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Proueng v. Nova Biomedical Corp

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 14, 2019

SINA PROEUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
NOVA BIOMEDICAL CORP., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          WOLF, D.J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Sina Proeung alleges that her former employer, defendant Nova Biomedical Corp. ("Nova")/ violated the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §2601 et seq., by terminating her without notifying her of her rights under the FMLA. Nova moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. It argues that Proeung released her FMLA claim under a valid severance agreement.

         Proeung now moves to amend her complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). She seeks to add facts regarding whether her release was knowing and voluntary. Nova opposes the amendment as futile. The court finds, however, that Proeung's proposed amended complaint would not be futile. Therefore, the motion to amend is being allowed.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) requires a party to obtain leave of court, absent the opposing party's consent, to amend a pleading more than 21 days after serving it or, if a responsive pleading is required, more than 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b) . In this case, 50 days elapsed between Nova's Motion to Dismiss and Proeung's Motion to Amend. Furthermore, Nova opposes plaintiff's Motion to Amend. See Dkt. No. 12. Accordingly, Proeung must obtain the court's permission to amend her complaint.

         The court must "freely give" permission to a party to amend a pleading "when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The Supreme Court has admonished district courts to grant leave to amend unless there is an "apparent or declared reason-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." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). When considering whether an amendment would be futile, the court "applies the same standard of legal sufficiency as applies to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion." Glassman v. Computervision Corp., 90 F.3d 617, 623 (1st Cir. 1996). In other words, a complaint is futile if it, "as amended, would fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted." Id.

         The court must deny a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if the plaintiff alleges "a plausible entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 559 (2007). That is, the complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations omitted). A claim is facially plausible if the plaintiff pleads "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 683. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id. at 678 (internal quotations omitted).

         In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "take all factual allegations as true and . . . draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Rodriguez-Ortiz v. Marao Caribe, Inc., 490 F.3d 92, 96 (1st Cir. 2007). The court "neither weighs the evidence nor rules on the merits because the issue is not whether plaintiffs will ultimately prevail, but whether they are entitled to offer evidence to support their claims." Day v. Fallon Cmty. Health Plan, Inc., 917 F.Supp. 72, 75 (D. Mass. 1996).

         III. BACKGROUND

         The facts alleged in the proposed amended complaint include the following.

         Proeung began working for Nova in July 2012. See Am. Compl. ¶6 (Dkt. No. 10-1). In March 2015, she fell at work and suffered an injury that prevented her from working. See id. ¶¶8-9. "While undergoing treatment for her work-related injuries, Proeung developed Cushings disease from being given too many cortisone injections over a short period of time . . . ." Id. ¶IO. Her symptoms included trembling and weakness. See id.

         In September 2015, Proeung returned to work. See id. ¶13. Shortly thereafter, she experienced "uncontrollable trembling and weakness . . . ." See id. ¶14. Nova sent Proeung home and instructed her not to return until she obtained a physician's clearance. See id.

         In November 2016, Proeung was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. See id. ¶17. On February 11, 2016, Nova terminated Proeung because her Myasthenia Gravis prevented her from performing the requirements of her job, and determined that her Myasthenia Gravis was unrelated to any injuries she sustained at work. See id. ΒΆ20. Upon terminating ...


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