United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
THOMAS E. PEREZ, Secretary of Labor United States Department of Labor PLAINTIFF
KDE EQUINE, LLC, d/b/a STEVE ASMUSSEN STABLES, and STEVE ASMUSSEN DEFENDANTS
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court on the motion of Plaintiff Thomas
E. Perez, the Secretary of Labor for the United States
Department of Labor (“The Secretary”), for leave
to file an amended complaint, ECF No. 37. The Secretary
tendered a proposed amended complaint, ECF No. 37-1.
Defendants KDE Equine, LLC, Steve Asmussen Stables, and Steve
Asmussen (collectively, “Defendants”) objected,
ECF No. 38. For the reasons stated below, the Court will
grant the Secretary's motion for leave to file an amended
Secretary filed this lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards
Act of 1938 (FSLA or “the Act”), 29 U.S.C. §
201, et seq., pursuant to his authority granted by
§ 211(a) and § 216(c) of the Act. Compl. 1, ECF No.
1. The Secretary alleges in the original complaint that
Defendants violated sections 7 and 15(a)(2) of the FSLA,
§§ 207 and 215(a)(2), by employing employees for
workweeks longer than 40 hours per week without compensating
them in excess of such hours at rates not less than one and
one-half times the regular rates at which they are employed.
Id. at 4. He also asserts that Defendants violated
sections 11(c) and 15(a)(5) of the Act, §§ 211(c)
and 215(a)(5), and 29 C.F.R. § 516 by failing to keep
and maintain adequate and accurate employment records.
Id. at 5. The Secretary seeks (1) a permanent
injunction restraining Defendants from violating the FSLA and
from withholding wages under the FSLA, (2) an award of back
wages for the previous three years, and (3) an additional
liquidated damages amount and/or interest on such back wages.
Id. at 6-7.
September 15, 2015, Defendants filed an answer and their
affirmative defenses. Answer, ECF No. 10. On October 3, 2016,
the Secretary moved for leave to amend the complaint. Mot.
Amend, ECF No. 37. The Secretary attempts to modify the
original complaint in five ways.
• First, he adds an allegation that Defendants have
violated the minimum wage rules contained in section 6 of the
FSLA, § 206, since June of 2012. Proposed Am. Compl. 4,
ECF No. 37-1.
• Second, he seeks to clarify that he seeks back wages
for all employees who he asserts were misclassified as exempt
employees under Part 541 of the regulations, including
employees working at locations other than Churchill Downs.
Id. at 5.
• Third, the Secretary attempts to specify the alleged
types of record-keeping violations, such as a failure to
maintain records of employees' gender and occupations.
Id. at 5-6.
• Fourth, he seeks to explain that he is seeking back
wages and liquidated damages and/or interest between June
2012 and the date on which Defendants' compliance with
the FSLA is established. Id. at 7-8.
• Fifth, the Secretary attempts to expand the number of
employees from 100 listed in the original complaint to 163
listed in the amended complaint who he claims are entitled to
back wages and liquidated damages and/or interest. Compl. Ex.
B., ECF No. 1-3; Am. Compl. Ex. B, ECF No. 37-2.
Secretary argues that the Court should grant leave to amend
the complaint because the amendments will “more
properly frame and place before the Court all appropriate and
legitimate issues in this cause.” Mot. Leave Am. 4, ECF
No. 37. He additionally contends that Defendants will not be
prejudiced by the amendment because “[a]ny new matters
to be asserted in the proposed Amended Complaint arose out of
the conduct, transactions or occurrences set forth in the
original Complaint, and therefore relate back to the date of
its filing.” Id. at 4-5. Defendants argue,
however, that the amendments seek to change and expand the
claims that have been litigated for over a year. Obj. Mot.
Am. 2, ECF No. 38. They assert that the “proposed
amendments would serve only to prolong the litigation, permit
[the Secretary] to further harass [them] with yet further
discovery, ultimately to the prejudice of the
Defendants.” Id. at 6.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 governs amendments. Rule 15
“reject[s] the approach that pleading is a game of
skill in which one misstep by counsel may be decisive to the
outcome and accept[s] the principle that the purpose of
pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the
merits.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
(1962). Under Rule 15, “[a] party may amend its
pleading once as a matter of course within . . . 21 days
after service of a motion under Rule 12(b).”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(B). “In all other cases, a party
may amend its pleading only with ...