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Darowski v. Wojewoda

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 8, 2018



          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Krzysztof Darowski filed this action against Defendants Elzbieta Wojewoda, Marek Wojewoda, and Kardynal Roofing & Siding, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging that Defendants failed to pay him all required wages for his work performed for their horse-boarding and roofing businesses. Darowski brought claims for failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 207, failure to pay overtime and minimum wages in violation of the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act (“CMWA”), Connecticut General Statutes (“Conn. Gen. Stat.”) §§ 31-58 et seq., and failure to pay wages on a weekly basis as required by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-71b. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (“SAC”) adding a FLSA retaliation claim against Defendants. (ECF No. 113.)

         For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion for leave to file the SAC is DENIED.

         I. Background

         I assume familiarity with the underlying facts of this case, which are recounted in detail in the summary judgment ruling. (ECF No. 112.) I recount certain relevant facts below.

         Plaintiff filed this suit in May, 2015, and the parties completed discovery in November, 2016. (ECF No. 69.) On December 19, 2017, the Court denied Defendants' motion for summary judgment, finding that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether Plaintiff is entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations under the FLSA and the CMWA. (ECF No. 112.) The Joint Trial Memorandum is due June 11, 2018, and jury selection is set for July 11, 2018. (ECF No. 107.)

         On January 4, 2018, Plaintiff moved for leave to file the SAC to add a claim for damages under FLSA's anti-retaliation provision, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). In the proposed SAC, Plaintiff alleges that two years after he filed this lawsuit, Defendants filed a “frivolous” lawsuit against him in Superior Court for the Judicial District of Danbury, Wojewoda v. Darowski et al., No. DBD-CV17-6022369-S (“the State Court Action”). Plaintiff spent $7, 045.00 in attorney's fees and costs to defend the lawsuit.

         In the State Court Action, Defendants claimed damages for defamation based on false statements Plaintiff allegedly made in affidavits submitted to the Department of Homeland Security in support of his application for T-Nonimmigrant Status (“T Visa”). Defendants sued Plaintiff, Anna Szurawski, who provided Polish language interpretation services during Plaintiff's meetings with the attorney who represented him in the T Visa application process, and Karen Rosa, who provided a witness statement in support of Plaintiff's T Visa application. Just before Defendants filed the lawsuit, the parties' respective counsel debated the merits of Defendants' claims via email, with Plaintiff's counsel insisting that the claims were meritless and Defendants' counsel insisting that they were not. (ECF No. 121-1.)

         The Superior Court dismissed all nine counts in Defendants' complaint on October 12, 2017, holding that Plaintiff's statements made in the course of the T Visa proceedings were quasi- judicial in nature and therefore absolutely immune from civil liability. (ECF No. 113-3.) Defendants withdrew the State Court Action on November 13, 2017.

         Plaintiff now argues that the Superior Court's opinion dismissing all counts of the State Court Action and the speed with which Defendants withdrew the suit following the decision exposed the frivolousness of the lawsuit, which, Plaintiff argues, Defendants brought not “for the purpose of vindicating their rights but to gain a strategic advantage” in this lawsuit, namely, “to retaliate against Darowski for bringing the present lawsuit, wherein they stand to pay a significant judgment, as leverage for a more favorable settlement.” (ECF No. 113 at 3.)

         II. Legal Standard

         Because he seeks to add claims based on events that occurred after he filed the original complaint, Plaintiff's motion is properly classified as a motion to file a supplemental pleading. Rule 15(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that “[o]n motion and reasonable notice, the court may, on just terms, permit a party to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented.” “[L]eave to file a supplemental pleading should be freely permitted when the supplemental facts connect it to the original pleading.” Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 66 (2d Cir. 1995). “The same standard . . . applies to both motions to amend and motions to supplement, ” M.V.B. Collision, Inc. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 728 F.Supp.2d 205, 222 (E.D.N.Y. 2010); despite the liberal standard for amending or supplementing pleadings, “[a] district court has discretion to deny leave for good reason, including futility, bad faith, undue delay, or undue prejudice to the opposing party.” McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 200 (2d Cir. 2007) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). “In determining what constitutes ‘prejudice, ' [the Second Circuit] generally consider[s] whether the assertion of the new claim or defense would (i) require the opponent to expend significant additional resources to conduct discovery and prepare for trial; (ii) significantly delay the resolution of the dispute; or (iii) prevent the plaintiff from bringing a timely action in another jurisdiction.” Monahan v. N.Y. City Dep't of Corr., 214 F.3d 275, 284 (2d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         “Undue prejudice arises, ” for example, “when an amendment comes on the eve of trial and would result in new problems of proof.” Ruotolo v. City of New York, 514 F.3d 184, 192 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Nonetheless, “allegations that an amendment will require the expenditure of additional time, effort, or money do not themselves constitute undue prejudice.” Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. v. Del Monte Foods, Inc., 304 F.R.D. 170, 174-75 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (internal citations omitted). “[T]he fact that the opposing party will have to undertake additional discovery, standing alone, does not suffice to warrant denial of a motion to amend a pleading.” Id. (quoting U.S. ex rel. Mar. Admin. v. Cont'l Ill. Nat'l Bank & Trust Co., 889 F.2d 1248, 1255 (2d Cir. 1989)).

         Where a court has entered a scheduling order, courts balance the standard for motions to amend or supplement against the requirement that the Court's scheduling “shall not be modified except upon a showing of good cause.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b). “A finding of good cause depends on the ...

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