motion as to Plaintiff's Title VII claims.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that courts
“should freely give leave” to amend a pleading
“when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). As a result, courts generally grant leave to amend
in the absence of reasons not to grant leave “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 by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc.” Klunder v. Brown Univ., 778 F.3d 24, 34
(1st Cir. 2015) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S.
178, 182 (1962)).
the issue of whether a complaint sufficiently states a claim
for relief, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only
that the complaint contain “a short and plain statement
of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . . a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief; and a demand for the relief
sought[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1)-(3). A viable complaint
need not proffer “heightened fact pleading of
specifics, ” but in order to survive a motion to
dismiss it must contain “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6), a defendant
may present a statute of limitations defense when the passage
of time prevents a plaintiff from stating “a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” However, the facts
supporting the defense must be apparent on the face of the
pleadings. Santana-Castro v. Toledo-Dávila,
579 F.3d 109, 113-14 (1st Cir. 2009). Generally, the Court
“may consider only facts and documents that are part of
or incorporated into the complaint” when resolving any
motion brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). United Auto.,
Aerospace, Agric. Implement Workers of Am. Int'l Union v.
Fortuño, 633 F.3d 37, 39 (1st Cir. 2011)
(quotation marks omitted). With this standard in mind, the
Court lays out the well-pled factual allegations as they
relate to the motions under consideration.
December 5, 2013, Defendant Wal-Mart terminated the
employment of Plaintiff Christine Bean. (Compl. (ECF. No.
1-2) ¶ 14.) Plaintiff submitted a charge of disability
discrimination against Defendant with the Maine Human Rights
Commission, which was processed on May 23, 2014.
(Id. ¶ 7 n.1.) In a letter to Plaintiff dated
July 1, 2016, the Commission stated its conclusion that there
were no reasonable grounds to believe unlawful discrimination
had occurred. (Id. ¶ 8; Ex. B to Def.'s
Mot. (ECF No. 7-2), Page ID # 50.)
September 30, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in Maine
Superior Court alleging “discrimination based upon sex
and retaliation, in violation of the Maine Human Rights Act,
5 M.R.S.A. § 4551 et seq., and the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, as amended (‘Title VII'), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq.” (Compl. ¶ 1.)
Plaintiff also alleged, inter alia, that she is “a
person within a protected class (female) within the meaning
of Title VII and the Maine Human Rights Act.”
(Id. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff re-alleged and
incorporated these allegations in her two charges of sex
discrimination (Count I) and retaliation (Count II).
(Id. ¶¶ 16, 19.) The Prayer for Relief
explicitly requests relief pursuant to the Maine Human Rights
Act, but also requests “such additional relief as [the
court] deems appropriate.” (Id., Page ID #
December 27, 2016, Defendant moved to dismiss the suit.
Specifically, Defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint
“in its entirety on the basis that Plaintiff's
claims [pursuant to the Maine Human Rights Act] are barred by
the applicable statute of limitations.” (Def.'s
Mot. (ECF No. 7) at 1.) However, in its Reply, Defendant
clarified that it is also asking this Court to dismiss
Plaintiff's claims under Title VII, arguing, in fact,
that Plaintiff had not properly pled any Title VII claims at
all. (See Def.'s Reply (ECF No. 9) at 3.) On
January 27, 2017, while Defendant's Motion was under
advisement with this Court, Plaintiff moved for leave to file
an amended complaint. The proposed Amended Complaint, unlike
the initial Complaint, states separate claims for relief
pursuant to the Maine Human Rights Act and Title VII and
pleads fact demonstrating administrative exhaustion for
purposes of the Title VII claims. (See Amended
Compl. (ECF No. 11-1) ¶¶ 7-9, 20-22, 23-25.)
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended
Court sees no reason to deny Plaintiff's motion to amend
given that leave to amend should be “freely
given” in the absence of countervailing considerations
such as undue delay, bad faith by the moving party, or undue
prejudice to the non-moving party. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2); Klunder, 778 F.3d at 34. Notably,
Defendant did not file a response to Plaintiff's motion
and thus the request to amend is unopposed. The Court is
mindful that the possibility of undue prejudice to Defendant
is a concern. See Klunder, 778 F.3d at 34 (“In
reviewing a district court's decision on whether or not
to grant an amendment, we routinely focus our analysis on the
prejudice to the non-moving party.”) However, in this
case, the Court can discern no undue prejudice because (1)
the case was removed from state court a little over a month
ago and is at an early stage in the litigation, and (2)
Defendant was on notice of Plaintiff's Title VII
claims. For these reasons, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's Motion and considers Defendant's Motion
to Dismiss in light of the Amended Complaint.