United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Doe (“Plaintiff) has filed numerous motions, including
on issues already decided by this Court, and despite having
filed an interlocutory appeal of two of the Court's
orders on these issues with the Second Circuit. The Second
Circuit has dismissed the Plaintiffs appeal for lack of
jurisdiction, and the Court here reviews Ms. Doe's
multiple pending motions.
following reasons, the Court GRANTS the
motion to amend the case caption and remove Ms. Doe's
pseudonym and DENIES all other pending
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
with the factual background of this case is assumed.
See Ruling and Order, ECF No. 66 (May 6, 2019). Ms.
Doe allegedly worked as a sales agent for Defendant, Paychex,
Inc., (“Paychex”) from January until August 2015.
Second Am. Compl, ECF No. 35 (Oct. 9, 2018).
December 7, 2017, Ms. Doe brought this action against Paychex
seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief for violations
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Americans
with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et
seq.; and several state laws. Compl., ECF No. 1 (Dec. 7,
2017). She brought the action under seal and using a
pseudonym, claiming that she was afraid for her safety and
concerned about Paychex interfering with her employment
prospects. Id.; Mot. to Seal, ECF No. 2 (Dec. 7,
Ms. Doe filed this lawsuit, the parties exchanged numerous
motions. Among these, Ms. Doe moved three times for leave to
amend her complaint and filed motions for default judgment
and a preliminary injunction. Ms. Doe's amended
complaints sought to add new defendants, USI Insurance
Services of Connecticut and USI Insurance Services LLC
(collectively, “USI”), and to add new theories of
liability under multiple federal and state laws, as well as
Connecticut common law. Paychex and USI filed motions to
dismiss the first two amended complaints, and Paychex moved
to unseal the case. See Docket Entries, ECF Nos.
11-61 (Feb. 27, 2018 - Apr. 9, 2019).
April 9, 2019, the Court held a hearing on all pending
motions, Minute Entry, ECF No. 62 (Apr. 9, 2019), and
subsequently issued two orders. One order denied Ms.
Doe's motions for default judgment and preliminary
injunction as moot. Order, ECF No. 63 (Apr. 9, 2019). The
second order granted the motion to unseal; granted Ms.
Doe's second motion to amend and denying her third; and
granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss the
Second Amended Complaint. Ruling and Order, ECF No. 66 (May
6, 2019). The Court dismissed all claims against USI and many
claims against Paychex, leaving only Ms. Doe's claims
against Paychex for sex discrimination, hostile workplace,
and retaliation under Title VII. Id. at 3.
7, 2019, Paychex moved to amend the case title to remove Ms.
Doe's pseudonym. Mot. to Amend Case Title, ECF No. 74
(June 7, 2019).
14, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a notice of interlocutory appeal of
the Court's Orders of April 9, 2019, and May 6, 2019.
Notice of Interlocutory Appeal, ECF No. 76 (June 14, 2019).
Despite her appeal, Ms. Doe continued to ask this Court for
22, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a motion for default entry against
both Paychex and USI, and a motion for judgment and
injunction against both Paychex and USI. Mot. for Default
Entry, ECF No. 84 (July 22, 2019); Mot. for Judgment and
Inj., ECF No. 85 (July 22, 2019).
29, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a motion for reconsideration of the
Court's dismissal of USI as a defendant. Mot. for
Recons., ECF No. 88 (July 29, 2019).
August 5, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a motion for sanctions,
claiming that Paychex and USI have misled the Court, that
Paychex's motion to remove Plaintiff's pseudonym was
filed with improper purpose. Mot. for Sanctions, ECF No. 89
(Aug. 5, 2019).
August 19, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a motion for service expenses
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d)(2). Mot. for Serv.
Expenses, ECF No. 93 (Aug. 19, 2019).
September 6, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a motion requesting that the
Court accept the Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint and
grant the motions for default entry. Mot. to Request Court to
Accept Plaintiff's Second/Third Am. Compl., ECF No. 99
(Sept. 6, 2019).
September 16, 2019, Paychex filed a motion requesting to be
referred to Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel for the
purpose of resolving the parties' dispute regarding the
contents of their respective reports submitted under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f). Mot. for Referral to
Magistrate, ECF No. 101 (Sept. 16, 2019).
October 25, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a supplemental motion for
sanctions. Suppl. Mot. for Sanctions, ECF No. 109 (Oct. 25,
October 30, 2019, Ms. Doe filed a motion for an emergency
injunction against Paychex and USI. Mot. for Emerg. Inj., ECF
No. 110 (Oct. 30, 2019).
November 13, 2019, Paychex objected to Ms. Doe's motion
for an emergency injunction and her motion for sanctions.
Obj. to Mot. for Sanctions, ECF No. 111 (Nov. 13, 2019); Obj.
to Mot. for Emerg. Inj., ECF No. 112 (Nov. 13,
December 10, 2019, Ms. Doe responded to Paychex's
objections. Resp. to Obj. to Emerg. Inj., ECF No. 113 (Dec.
