New Jersey Court Discusses Amending Pleadings in Employment Discrimination Cases

If a plaintiff wishes to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages for employment discrimination, it is important for the plaintiff to include as much factual information regarding the alleged discrimination in the initial pleading as feasible. In some cases, however, information regarding parties who may be liable for the discrimination and potential causes of action will not become evident until a later date. In such cases, a plaintiff may be able to amend his or her Complaint to add additional information or counts.

In a recent case, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey discussed when leave to amend a Complaint should be granted in an employment discrimination case. If you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace, you should meet with a trusted New Jersey employment discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be owed compensation.

Procedural Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked as a business development manager for the defendant for over ten years. He was terminated when he was 54 years old, and replaced with a person over twenty years younger. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in state court, alleging one claim of age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The defendant moved the case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff filed an amended Complaint, to which the defendant filed an Answer. Several different scheduling orders were entered, and the case was delayed for various reasons. The deadline for amending the Complaint was never extended, however, and very little discovery was conducted. Subsequently, the plaintiff moved for leave to amend the Complaint to add both new parties and new causes of action.

The Standard for Granting Leave to Amend

The court found that Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applied. Under Rule 15, a court will typically grant a plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend a Complaint after a responsive pleading has been filed, unless there is undue prejudice or delay, bad faith, a dilatory motive, futility, or a failure to repair deficiencies in a previous amendment. Here, the court found that although there was a delay in requesting leave to amend there was not prejudice sufficient to demand a denial of leave.

Specifically, the court noted that the proposed new defendant had been involved in the case from the beginning, and admitted it was the entity that employed the plaintiff. Moreover, only one deposition had been conducted in the case, and therefore, the new claims would not cause the existing defendant to expend significant additional resources to conduct discovery. Further, the court found that the amendment was not futile since the proposed amendment set forth facts that, if proven to be true, would allow the plaintiff to recover. Based on the foregoing, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend.

Consult a Seasoned New Jersey Attorney Specializing in Employment Discrimination

You are protected from discrimination by state and federal law. If you suffered from discrimination in the workplace, it is in your best interest to confer with a skillful employment discrimination attorney regarding your case and your options for seeking damages. The New Jersey employment discrimination attorneys of the Jaffe Glenn Law Group will work diligently to help you seek a favorable outcome. We can be contacted at 201-687-9977 or through the online form to set up a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Finds Sufficient Evidence of Pretext in New Jersey Discrimination Case, January 24, 2019, New Jersey and New York Employment Lawyer Blog

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