United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MICHAEL A. HAMMER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is presently before this Court on Defendant's,
Innodata Inc. (“Defendant”), motion to amend its
Answer to the Complaint. See Defendant's Motion
to Amend the Answer, May 28, 2019, D.E. 71. This Court has
considered the matter without oral argument pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Court will grant Defendant's motion to amend
its Answer to the Complaint.
following background is derived from the allegations of the
Complaint. Plaintiff, Anindo Dey (“Plaintiff”),
was originally employed with Defendant as a Vice
President of Business Development in Noida, India. Compl.,
July 28, 2017, D.E. 1, at ¶ 11. Plaintiff contends that
at the request of Jack Abuhoff (“Mr. Abuhoff”),
Defendant's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, he
moved to the United States. Id. Plaintiff alleges
that in February 2016, Defendant sponsored him to work in the
United States. Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff then moved
to the United States and worked in the field and out of his
home office in Illinois. Id. Plaintiff reported to
Defendant's headquarters in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Plaintiff's employment, Plaintiff reported to Lisa
Indovino (“Ms. Indovino”), Defendant's Senior
Vice President, Digital Data Solutions. Id. at
¶ 15. Plaintiff contends that he was subject to a
hostile work environment and a work culture of discrimination
based on his Asian ethnicity and Indian Origin. Id.
at ¶¶ 16-17. Specifically, Plaintiff contends that
Ms. Indovino subjected him to “a campaign of
harassment, an intimidating and threatening work environment,
and verbal and racial abuse upon his relocation to the United
States.” Id. at ¶ 18.
submits that in an email dated September 12, 2016, he
reported Ms. Indovino's behavior to Mr. Abuhoff.
Id. at ¶ 19. According to Plaintiff, the
September 12, 2016, email specifically recounted
“instances wherein Indovino's discriminatory and
harassing nature were directed towards him, including but not
limited to, berating him and screaming at him seemingly for
most actions he took.” Id. at ¶ 20.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to take “any
action to address the concerns of discrimination raised by
[him] in his September 12, 2016, email to Abuhoff.”
Id. at ¶ 30. Plaintiff further alleges that
“[a]s a direct and proximate result of the stress
inflicted upon him by Indovino, [he] suffered a silent heart
attack sometime in September of 2016.” Id. at
November 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination
with the Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), alleging
violations of Title VII of the Civil Right Act. Id.
at ¶ 31. Plaintiff represents that the following day,
November 9, 2016, he underwent emergency heart surgery
“as a result of the stress induced heart attack.”
Id. at ¶ 33. Plaintiff contends that upon
returning to work, Ms. Indovino “continued her
harassment, increased scrutiny and changing in her
performance appraisal of [Plaintiff].” Id. at
¶ 35. On November 30, 2016, the EEOC Office of Chicago
transferred the Charge to the EEOC Office in New Jersey.
Id. at ¶ 28. Plaintiff submits that two days
after becoming aware of his Charge of Discrimination,
Defendant terminated his employment. Id. at ¶
2, 2017, the EEOC issued Plaintiff a Right to Sue Letter.
Id. at ¶ 3. On July 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, alleging
violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the
Americans with Disabilities Act, the Illinois Humans Rights
Act, and the Illinois Whistleblower Act. See
generally Compl., D.E. 1, at ¶¶ 41-64,
¶¶ 71- 86. Plaintiff's Complaint also sets
forth counts for retaliatory discharge. Id. at
November 1, 2017, Defendant filed an Answer to
Plaintiff's Complaint, setting forth sixteen affirmative
defenses and no counterclaims. See generally Answer,
November 1, 2017, D.E. 28.
January 22, 2018, this matter was transferred to the United
District Court for the District of New Jersey. See
Opinion and Order, January 22, 2018, D.E. 35. On February 28,
2019, Defendant filed a motion for leave to file an amended
Answer. See Def. Motion for Leave to Amend Answer,
February 28, 2019, D.E. 65. On May 20, 2019, the Court denied
Defendant's motion without prejudice to the right to
refile such a motion that contained a red-lined version of
the proposed amended pleading. See Order, May 20,
2019, D.E. 68.
28, 2019, Defendant filed a renewed motion for leave to file
an amended Answer, seeking to add an affirmative defense and
counterclaims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and
promissory estoppel. Proposed Amended Answer, May 28, 2019,
D.E. 71-1, at pp. 15-18. On June 13, 2019, Plaintiff opposed
Defendant's motion. Pl. Opposition to Def.'s Motion,
June 13, 2019, D.E. 73. On June 19, 2019, Defendant replied
to Plaintiff's opposition. Def. Reply, June 19, 2019,
Proposed Amended Answer alleges that on February 19, 2016,
Plaintiff executed a Promissory Note (the “Note”)
to Defendant. Proposed Amended Answer, May 28, 2019, D.E.
71-1, at p. 15, ¶ 1. According to the Note's terms,
Plaintiff was to receive $6, 250.00, which would be repaid
with interest at 3.5% per annum on the unpaid balance.
Id. at ¶¶ 2-3. Beginning in March 2016,
Plaintiff was to pay Defendant forty-eight equal installments
of $135.00 that were “payable twice monthly as an
automatic salary deduction from each period.”
Id. at ¶ 4. The Note provided Defendant the
option to make the ...