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Panyagor v. Kindred Nursing Centers Ltd. Partnership

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

August 9, 2017

ABRAHAM PANYAGOR PLAINTIFF
v.
KINDRED NURSING CENTERS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         I. Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of Plaintiff Abraham Panyagor for leave to amend the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), ECF No. 21. Panyagor tendered a proposed amended complaint, ECF No. 21-1. Defendant Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership (“Kindred”) responded, ECF No. 29. Panyagor replied, ECF No. 32. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny Panyagor's motion for leave to amend the complaint.

         II. Background

         A. Allegations in the Complaint

         Kindred employed Panyagor as a certified nursing assistance. Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 1-1. In May or June of 2015, Panyagor notified Kindred's management that his co-worker, Serena James, was mistreating the company's residents. Id. ¶ 12. Shortly thereafter, James began to harass Panyagor, including by calling him names. Id. ¶ 13. Panyagor complained to Kindred's management that James was harassing him. Id. ¶ 14. In response, Kindred's management informed Panyagor that he would no longer be assigned to work with James. Id.

         On July 2, 2015, Panyagor's physician requested that Panyagor be placed on a leave of absence for rehabilitation related to his herniated lumbar disc, which Panyagor asserts was a request for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2611, et. seq. Id. ¶ 15. About a month later, Panyagor returned to work with temporary light duty restrictions. Id. ¶ 16. That day, Kindred advised him that his employment was suspended pending an investigation into a claim by James that he had violated the company's sexual harassment policy. Id. ¶ 17. On August 7, 2015, Kindred terminated Panyagor. Id. ¶ 18.

         In June 2016, Panyagor filed suit against Kindred in the Jefferson County, Kentucky Circuit Court. Id. at 1. He asserts that Kindred discriminated against him on the basis of a disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as Amended (ADAAA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (Count I). Id. ¶¶ 20-23. Panyagor also alleges that Kindred discriminated against him on the basis of his national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), et seq. (Count II) Id. ¶¶ 24-27. Panyagor additionally claims that Kindred terminated him and engaged in other retaliatory conduct after he complained about the company's employment practices, which is unlawful under Title VII (Count III). Id. ¶¶ 28-31. Panyagor further maintains that Kindred discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA), Ky. Rev. Stat. § 344, et seq. (Count IV). Id. ¶¶ 32-34. Panyagor asserts that Kindred interfered with his rights under the FMLA (Count V). Id. ¶¶ 35-42. Finally, he contends that Kindred discriminated against him in violation of the FMLA (Count VI). Id. ¶¶ 43-47. Panyagor seeks an award of compensatory damages, liquidated damages, and punitive damages. Id. at 9. He also seeks an award of statutory interest, costs and fees, and other appropriate relief. Id. at 10.

         B. Procedural History

         Kindred filed a notice of removal in this Court. Not. Removal 1, ECF No. 1. As part of the scheduling order, the magistrate judge ordered the parties to file any amended pleadings and joinder of parties by November 18, 2016. Order 9/15/2016 1, ECF No. 11. The parties agree that on April 18, 2017, Panyagor sat for a deposition. Mot. Amend 2, ECF No. 21; Resp. Opp. Mot. Amend 2, ECF No. 29. According to Panyagor, he testified that he had been subjected to retaliation because he complained about James' treatment of Kindred patients. Mot. Amend 2, ECF No. 21.

         III. Discussion

         Some six months after the scheduling order deadline for filing amended pleadings-in May 2017-Panyagor moved for leave to amend the complaint under Rule 15(a)(2). Mot. Amend 1, ECF No. 21. He seeks to add James as a defendant and to assert (1) a claim for wrongful termination, (2) a claim under the Kentucky Patient's Safety Act, Ky. Rev. Stat. § 216B.165, and (3) a claim for conspiracy to violate the KCRA. Tendered Am. Compl. ¶¶ 44-60, ECF No. 21-1. He also seeks to withdraw his claims arising under the ADAAA.[1]

         Panyagor argues that the Court should grant him leave to amend the complaint because the purpose of the amendments is proper, the amendments would aid the Court in framing the relevant issues, the amendments are not advanced to cause undue delay or prejudice, the amendments would not require a continuance of the trial, and Kindred would not suffer undue prejudice as a result of the complaint being amended. Mot. Amend 2-3, ECF No. 21. Panyagor further maintains that good cause exists to grant him leave to amend the complaint because he has developed new theories of liability that should be subject to motion practice or to trial. Id. at 3. Kindred argues in opposition that Panyagor has not met his burden to affirmatively show good cause, his proposed amendment and joinder of a new party would prejudice it, and his amendments are futile. Resp. Opp. Mot. Amend 3, ECF No. 29.

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit a party to “amend its pleading once as a matter of course” if the amendment is filed “before being served with a responsive pleading.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). In “all other cases[, ]” the party must receive the “opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” ...


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