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Prateek Dave v. District of Columbia

September 12, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document No.: 22



This matter comes before the court on the plaintiff's renewed motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The plaintiff, a former cadet at the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department Institute of Police Science ("IPS"), alleges that the District of Columbia discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-3(a) et seq. The plaintiff now seeks to amend his complaint to include additional claims of discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, as well as claims under the Fifth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because the plaintiff's additional claims arise out of the same core of operative facts as the claims in his original complaint, and because the proposed amendments are neither unduly prejudicial to the defendant nor futile, the court grants the plaintiff's motion.


The plaintiff, an Indian-American male, was a cadet at IPS from September 2004 until September 2006. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 5. The plaintiff alleges that during a training exercise in November 2004, a trainer of Hispanic descent pushed him down a hill, causing injury to his shoulder. Id. ¶ 6. Believing that the trainer's conduct was motivated by discriminatory animus, the plaintiff complained about the incident to the defendant. Id.

The plaintiff alleges that after he returned to work, the defendant retaliated against him for reporting the incident by, inter alia, limiting his training opportunities, extending his probationary period and relegating him to academic work. Id. ¶ 7. In September 2006, the defendant issued the plaintiff a letter of termination. Id. ¶ 9.

In May 2008, the plaintiff commenced this action, claiming that the defendant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 791 et seq., and Title VII. See generally Pl.'s Compl. The defendant subsequently filed both a motion to dismiss and a supplemental motion to dismiss, see generally Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss; Def.'s Suppl. Mot. to Dismiss, which led this court to dismiss the plaintiff's ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims, see generally Mem. Op. (Feb. 3, 2010); Mem. Op. (Mar. 27, 2009).

On February 10, 2011, during the initial status hearing, the court ordered the parties to file any motions for leave to amend their respective pleadings by February 26, 2011. Minute Entry (Feb. 10, 2011). Discovery is ongoing in this matter, and is scheduled to end on September 16, 2011.*fn2

On February 28, 2011, the plaintiff moved for leave to file an amended complaint in order to add three claims. See generally Pl.'s Mot. to Amend (Feb. 28, 2011). The defendant opposed this motion on the grounds that the plaintiff violated LCvR 7(m), which requires that the plaintiff meet and confer with opposing counsel prior to filing any nondispositive motions. See Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. The plaintiff did not respond to the defendant's opposition. The court subsequently issued a Minute Order striking the plaintiff's motion to amend. See Minute Order (May 23, 2011).

On June 9, 2011, the plaintiff renewed his motion for leave to file an amended complaint, again seeking to add the same three claims.*fn3 See Pl.'s Renewed Mot. to Amend ("Pl.'s Renewed Mot."). More specifically, the plaintiff proposes to add allegations that the defendant violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981 when it discriminated against him on the basis of race and nationality, and when it retaliated against him for prior protected activity. Pl.'s Renewed Mot., Ex. 1 ("Proposed Am. Compl.") ¶ 19. Further, the plaintiff seeks to amend his complaint in order to assert that the defendant violated his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment by terminating him "without notice or opportunity to be heard." Id. ¶ 25. The plaintiff also adds a claim alleging municipal liability for the alleged Fifth Amendment violation, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. With the plaintiff's motion now ripe for review, the court turns to the parties' arguments and to the applicable legal standards.


A. Legal Standard for a Rule 15 Motion to Amend

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), a party may amend its complaint once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served. FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a). Once a responsive pleading is filed, a party may amend its complaint only by leave of the court or by written consent of the adverse party. Id.; Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). The grant or denial of leave is committed to the discretion of the district court. Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C. Cir. 1996). The court ...

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