United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Berthe Benyam Abraha, Esayas Akalu, Samuel Habtewoled, and
Gedlu Melke have moved for leave to amend their 
Complaint. Defendants Colonial Parking, Inc.
(“Colonial”) and FCE Benefits Administrators,
Inc. (“FCE”) oppose, citing delay, prejudice, and
futility. Upon consideration of the briefing,  the relevant
legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court shall
GRANT Plaintiffs'  Motion to Amend
to Their Complaint. Defendants shall have an opportunity to
pursue further discovery based on Plaintiffs' Amended
bring this putative class action against their former
employer, Colonial, and its benefits plan administrator, FCE,
for Defendants' alleged violations of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
In separate counts against Colonial and FCE, Plaintiffs'
two-count Complaint alleges that the Defendants breached
various fiduciary, co-fiduciary, and other obligations under
ERISA. When both Defendants moved to dismiss these
allegations in the Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court found that Plaintiffs had
stated a claim in nearly all respects. See Mem. Op.,
Abraha v. Colonial Parking, Inc., 243 F.Supp.3d 179
(D.D.C. 2017) (“Abraha I”), ECF No. 28
(finding that Plaintiffs failed only as to Section 1133 claim
for insufficient claims procedure, which Court treated as
hotly contested period of discovery, the Court denied without
prejudice Plaintiffs' motion for class certification,
finding that inadequacies in the parties' briefing
inhibited the Court's assessment of the merits.
See Mem. Op., Abraha v. Colonial Parking,
Inc., 311 F.Supp.3d 37 (D.D.C. 2018) (“Abraha
II”), ECF No. 62. Those deficiencies warranted an
opportunity for Plaintiffs to amend their Complaint and seek
the Court's leave to file it, if Defendants would not
consent. Abraha II, 311 F.Supp.3d at 41-42.
Acknowledging that it was “not the Court's standard
practice to do so, ” the Court articulated the
following four elements that the Court “expect[ed] to
see in any viable amended class action complaint”:
• “An amended complaint should expressly identify
each of Plaintiffs' allegations against Defendants in
• “Any allegation of fraudulent concealment
sufficient to toll the statute of limitations must be pled
with particularity under the Federal Rules and must comport
with further standards in this Circuit. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 9(b); Larson v. Northrop Corp., 21 F.3d
1164, 1172-74 (D.C. Cir. 1994).
• “An amended complaint should sufficiently
describe each named Plaintiff's employment dates and
circumstances so as to make clear his connection, if any, to
Defendants during each portion of the proposed class period.
• “The amended complaint should set forth a class
definition that will be consistent with any subsequently
renewed motion for class certification.”
Id. The Court also directed Defendants to focus
their response on any prejudice that amendment would create,
but to postpone any statute of limitations arguments until a
more suitable motion under a less generous standard. See
Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) for amending
parties proceeded to brief Plaintiffs' motion to amend,
punctuated only by an unsuccessful period of mediation.
Plaintiffs' reply brief attached expert reports that
Defendants had marked as confidential or containing
confidential information pursuant to the parties' 
Stipulated Confidentiality Agreement and Protective Order
(“Protective Order”). That public filing drew
Defendants' immediate objections, which resulted in the
Court's decision to seal the attachments containing
Colonial's expert reports and to defer a decision as to
the portion of Colonial's request seeking sanctions for
Plaintiffs' breach of the Protective Order. See
Colonial's Emergency Mot. to Seal and for Sanctions, ECF
No. 75; Min. Order of Sept. 27, 2018.
having concluded, the Plaintiffs' motion to amend is now
ripe for decision. The Court shall address Colonial's
ripe motion for sanctions in a separate ruling.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), captioned
“Amendments Before Trial, ” a party is permitted
to amend its complaint or other pleading “once as a
matter of course within” certain alternative time
periods. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a
party may amend its pleading only with the opposing
party's written consent or the court's leave.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule 15 makes clear that when the
court's leave is sought, that leave should be
“freely give[n] . . . when justice so requires.”
Id.; see Willoughby v. Potomac Elec. Power
Co., 100 F.3d 999, 1003 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (finding that
leave to amend a complaint is within the court's
discretion and “should be freely given unless there is
a good ...