10, 2019); Resp. to Obj. to Sanctions, ECF No. 114 (Dec. 10,
December 27, 2019, the Second Circuit dismissed Ms. Doe's
appeal because “a final order has not been issued by
the district court as contemplated by 28 U.S.C. §
1291.” Mandate of USCA, ECF No. 115 (No. 19-1760 (2d
Cir. Dec. 27, 2019)) (citing Petrello v. White, 533
F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2008)).
January 9, 2020, Ms. Doe filed a motion for a hearing on the
scheduling order under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
26(f). Mot. for Hearing, ECF No. 116 (Jan. 9, 2020).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion for Reconsideration
for reconsideration shall not be routinely filed and shall
satisfy the strict standard applicable to such motions. Such
motions will generally be denied unless the movant can point
to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked in
the initial decision or order.” D. Conn. L. Civ. R.
7(c). This standard is strict. A motion for reconsideration
should be granted only where the defendant identifies
“an intervening change of controlling law, the
availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear
error or prevent manifest injustice.” Kolel Bell
Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Tr.,
729 F.3d 99, 104 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Virgin Atl.
Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245,
1255 (2d Cir. 1992)). Additionally, these matters must
“reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached
by the court.” Schrader v. CSX Transp., Inc.,
71 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995).
Motion for Default Judgment
55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides a
two-step process for obtaining a default judgment.”
Priestley v. Headminder, Inc., 647 F.3d 497, 504 (2d
Cir. 2011). Plaintiffs must first obtain an entry of default
under Rule 55(a), by showing that the defaulting party
“has failed to plead or otherwise defend.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). “Once default has been entered, the
allegations of the complaint that establish the
defendant's liability are accepted as true, except for
those relating to the amount of damages.” Ruling and
Order on Mot. for Default Judgment, Cantor Colburn LLP v.
On Demand Dir. Resp., No. 3:17-cv-1515 (VAB) (D. Conn.
June 7, 2018), ECF No. 17 (quoting Coles v. Lieberman,
Michaels & Kelly, LLC, No. 10-cv-484S, 2011 WL
3176467, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. July 27, 2011)).
Preliminary Injunctive Relief
injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy and is never
granted as a matter of right. See Winter v. Nat. Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). “A
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that [s]he is likely to succeed on the merits, that [s]he is
likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in
h[er] favor, and that an injunction is in the public
interest.” N.Y. Prog. and Prot. PAC v. Walsh,
733 F.3d 483, 486 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Winter,
555 U.S. at 20); see also Jolly v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d
468, 473 (2d Cir. 1996) (“In most cases, a party
seeking to obtain a preliminary injunction must establish
that it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an
injunction and demonstrate either (1) ‘a likelihood of
success on the merits' or (2) ‘sufficiently serious
questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for
litigation and a balance of the hardships tipping
decidedly' in the movant's favor.” (quoting
Waldman Publ'g Corp. v. Landoll, Inc., 43 F.3d
775, 779-80 (2d Cir. 1994))).
Rule 11 Sanctions
Rule 11, if a party presents arguments which “harass,
cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of
litigation, ” or whose “claims, defenses, and
other legal contentions are [un]warranted by existing law or
[are supported by frivolous argument[s], for extending,
modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new
law . . . the [C]ourt may impose an appropriate sanction on
any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is
responsible for the violation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b)-(c).
requires that the party moving for sanction give the
Defendant notice of the motion for sanctions before filing a
motion with the Court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c) (A motion for
sanctions “must be served [on the defendant] under Rule
5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if
the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial
is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after
service or within another time the court sets.”).
At a minimum, the notice requirement mandates that the
subject of a [Rule 11] sanctions motion be informed of: . . .
. the specific conduct or omission for which the sanctions
are being considered so that the subject of the sanctions
motion can prepare a defense. Indeed, only conduct explicitly
referred to in the instrument providing notice is
Storey v. Cello Holdings, L.L.C., 347 F.3d 370, 389
(2d Cir. 2003). “These procedural protections are
intended to reduce the number of motions for sanctions and to
provide opportunities for parties to avoid sanctions
altogether.” Perpetual Sec., Inc. v. Tang, 290
F.3d 132, 141-42 (2d Cir. 2002) (citing Hadges v. Yonkers
Racing Corp., 48 F.3d 1320, 1327 (2d Cir. 1995)).
Rule 4 Service of Process
Rule 4, a summons and complaint must be served on the
defendant(s) directing the defendant(s) to appear and defend
in the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(a)-(c). “An individual,
corporation, or association that is subject to service under
Rule 4(e), (f), or (h) has a duty to avoid unnecessary
expenses of serving the summons. The plaintiff may notify
such a defendant that an action has been commenced and
request that the defendant waive service of a summons.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(d)(1). If a defendant “fails, without
good cause, to sign and return a waiver” of service