United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
CATHERINE WILLIAMS, et al. Plaintiffs,
SAKE HIBACHI SUSHI & BAR, INC., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. FITZWATER SENIOR JUDGE.
conditionally-certified collective action seeking unpaid
overtime pay pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219,
plaintiff Catherine Williams (“Williams”),
individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated
under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (collectively, “class
members”), moves for leave to add a defendant and to
file a first amended complaint. Defendants have not responded
to the motion. For the reasons that follow, the court grants
March 2018 Williams, on behalf of herself and putative class
members, initiated this lawsuit by filing a complaint against
defendants Sake Hibachi Sushi & Bar, Inc. (“Sake
Hibachi”) and Wen Qin Lu pursuant to § 216(b) of
the FLSA. Williams alleges in the complaint, inter
alia, that defendants failed to pay her and the class
members the federally-mandated minimum wage, in violation of
the FLSA. Defendants answered in April 2018, and, shortly
thereafter, Williams moved to conditionally certify this suit
as a collective action. In May 2018 the court granted
Williams' motion for conditional certification, ordered
that notice be sent to prospective class members, and
provided an opt-in period of 60 days.
2018 Williams moved for a protective order and corrective
notice, which the court granted in part and denied in part.
See Williams v. Sake Hibachi Sushi & Bar, Inc.,
2018 WL 4539114, at *1, 7 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 21, 2018)
(Fitzwater, J.). Under the court's ruling, it extended
the opt-in period for potential class members an additional
60 days. Id. at *6. Then, in February 2019, Williams
moved for-and the court granted-modification of the phase two
scheduling order. As part of the modification, the court
extended the deadline for joinder of parties and amendment of
pleadings to April 1, 2019.
March 25, 2019 Williams filed the instant motion for leave to
amend the complaint, in which she seeks to add Amy Chen
(“Chen”) as a party-defendant under 29 U.S.C.
§ 203(d). According to the certificate of conference,
defendants oppose the motion, but they have not filed an
Civ. P. 15(a)(2) provides that “[t]he court should
freely give leave when justice so requires.” “It
is settled that the grant of leave to amend the pleadings
pursuant to Rule 15(a) is within the discretion of the trial
court.” Garcia v. Zale Corp., 2006 WL 298156,
at *1 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 1, 2006) (Fitzwater, J.) (quoting
Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401
U.S. 321, 330 (1971)). When, as here, “a party files a
motion for leave to amend by the court-ordered deadline,
there is a ‘presumption of timeliness.'”
Pyramid Transp., Inc. v. Greatwide Dall. Mavis, LLC,
2012 WL 5875603, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 21, 2012) (Fitzwater,
C.J.) (quoting Poly-Am., Inc. v. Serrot Int'l
Inc., 2002 WL 206454, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 7, 2002)
(Fitzwater, J.)). “Granting leave to amend . . .
‘is by no means automatic.'” Hoffman v. L
& M Arts, 2012 WL 4321739, at *4 (N.D. Tex. Sept.
21, 2012) (Fitzwater, C.J.) (quoting Wimm v. Jack Eckerd
Corp., 3 F.3d 137, 139 (5th Cir. 1993) (internal
quotation marks omitted)). In deciding whether to grant leave
to amend, “[t]he court may consider factors such as
undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party,
and futility of amendment.” Id.
court concludes that the relevant factors do not support
denying leave to amend. Williams' motion is timely filed
under the amended scheduling order, she has not previously
sought to amend, and her motion does not reflect any undue
delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive. Indeed, Williams
explains that only after filing the complaint and engaging in
discovery did she learn that Chen is a part-owner of Sake
Hibachi and that Chen was actively involved in managing the
restaurant and employees. Williams further explains that
these circumstances support Chen's potential liability as
an employer pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 203(d).
did not respond to the motion and therefore have failed to
show undue delay or bad faith on Williams' part. Nor have
they shown that they will be unfairly prejudiced by the
no factors suggest that leave to amend should be denied in
this case, and the court grants Williams' motion.
foregoing reasons, the court grants Williams' motion for
leave to file a first amended complaint. The clerk of court