Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bean v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maine

February 9, 2017

CHRISTINE BEAN, Plaintiff,
v.
WAL-MART STORES, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

          George Z. Singal United States District Judge

         Before 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.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 15 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)).

         Regarding 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).

         Pursuant 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.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On 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.)[1]

         On 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 # 12.)[2]

         On 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.)

         III.DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint

         The 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.[3] For these reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion and considers Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in light of the Amended Complaint.

         B. Defendant's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.