United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
BERMAN JACKSON JUDGE
matter is before the Court on plaintiffs motion under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Plaintiff seeks relief from
the Court's July 7, 2017 judgment dismissing the
complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and she
also seeks leave under Rule 15(a) to file an amended
complaint to add Jeh Charles Johnson as a defendant.
See Pl's Mot. to Reinstate & Renewed Mot. to
Amend the Pleading [Dkt. # 36] ("Pl.'s Mot.").
Because plaintiff has not identified any proper basis for the
Court to vacate its judgment and reopen the case, the Court
will deny plaintiffs motion.
filed this employment discrimination case against the
Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") on August
26, 2015. Compl. [Dkt. # 1]. After the parties engaged in a
period of discovery, defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment. Def's Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 24]
("Def's Mot."). Plaintiff filed an opposition
to the motion, Pl.'s Opp. to Def's Mot. [Dkt. # 30]
("Pl.'s Opp."), and defendant replied.
Def's Reply in Supp. of Def's Mot. [Dkt. # 31]
("Def's Reply"). But before it turned to the
merits of defendant's motion, the Court had to first
determine if it had subject matter jurisdiction over the
plaintiff had sued the agency, and not the agency head as
required by statute, see 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-16(c), the Court ordered plaintiff to show cause why
the Court should not dismiss her case for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction for failure to name the proper party.
Min. Order (June 28, 2017) ("Plaintiff is ordered to
show cause by July 7, 2017, why this matter should not be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction for failure
to name the proper party. See 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-16(c)."). In response to the Court's order,
plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend her complaint, in
which she proposed to add the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, and not the agency head, as a defendant.
See Mot. to File Late Mot. to Amend Pleading to Join
Agency as Def [Dkt. # 32] at 1, 7. The Court denied
plaintiffs motion for leave to amend, holding that plaintiff
s proposed amendment would be futile because it "would
not solve the subject matter jurisdiction defect."
Outterbridge v. Dep't of Homeland Sec, No.
15-1391, 2017 WL 3503376, at *2 (D.D.C. July 7,
2017). And because plaintiff had not sued the
proper party, the Court dismissed the case. Id.
August 4, 2017, plaintiff filed this motion to reopen the
case and to amend her complaint to add defendant Jeh Charles
Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland
Security. Pl.'s Mot. Defendant opposed the
motion on August 18, 2017, arguing that "Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(b) does not support plaintiffs request" to reopen her
case, and that granting her motion would be futile.
Def.'s Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 37]
("Def's Opp.") at 2-3.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides that "the
Court should freely give leave [to amend a pleading] when
justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). To amend a
complaint after judgment has been entered, though, the Court
must first reopen the judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) or
60(b). Bldg. Indus. Ass'n of Superior Cal. v.
Norton, 247 F.3d 1241, 1245 (D.C. Cir. 2001). In other
words, the Court cannot permit an amendment at this stage
unless the plaintiff first satisfies the more stringent
standard for setting aside the judgment. See Ciralsky v.
CIA, 355 F.3d 661, 673 (D.C. Cir. 2004) ("Since the
court declined to set aside the judgment under Rule 59(e), it
properly concluded that [plaintiffs] motion to amend under
Rule 15(a) was moot"). Only then would Rule I5(a)'s
liberal standard for granting leave to amend govern.
Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C.
Cir. 1996) ("Rule I5(a)'s liberal standard for
granting leave to amend governs once the court has vacated
moving under Rule 60(b) will be successful only if she
demonstrates that the judgment should be set aside for one of
the six reasons specified in the rule:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable
diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for
a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic),
misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged;
it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated; or applying it ...