United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY JUDGE
the court for disposition is Plaintiff Mark Strausser's
(hereinafter “plaintiff”) motion for leave to
file a second amended complaint. For the reasons that follow,
the court will grant plaintiff's motion.
instant employment discrimination action arises from
plaintiff's employment with Defendant Gertrude Hawk
Chocolates, Inc. (hereinafter “defendant”).
Plaintiff worked as a full-time machine operator at
defendant's production facility from February 2014 until
his termination in January 2015. (Doc. 19, Am. Compl. ¶
employed with the defendant, plaintiff requested time off to
seek inpatient treatment for alcoholism issues. (Id.
¶ 13). Defendant consented to plaintiff's request,
and in late December 2014, plaintiff entered an inpatient
rehabilitation facility. (Id. ¶ 14). Plaintiff
remained at the rehabilitation facility for a month,
successfully completing the treatment program. (Id.
returned to work in late January or early February 2015.
(Id. ¶¶ 16-17). Upon his return,
plaintiff's manager handed plaintiff a letter.
(Id. ¶ 17). The letter stated that the
defendant had assessed plaintiff a number of attendance
points for the time plaintiff missed work during his
rehabilitation stay. (Id.) Plaintiff's manager
explained that he “didn't care where [plaintiff]
was” and that the attendance points would stand.
(Id. ¶ 20). Plaintiff responded that he would
seek legal counsel on the appropriateness of being
disciplined for his medical leave. (Id. ¶ 21).
Plaintiff's manager, however, stated that he did not feel
comfortable with plaintiff in his factory and, effective
immediately, terminated plaintiff's employment due to
lack of work. (Id. ¶¶ 22-23).
response to his termination, plaintiff filed a complaint and
a first amended complaint. The first amended complaint
asserts two causes of action. Plaintiff first alleges that
the defendant failed to accommodate him, discriminated
against him because of his disability, and terminated him in
retaliation for requesting accommodations in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101,
et seq. (hereinafter “ADA”).
(Id. ¶¶ 26-30). Plaintiff's second
cause of action claims the defendant failed to accommodate
him, discriminated against him because of his disability, and
terminated him in retaliation for requesting accommodations
in violation of Pennsylvania's Human Relations Act, 43
Pa. Stat. Ann. § 951, et seq. (hereinafter
“PHRA”). (Id. ¶¶ 43-45).
December 8, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion seeking leave to
file a second amended complaint. (Doc. 26). Specifically,
plaintiff seeks to add the disabilities of bipolar disorder,
depression, and anxiety to his previously stated disability
of alcoholism. Defendant opposes plaintiff's motion. The
parties briefed the issues, bringing the case to the present
case is brought pursuant to the ADA for unlawful employment
discrimination, we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1331 (“The district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States.”). The court has supplemental jurisdiction over
plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
seeks leave to file a second amended complaint to add the
disabilities of bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety to
his previously stated alcoholism disability. Plaintiff
asserts these additional disabilities arise from the same
December 2014 rehabilitation stay that treated his
alcoholism. The defendant argues plaintiff failed to
administratively exhaust his remedies regarding these
additional disabilities, and therefore, the court must deny
plaintiff's proposed amendment. Alternatively, the
defendant contends plaintiff has unduly delayed moving for
this amendment and that these additional disabilities will
unfairly prejudice the defendant. After a careful review, the
court agrees with the plaintiff and will allow him to file a
second amended complaint.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 provides that when a responsive
pleading has been filed, a “party may amend its
pleading only with the opposing party's written consent
or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule
15 counsels courts to “freely give leave [to amend a
complaint] when justice so requires.” Id.
Nonetheless, a district court may deny leave to amend a
complaint if the amendment has been unduly delayed, would
unduly prejudice the nonmoving party, or would be futile.
Averbach v. Rival Mfg. Co., 879 F.2d 1196, 1203 (3d
Cir. 1989) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
delay is established if a proposed amendment “plac[es]
an unwarranted burden on the court” and the movant had
an inappropriate motive for proposing it later rather than
sooner. Adams v. Gould, Inc., 739 F.2d 858, 868 (3d
Cir. 1984). The “mere existence of delay” alone
is not sufficient. Merican, Inc. v. Caterpillar Tractor
Co., 596 F.Supp. 697, 705 (E.D. Pa. 1984). Undue
prejudice is established if the proposed amendment
“plac[es] an unfair burden on the opposing
party.” Adams, 739 F.2d at 868. A proposed
amendment would be futile if such amendment would not
withstand a motion to dismiss. Massarsky v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 706 F.2d 111, 125 (3d Cir. 1983). ...