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Jesse Averhart v. Cwa Local 1033

May 2, 2012

JESSE AVERHART, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CWA LOCAL 1033, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bongiovanni, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Jesse Averhart's ("Plaintiff") motion seeking leave to file an Amended Complaint [Docket Entry No. 39]. Defendants CWA Local 1033 and Rae Roeder (the "Local Defendants") oppose the motion [Docket Entry No. 44]. Defendants Lawrence Cohen, Communications Workers of America, Hetty Rosenstein, and Christopher Shelton (the "CWA Defendants") have also filed an opposition [Docket Entry No. 46]. The Court has fully reviewed the papers submitted in support of, and in opposition to, Plaintiff's motion. The Court considers Plaintiff's motion without oral argument pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

I. Background and Procedural History

In October, 2010, Plaintiff filed his Complaint against Defendants in State Court alleging violations of the Communications Workers of America Union Constitution ("CWA Constitution") as well as violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act ("LMRDA"). The matter was removed to Federal Court in November, 2010. The parties have engaged in discovery and Plaintiff was twice granted an extension to the deadline for filing a motion to amend [Docket Entry Nos. 24 & 38]. On November 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed the present motion [Docket Entry No. 39] seeking leave to file an Amended and Supplemental Complaint.

Plaintiff's original Complaint alleges three causes of action. The first cause of action involves Defendants' alleged violation of the CWA Constitution for failing to organize unorganized members pursuant to Article XIII, § 9 of the CWA Constitution. The second cause of action alleges that Defendants failed to fully disclose financial disbursements of the union dues as required by Article XIII, § 9 and § 11 of the CWA Constitution. Finally, Plaintiff's third cause of action alleges that Defendants failed to provide secret ballot voting for the election of officers in violation of Article XIII, § 9 of the CWA Constitution and in violation of Title IV of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 481. Plaintiff sought damages in the form of declaratory judgments and injunctive relief.

Plaintiff now seeks to amend his Complaint to "nam[e] defendants in their official and individual capacities"; to "allege facts justiciable pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§2201-02"; to "add a demand for a jury trial"; to "allege facts and claims for violation of Title I, Bill of Rights of Members of Labor Organization, 29 U.S.C. §§411-415"; to "supplement, to add relief for compensatory and punitive damages"; to "supplement, to add relief for attorney fees"; and to provide a "clarification of allegations and relief requested." Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Motion, Docket Entry No. 39-1, *4.

In his Memorandum, Plaintiff explains that the Court's ruling on his Motion to Remand, dated March 8, 2011, alerted him of his rights under the LMRDA and, presumably, prompted him to file this motion. Plaintiff's Memorandum, at *5. Plaintiff provides a brief description of the history of the case. Plaintiff states that the Defendants' actions during the 2005 and 2008 elections, of which he complained in his original Complaint, were repeated during the 2011 election. Id. at *8. Plaintiff explains that he is seeking to amend and supplement his Complaint prior to the 2015 election as a preventative measure. Id. at *9.

Plaintiff argues that his amendments should be permitted under FED.R.CIV.P. 15(c). Plaintiff states that the events which form the basis of his Amended Complaint began in 2005 and continued through 2011, thus he asserts that he meets the requirements of Rule 15(c)(1)(B). He again states that it was the Court's ruling on his Motion to Remand which informed him that his Complaint contained a claim which fell under federal jurisdiction. Id. at *10.

Plaintiff also argues that he fulfills the requirements of Rule 15(c)(1)(C).*fn1 He states that the proposed defendants would not be prejudiced by their addition to this claim because they had constructive notice of this lawsuit because they shared an attorney with the original defendants and because they share and identity of interest with the original defendants. Id. at *10-11.

Plaintiff further asserts that there has been no undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on his part which would preclude his amendments. He also asserts that there would not be any prejudice to defendants if his motion is granted. Id. at *11. Finally, Plaintiff argues that he should be entitled to supplement his Complaint under Rule 15(d) and that he is entitled to a jury trial. Id. at *12, 13-15.

The Local Defendants oppose Plaintiff's motion. The Local Defendants first argue that Plaintiff's Proposed Amended Complaint is essentially a re-write and bears little semblance to the original Complaint. The Local Defendants assert that the Proposed Amended Complaint contains broad and conclusory allegations and fails to establish a cause of action.

The Local Defendants also argue that Plaintiff's proposed amendment to name thirty-nine (39) new, individual defendants in their individual and official capacities is prejudicial to those proposed defendants. Specifically, the Local Defendants point out that Plaintiff has simply identified the proposed defendants, but has not provided any factual basis for their involvement in this lawsuit other than their status as board and committee members.

The Local Defendants assert that Plaintiff is barred by the statute of limitations from adding causes of action against the proposed defendants relating to the 2005 and 2008 elections. Defendants argue that the claims against the proposed defendants cannot "relate back" under 15(c)(1)(C) as Plaintiff suggests, because there was never any confusion as to the proposed defendants' identities, nor has their identities been discovered, since the time Plaintiff filed the original Complaint. The Local Defendants further argue that Plaintiff has not exhausted all his remedies under the CWA Constitution as required under the LMRDA.

The CWA Defendants have filed a letter in support of the Local Defendant's opposition to Plaintiff's motion. The CWA Defendants reiterate that Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint is, in essence, an entirely new Complaint. The CWA Defendants point out that Plaintiff does not identify the specific changes that he seeks to make, which places the burden on defendants and on the Court to determine the details and nature of his amendments. The CWA Defendants also state that allowing Plaintiff to amend his Complaint as proposed will cause undue delay.

Similar to the Local Defendants, the CWA Defendants argue that Plaintiff's motion should be denied because the amendments are futile. With respect to Plaintiff's First, Second and Third causes of action, the CWA Defendants assert that Plaintiff has only made broad allegations; thus, the CWA Defendants state that Plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action. With respect to Plaintiff's Fourth cause of action, the CWA Defendants assert that the proposed amendments are unduly prejudicial to the CWA Defendants because Plaintiff has failed to list any specific facts to support his legal claims and because Plaintiff has failed to attribute any action or inaction to the CWA Defendants which would provide them with notice as to the reasons behind their inclusion in Plaintiff's claim.

The CWA Defendants further assert that Plaintiff's proposed amendments, as they relate to the 2005 and 2008 causes of action, are barred by the statute of limitations. Finally, the CWA Defendants assert that Plaintiff failed to amend in a timely ...


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