United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green
OPINION AND ORDER
King, Magistrate Judge United States District Court
Joseph McKinley referred this matter to Magistrate Judge
Lanny King for determination of nondispositive matters,
pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(A). (Docket #7).
Loandria Dahmer filed a Motion for Leave to File First
Amended Complaint (Docket #32), to which Defendants Responded
(Docket #34) and Plaintiff Replied. (Docket #35). Also before
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Strike Reply. (Docket
#36). These matters are now ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons stated below, the Plaintiff's Motion to File
First Amended Complaint is GRANTED and Defendant's Motion
to Strike Reply is DENIED.
case arises out of allegations of gender-based discrimination
experienced by Plaintiff Dahmer during her time at WKU as a
student and in her role as Student Government Association
(“SGA”) President. (Docket #1 at 5). Plaintiff
has filed this action against multiple Defendants, including
WKU, Timothy Caboni (President of WKU), Andrea Anderson
(Title IX Coordinator at WKU), and Charley Pride (SGA Advisor
at WKU). (Id. at 1-2). The Complaint alleges that
Defendants failed to adequately respond to gender-based
discrimination suffered by Plaintiff at the hands of other
SGA students, as well as staff of WKU. (Id. at
5-13). Plaintiff specifically alleges that Defendant Pride
both failed to address her concerns and actively participated
in the environment of gender-based harassment, and that
Defendants Caboni and Anderson failed to intervene.
January 29, 2019, Plaintiff Dahmer tendered a Motion to File
her First Amended Complaint, in accordance with the
Scheduling Order in this case. (Docket #32). As a basis for
the filing, Plaintiff contends that new facts have arisen
through discovery that allow for additional causes of action
against Defendants, particularly a retaliation claim related
to a scholarship endorsement purportedly withheld by
Defendant Caboni in retaliation for Plaintiff's sexual
harassment claims. (Id. at 1). Plaintiff states that
no Defendant would be unduly prejudiced by this filing, as
discovery has only just begun, and the litigation is in its
Response argues three points, one aimed at each amendment
sought by Plaintiff. First, Defendants argues that
Plaintiff's first amendment seeks to assert claims that
she does not have standing to bring. (Docket #34 at 4).
Second, Defendants alleges that Plaintiff's second
amendment is not supported by evidence. (Id. at 5).
Third, Defendants contends that Plaintiff's third
amendment would not withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion and
would unduly prejudice Defendants. (Id. at 8).
Reply focuses on three points, one regarding each proposed
amendment. (Docket #35). First, Plaintiff states that she is
not trying to bring additional claims via her first proposed
amendment, she seeks only to add more factual information.
(Id. at 1). Second, Plaintiff asserts that her
second amendment is supported by fact, and that
Defendants' argument does not present the whole substance
of Plaintiff's deposition testimony. (Id. at 2).
Third, Plaintiff argues that she has sufficient proof at this
stage to allow discovery on the retaliation claim she seeks
to assert and that exclusion of the claim does not fit within
the results contemplated by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. (Id. at 4).
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides the standard for
amending pleadings prior to trial. The Supreme Court has held
that “leave to amend ‘shall be freely given
whenever justice so requires' … If the underlying
facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a
proper subject of relief, he ought to be afforded an
opportunity to test his claim on the merits.” Foman
v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). The Court further
held that amendment should be “freely given” in
the absence of reasons “such as 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
allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc.” Id. The decision whether to permit
amendment is within the discretion of the trial court.
Goldman Services Mechanical Contracting, Inc. v. Citizens
Bank & Trust Co. of Paducah¸812 F.Supp. 738,
743 (W.D. Ky. 1992); see also General Elec. Co. v.
Sargent & Lundy, 916 F.2d 1119, 1130 (6th Cir.
1: Information Regarding Annalicia Carlson
first amendment seeks to include information from another SGA
Executive Board member, Annalicia Carlson, about her
experiences in the WKU SGA. The information alleges that Ms.
Carlson also had concerns of sexual harassment, approached
Defendant Pride regarding these concerns, and was harassed
further by Defendant Pride himself. (Docket #32-2 at 12). The
amendment also contains allegations from Ms. Carlson that the
environment of the WKU SGA was hostile, and that it is
believed that Ms. Carlson filed a Title IX complaint
regarding Defendant Pride with the WKU Title IX office.
contend that this amendment must fail, because Plaintiff had
the ability to present these facts at the time of filing the
complaint, the amendment would not withstand a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion, and Plaintiff may not bring claims on behalf of Ms.
Carlson, who is a third party. (Docket #34 at 4). Plaintiff
replies that she only seeks to amend her complaint to add
factual information to the Complaint, which lend credence to
her own claims. (Docket #35 at 1). She does not seek to bring
claims on behalf of Ms. Carlson. (Id.).
Court finds this Amendment to be proper under Rule 15. To
prove her claim of a pervasive atmosphere of hostility and
sex discrimination in SGA at WKU, the Plaintiff must show
multiple instances of improper behavior by the Defendants.
(Docket #1 at 11-13). Under 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a), a party
seeking to prove discrimination on the basis of sex must show
that her “educational experience was ‘permeated
with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that
is sufficiently severe or pervasive [so as] to alter the
conditions of the victim's' educational