United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED ANSWER AND AFFIRMATIVE
L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Shakena Adams's pro se discrimination and
retaliation action against her former employer, Defendant
Southwest Airlines Co., has been referred to the undersigned
United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under
28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference
from Senior United States District Judge A. Joe Fish.
deadline set by the June 6, 2019 Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 16(b) scheduling order to amend pleadings was June
21, 2019. See Dkt. No. 23, ¶ 3. Well past that
deadline, Southwest now moves for leave to file its First
Amended Answer and Affirmative Defenses. See Dkt.
No. 31. As ordered by the Court, see Dkt. No. 32,
Adams filed a response opposing the motion, see Dkt.
No. 33, and Southwest filed a reply in support, see
Dkt. No. 34. The Court GRANTS the motion for leave for these
the deadline to seek leave to amend the pleadings has
expired, the Court must first determine whether to modify the
scheduling order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
16(b)(4)'s good cause standard. See S&W Enters.,
L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., N.A., 315 F.3d 533,
536 (5th Cir. 2003).
this standard, a party must show that, despite his diligence,
he could not reasonably have met the deadline in the
scheduling order. See Id. at 535; Squyres v.
Heico Cos., L.L.C., 782 F.3d 224, 237 (5th Cir. 2015)
(“To show good cause, the party seeking to modify the
scheduling order has the burden of showing that the deadlines
cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party
needing the extension.” (internal quotation marks
omitted)); see also Sosa v. Airprint Sys., Inc., 133
F.3d 1417, 1418 (11th Cir. 1998) (“This good cause
standard precludes modification unless the schedule cannot be
met despite the diligence of the party seeking the
extension.” (citations and internal quotation marks
Court considers four factors in determining whether to modify
a scheduling order for good cause under Rule 16(b)(4):
“(1) the explanation for the failure to timely move for
leave to amend; (2) the importance of the amendment; (3)
potential prejudice in allowing the amendment; and (4) the
availability of a continuance to cure such prejudice.”
S&W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536 (quoting
Reliance Ins. Co. v. La. Land & Exploration Co.,
110 F.3d 253, 257 (5th Cir. 1997)); accord Squyres,
782 F.3d at 237.
“[t]he court considers the four factors holistically
and ‘does not mechanically count the number of factors
that favor each side, '” Harrison v. Wells
Fargo Bank, No. 3:13-cv-4682-D, 2016 WL 3612124, at *2
(N.D. Tex. July 6, 2016) (quoting EEOC v. Serv. Temps,
Inc., No. 3:08-cv-1552-D, 2009 WL 3294863, at *3 (N.D.
Tex. Oct. 13, 2009)), “[t]he absence of prejudice to
the nonmovant and inadvertence of the party seeking the
modification are insufficient to demonstrate ‘good
cause, '” Barnes v. Sanchez, No.
3:07-cv-1184-M, 2010 WL 5027040, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 2,
2010) (footnote omitted).
where a party must establish Rule 16(b)(4) good cause to seek
leave to amend a pleading, his “lack of diligence in
timely amending his pleadings is paramount.”
Id. at *2 (citing Palomino v. Miller, No.
3:06-cv-932-M, 2007 WL 1650417, at *2 (N.D. Tex. June 7,
2007) (“Plaintiff's lack of diligence in timely
amending his complaint undercuts the importance of the
amendment.” (citing, in turn, Baylor Univ. Med.
Ctr. v. Epoch Group, L.C., No. 3:03-cv-2392-G, 2005 WL
2124126, at *8 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 1, 2005) (weighing the first
factor against a party who claimed its motion for leave to
amend “was untimely because [it] had no reason to
believe its third-party complaint needed amendment until [a
third-party defendant] filed its motion to dismiss after the
scheduling order deadline expired”)))).
a movant satisfies Rule 16(b)(4)'s requirements will the
Court determine whether to grant leave to amend under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2)'s more liberal standard,
which provides that “[t]he court should freely give
leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2);
see S&W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536; see also
Petty v. Great West Cas. Co., 783 Fed.Appx. 414, 414-15
(5th Cir. 2019) (per curiam); cf. Lefall v. Dallas Indep.
Sch. Dist., 28 F.3d 521, 524 (5th Cir. 1994)
(“recogniz[ing]” that, in addition to futility,
untimeliness is a “valid reason” that is
substantial enough to deny leave to amend (citation
failed to include as an affirmative defense in its answer
either limitations or failure to exhaust administrative
remedies. See Dkt. No. 14 at 4. It now seeks leave
to add both. See generally Dkt. No. 31.
begin, however, because Adams filed this case pro se
and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court examined her
claims as amended by her verified responses to a screening
questionnaire prior to ordering service. See generally
Adams v. Southwest Airlines, No. 3:18-cv-3394-G-BN, 2019
WL 1386183 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 5, 2019), rec. accepted,
2019 WL 1380157 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 27, 2019). After doing so,
the Court dismissed with prejudice all claims but
“Adams's claims, under Title VII and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981, that her former employer retaliated against her
after she complained of racial discrimination.”
Adams, 2019 WL 1380157, at *1.
Court's initial examination of Adams's claims quotes
extensively from her ...