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Federico v. Town of Rowley

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 7, 2016

CARMINE FEDERICO, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF ROWLEY and MARYBETH WISER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND

          F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge.

         This is an employment dispute. Plaintiff Carmine Federico has brought this action against the Town of Rowley, his former employer, and MaryBeth Wiser, his former supervisor. As originally pleaded, the complaint brought five counts arising under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2615(a), the Massachusetts Small Necessities Leave Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 52D, and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 214, § 1B.

         Plaintiff has moved to amend the complaint to add claims for defamation and violation of his right to due process.[1] For the following reasons, the motion will be denied.

         I. Background [2]

         Federico filed the original complaint in this action in the Essex County Superior Court on April 17, 2015. (Compl.). The Town sent Federico a notice terminating his employment on June 3, 2015. (Def. SMF Ex. FF). At that time, Federico was entitled to amend his complaint, as of right, pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 15. Federico did not amend the complaint at that time.

         Defendants removed the case to this Court on June 17, 2015, on the basis of federal-question jurisdiction. (Docket No. 1). On July 28, 2015, the Court entered a scheduling order stating that “[e]xcept for good cause shown, no motions seeking leave to . . . amend the pleadings to assert new claims or defenses may be filed after September 30, 2015.” (Docket No. 15). That deadline had been jointly proposed by the parties. (Docket No. 9). The order further required that the parties complete all fact discovery by March 1, 2016. The Court later amended the scheduling order to require the parties to file dispositive motions by May 31, 2016. On that date, defendants moved for summary judgment.

         On May 27, 2016, counsel for Federico-John W. Davis, Suzanne L. Herold, and Davis & Davis, P.C.-moved to withdraw from their representation in this matter. In support of this motion, counsel stated, “[t]here has been an irretrievable breakdown of the attorney client relationship and this office and its attorneys can no longer adequately represent Carmen Federico (sic) in this matter.” (Docket No. 25). The Court granted the motion. (Docket No. 29).

         On September 16, 2016, nearly four months after former counsel withdrew, current counsel entered a notice of appearance. (Docket No. 34). The Court has granted multiple extensions of time for responding to the motion for summary judgment because of the change in counsel. (Docket No. 29, 32, 36).

         Federico finally responded to the motion for summary judgment on October 3, 2016. (Docket No. 38). On October 14, defendants filed a reply. (Docket No. 44). The Court heard oral argument concerning the motion on November 16, 2016.

         Four days earlier, on November 12, 2016, Federico filed the present motion to amend the complaint. Federico did not file a proposed amended complaint with the motion to amend, but states that he seeks to amend in order to add claims for defamation and a due process violation.

         As justification for the late-filed amendment, Federico's current counsel states:

Mr. Federico's prior counsel did not carefully draft a Complaint or seek to amend it in order to add all meritorious claims on Mr. Federico's behalf . . . This is the plaintiff's first and only motion seeking to amend his Complaint. The plaintiff should not be prejudiced by his former attorney's failure to include all meritorious claims in this action.

(Pl. Mot. to Amend 2).

         II. L ...


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