United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
ROAD SPRINKLER FITTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 669, U.A., AFL-CIO
CCR FIRE PROTECTION, LLC, et al.
RULING AND ORDER
WILDER-DOOMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File First
Amended Complaint (the “Motion”). Defendants Quick
Response Fire Protection, LLC (“Quick Response”)
and Earl Barnett (“Barnett”) filed an opposition
to the Motion on November 3, 2016. Defendant Roseal Rodriguez,
Jr. (“J.R.”) and Theresa Rodriguez (collectively
the “Rodriguez Defendants”) also filed an
opposition to the Motion on November 4, 2016. Plaintiff filed a
reply memorandum. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is
GRANTED IN PART.
original Complaint, Plaintiff, a national labor organization,
alleges that Defendant CCR Fire Protection, LLC
(“CCR”) entered into an oral settlement agreement
with Plaintiff before the administrative law judge for the
National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to
resolve Plaintiff's unfair labor practice charge against
CCR that was pending before the NLRB. Plaintiff further alleges
that, despite the oral agreement, CCR failed to sign a
written agreement memorializing the terms of the settlement
and never made the payments required under the settlement
agreement. In addition to naming CCR as a defendant,
the original Complaint also names Quick Response, the
Rodriguez Defendants, Nilesh Patel, Rajendra Bhakta, and
Barnett.Quick Response is alleged to be an alter
ego of, and successor to, CCR, such that Quick Response is
also obligated under the settlement agreement. The original
Complaint contains limited factual allegations against the
individual defendants. There, Plaintiff alleges that J.R.
Rodriguez was the owner and agent of CCR; that Theresa
Rodriguez was the office manager and agent of CCR; and that
Barnett was the salesperson and designer of CCR, as well as
an owner of Quick Response.The original Complaint alleges
that Patel and Bhakta were also owners of CCR. All
individual defendant are alleged to be
“employers” in the original Complaint within the
meaning of Section 2(2) of the Labor Management Relations
Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 152(2).
September 2, 2016, the Rodriguez Defendants filed a Motion to
Dismiss the original Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of
action. Similarly, Quick Response and Barnett
also filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Both motions are
currently pending. The thrust of these motions is that the
allegations contained in the original Complaint are
insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted against these defendants.
filed the instant Motion to “enhance and amplify its
claims, including as to individual liability of Roseal
Rodriguez, Theresa Rodriguez, Nilesh Patel, Rajandra Bhakta,
and Earl Barnett …” and to “include
additional specific allegations regarding Plaintiff's
standing to sue Defendant Bhakta in this
Court.” The primary focus of the oppositions to
the Motion is that the amendment would be
Law and Analysis
Rule 15(a)(2), “a party may amend its pleading only
with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave” and a “court should freely
give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). The court liberally construes Rule 15(a) in favor
of amendment. See Dussouy v. Gulf Coast Inv. Corp.,
660 F.2d 594, 597 (5th Cir. 1981) (“[T]he liberal
position of the federal rules on granting amendments . . .
evinces a bias in favor of granting leave to amend”).
Although leave to amend should not be automatically granted,
“[a] district court must possess a substantial reason
to deny a request for leave to amend.” Jones v.
Robinson Prop. Grp., L.P., 427 F.3d 987, 994 (5th Cir.
2005) (quotations omitted). In determining whether to grant
leave, a court may consider several factors, including among
other things, the movant's “bad faith or dilatory
motive” and the “futility” of the
amendment. Rhodes v. Amarillo Hosp. Dist., 654 F.2d
1148, 1153 (5th Cir. 1981) (quoting Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962)).
primary focus of the oppositions to the Motion is that the
amendments would be futile, the Court focuses on that
argument. An amendment is futile if it would fail to survive
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Briggs v. Miss., 331 F.3d
499, 508 (5th Cir. 2003). A review of the proposed amended
complaint is, therefore conducted under “the same
standard of legal sufficiency as applies under Rule
12(b)(6).” Marucci Sports, L.L.C. v. National
Collegiate Athletic Association, 751 F.3d 368, 378 (5th
Cir. 2014) citing Stripling v. Jordan Prod. Co.,
LLC, 234 F.3d 863, 873 (5th Cir. 2000).
accept “all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” In re
Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th
Cir.2007). In order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss, the plaintiff must plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). “Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Id. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (citation
Allegations as to the Rodriguez Defendants
factual allegations in the original Complaint against the
Rodriguez Defendants are that: 1) they are
“employers” within the meaning of Section 2(2) of
the Labor Management Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C.
§ 152(2); 2) J.R. Rodriguez was the owner and agent of
CCR; 3) Theresa Rodriguez was the office manager and agent of
CCR; and 4) that J.R. Rodriguez was a party to the settlement
agreement at issue.
contrast, the proposed Amended Complaint expands the
allegations against the Rodriguez Defendants to include the
following non-exhaustive recitation of additional facts:
[Plaintiff] and Defendant CCR through Defendants J.R.
Rodriguez and Theresa Rodriguez engaged in settlement
negotiations at the outset of the NLRB trial and entered into
a settlement of the NLRB allegations . . . .
Defendant CCR affirmed on the record through Defendant
Theresa Rodriguez that it agreed to the terms of the
settlement agreement . . . .
Defendant CCR through Defendants J.R. and Theresa Rodriguez
thereafter refused to sign the written agreement and reneged
on their agreement to make payments . . . .
[Plaintiff] … was informed by Defendant Theresa
Rodriguez on two separate occasions that CCR would not sign
because they were ‘shutting their doors.' Defendant
Theresa Rodriguez gave no indication at the settlement
conference on February 17, 2016, that CCR had imminent plans
to terminate the business within the month and reopen as
Defendants J.R. Rodriguez, Theresa Rodriguez
…purported to enter into the NLRB settlement with the
fraudulent intent to evade their obligations under the
settlement and the collective bargaining agreement with
[Plaintiff] in order to induce [Plaintiff] to withdraw the
pending NLRB unfair labor practice charges.
as to Quick Response and Barnett
Allegations against Quick Response
Response is alleged to be an “employer” within
the meaning of Section 2(2) of the LMRA. Quick
Response is not alleged to be a signatory to the collective
bargaining agreement between Plaintiff and CCR, nor is Quick
Response alleged to a be a signatory to the settlement
agreement, but Plaintiff seeks to impose liability upon Quick
Response as an alter ego and successor of CCR. Quick
Response is alleged to be located in the same offices
occupied by CCR and has the same business purpose as
CCR-the installation, maintenance, and repair of fire
sprinkler systems in Louisiana, Arkansas and
Mississippi. Quick Response is also alleged to have
the same employees, substantially identical management, and
the same customers and equipment as CCR. Quick
Response is also alleged to be performing “collective
bargaining agreement-covered work on jobs covered by the
collective bargaining agreement” between CCR and
Allegations against Barnett
allegations against Barnett in the original Complaint are
that he is an “employer” within the meaning of
Section 2(2) of the LMRA,  that he was at all material
times a salesperson and designer for Defendant
CCR; and that he became an owner of Quick
Response in January 2016. The original Complaint also
claims Plaintiff is entitled to ...