The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Nora Barry Fischer
Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs‟ "Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint." (Docket No. ). After consideration of the motion, Defendant‟s response in opposition (Docket No. 92), and Plaintiffs‟ reply, (Docket No. 95), Plaintiffs‟ motion  is DENIED for the reasons that follow.
This case was filed on September 29, 2010. (Docket No. 1). After cross-motions to dismiss, (Docket Nos. 9, 24), and a motion to strike (Docket No. 26) were filed with this Court, but before the motions were adjudicated (see Docket No. 69), Plaintiffs filed a first Amended Complaint on February 15, 2011. (Docket No. 54). The Court then convened a case management conference on April 14, 2011. (Docket No. 74).
In its original Case Management Order, the Court ordered that "[a]ny motions to amend pleadings or to add new parties shall be filed no later than April 15, 2011." (Docket No. 75 at ¶ 14) (emphasis in original). On July 15, 2011, the Court issued an Amended Case Management Order. (Docket No. 83). While certain dates were changed based on the Amended Case Management Order, the Court did not change the deadline for filing motions to amend pleadings or to add new parties. (Docket No. 83 at ¶ 14).
On October 3, 2011, Plaintiffs filed both the instant motion (Docket No. 87) and their "Motion for Conditional Class Certification and Court-Facilitated Notice." (Docket No. 88). The next day, they filed their brief in support of the motion for certification. (Docket No. 91). That brief "refer[red] this Court to the factual allegations set forth in the proposed Second Amended Complaint, as well as the affidavits and exhibits attached hereto." (Id. at 2). Defendant then filed its response to the instant motion, (Docket No. 92), and Plaintiffs filed their reply. (Docket No. 95).
Plaintiffs claim that the Second Amended Complaint "relate[s] to facts recently developed in discovery," pertaining to a Reduction in Force ("RIF") orchestrated by Kohlberg & Co. and Defendant‟s senior management. (Docket No. 87 at ¶ 1). This amended pleading, so they assert, will "tightly narrow the focus of Representative Plaintiffs‟ claims." (Id. at ¶ 2). They also assert, without support, that "Defendant will not be prejudiced by the proposed amendments." (Id. at ¶ 4).
Defendant responds with four points. First, it argues that the motion to amend is not timely. (Docket No. 92 at 1- 2). Second, Defendant argues that amendment will cause Defendant undue prejudice "by changing. the very premise of Plaintiff‟s [sic] claims." (Id. at 1). Third, Defendant claims that facts added to the proposed Second Amended Complaint are irrelevant and ripe to be stricken. (Id.). Finally, Defendant argues that it would be prejudiced because Plaintiffs were all deposed based on their prior pleadings and briefing is already underway as to Plaintiffs‟ motion for conditional certification. (Id.).
In reply, Plaintiffs argue that Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is determinative. (Docket No. 95 at 3). Under Rule 15, they say, motions for leave to amend should be denied only upon a finding of undue delay, bad faith, futility, or substantial prejudice to the nonmoving party. (Id.).
Plaintiffs also argue that their motion was timely filed. (Id. at 4). This argument seems to be premised upon the idea that amendment has been allowed by other courts where proceedings were advanced far beyond the posture of the instant case. (See id. at 4-5) (citing cases where amendment was allowed 2, 3 and 7 years after suit was filed). All of the cited cases relied upon Rule 15(a). See Zeigan v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 607 F.Supp. 1434 (S.D.N.Y. 1985)*fn1 ; Fli-Fab, Inc. v. United States, 16 F.R.D. 553, 555 (D.R.I. 1954)*fn2 ; Hirshhorn v. Mine Safety Appliance Co., 101 F.Supp. 549, 551-52 (W.D. Pa. 1951).
The Court notes here that Defendant‟s response, at least with respect to timeliness, clearly, albeit inartfully, relies on Rule 16. Defendant expressly refers to the April 15, 2011 deadline set by the Court. (See Docket No. 92 at 1). What they do not say is that modification of the Court‟s Case Management Orders (Docket Nos. 75, 83) is governed by Rule 16, such that Rule 15 has no bearing on the timeliness issue raised by Defendant and based on the Orders.
This point is implicitly recognized by Plaintiffs in their reply, at footnote 5, where they cite to three cases that rely upon the "good cause" standard under Rule 16. See Gregg v. Ohio Dept. of Youth Services, 661 F.Supp.2d 842, 849 (S.D. Ohio 2009); Bowers v. American Heart Ass'n., Inc., 513 F.Supp.2d 1364, 1368 (N.D. Ga. 2007); Dozier v. Rowan Drilling Co., Inc., 397 F.Supp.2d 837, 855 (S.D. Tex. 2005). Thus, although neither ...