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Drummond v. Amazon.Com.Dedc, LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 28, 2019

TIA DRUMMOND, Plaintiff,
v.
AMAZON.COM.DEDC, LLC, Defendant.

          Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County Civ. A. No. N17C-11-00071-VLM

          Tia Drummond, Newark, Delaware; Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Jody Barillare, Esquire, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Tia Drummond, who proceeds pro se, filed this employment discrimination action on November 8, 2017, in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County. (D.I. 1). Defendant Amazon.com, Inc. removed the action to this Court on February 21, 2008, after Plaintiff indicated her claims included a hostile work environment claim under Title VII. (D.I. 1-3 at 12-13). The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court dismissed the case on December 4, 2018. (D.I. 13). Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint and Defendant's opposition. (D.I. 14). Briefing on the matter is complete.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a Black/African American female (D.I. 6 at 19) who was employed by Defendant. The original complaint raised employment discrimination claims under Delaware law. (D.I. 1-1). The amended complaint raised employment discrimination claims "under the Federal Civil Rights statu[t]e," presumably 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., for retaliation, harassment (hostile work environment), and discrimination (race and gender), but did not mention Delaware's employment discrimination statutes and contained an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim under state law. (D.I. 6 at 18-20).

         On October 31, 2018, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss. (See D.I. 11, 12). Plaintiff was given leave to amend Counts 1, 2, and 3 -- the Title VII retaliation, hostile work environment, and gender discrimination claims. The Court dismissed with prejudice Count 4, the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Plaintiff was given until on or before November 20, 2018 to file a second amended complaint. (D.I. 12). She was warned that the case would be closed should she fail to timely file a second amended complaint. (Id.).

         Plaintiff did not file a second amended complaint as provided by the Court's October 31, 2018 order. On December 4, 2018, the Court entered an order dismissing the action and closing the case. (D.I. 13). Two days later, on December 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint along with a memorandum of law. (D.I. 14, D.I. 15).

         Plaintiff seeks leave to amend on the grounds that: (1) the proposed amended complaint provides additional details of race discrimination; (2) the motion for leave is timely; (3) the proposed amendment will not cause prejudice to Defendant; and (4) she has standing to obtain leave under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. (D.I. 14, D.I. 15). Defendant opposes the motion on the grounds that: (1) Plaintiff failed to file a second amended complaint within the deadline set forth in the Court's October 31, 2018 order; (2) amendment is futile; and (3) it would be prejudiced by further amendment.[1] (D.I. 21).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), a party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within twenty-one days after serving it or, if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, twenty-one days after service of a responsive pleading or twenty-one days after service of a Rule 12(b) motion, whichever is earlier. Otherwise, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. Rule 15 provides that courts should freely give leave to amend when justice so requires.

         The Third Circuit has adopted a liberal approach to the amendment of pleadings to ensure that "a particular claim will be decided on the merits rather than on technicalities." Dole v. Arco Chem. Co.,921 F.2d 484, 486-87 (3d Cir. 1990). Amendment, however, is not automatic. See Dover Steel Co., Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indem.,151 F.R.D. 570, 574 (E.D. Pa. 1993). Leave to amend should be granted absent a showing of "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 the allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc." Foman v. Davis,371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); see also Oran v. Stafford,226 F.3d 275, 291 (3d Cir. 2000). Futility of amendment occurs when the complaint, as amended, does not state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig.,114 F.3d 1410, 1434 (3d Cir. 1997). If the proposed ...


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