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Mendez v. Dental

April 25, 2008

NEREIDA MENDEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PERLA DENTAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Nereida Mendez's ("Mendez") motion for leave to amend the second amended complaint subsequent to the trial. For the reasons stated below, we deny the motion.

BACKGROUND

Mendez alleged in her complaint that she worked for Defendant Perla Dental ("Perla"). According to Mendez, during her employment she was subjected to verbal and physical sexual advances and other sexual harassment. Mendez contended that she complained to the management of Perla, but management did not address her complaints. Mendez also asserted that Defendant Doctor Assam Ahmed ("Ahmed") and Defendant Doctor Waleed Dajani directly participated in the harassment.

Mendez brought the instant action and included in her second amended complaint a claim alleging gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.,and a Title VII hostile work environment claim (Count I), a Title VII retaliation claim (Count II), assault and battery claims (Count III), intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") claims (Count IV), a retaliatory discharge claim (Count V), a Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., claim (Count VI), and an Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS 105/1 et seq. claim (Count VII).

A jury trial began in this case on April 23, 2007, and on April 26, 2007, the jury delivered a verdict in favor of Mendez on all claims. The jury awarded Mendez compensatory damages (excluding back pay and overtime) in the amount of $20,431.25, overtime damages in the amount of $6,750, and lost wages (for the Illinois Retaliatory Discharge claim only) in the amount of $4,000, for a total non-punitive damages award of $31,181.25. The jury also awarded punitive damages of $500,000 for the Title VII harassment claim and $250,000 for the Title VII retaliation and Illinois retaliation claims. The parties subsequently filed post-trial motions and briefs concerning the statutory damages cap. On March 6, 2008, this case was reassigned to the undersigned judge. On March 26, 2008, we granted Mendez's motion for liquidated damages under the FLSA in the amount of $6,750. We also concluded that the compensatory and punitive damages granted for Title VII sexual harassment are capped at $100,000. In addition, we denied Defendants' motion to reduce the punitive damages. Finally, we denied Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law on Mendez's intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. Mendez requests in the instant motion leave to amend the second amended complaint to conform to the evidence presented at trial.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(b) ("Rule 15(b)"), "[w]hen an issue not raised by the pleadings is tried by the parties' express or implied consent, it must be treated in all respects as if raised in the pleadings." Fed. R. Fed. P. 15(b). In addition, "[a] party may move--at any time, even after judgment--to amend the pleadings to conform them to the evidence and to raise an unpleaded issue." Id. In determining whether there was consent by the parties a court should consider "'whether the opposing party had a fair opportunity to defend and whether he could have presented additional evidence had he known sooner the substance of the amendment.'" Farfaras v. Citizens Bank and Trust of Chicago, 433 F.3d 558, 568 (7th Cir. 2006)(quoting in re Prescott, 805 F.2d 719, 725 (7th Cir. 1986))(stating in addition that "[o]ne sign of implied consent is that issues not raised by the pleadings are presented and argued without proper objection by opposing counsel").

DISCUSSION

Mendez requests leave to amend the second amended complaint subsequent to the trial to include Husam Aldairi ("Aldairi") as a Defendant in this case and to pierce the corporate veil in this case. Mendez contends that "after the verdict was rendered, . . . Defendants have and will continue to try and evade judgment and hide assets and financial information to prevent collection in this matter." (Mot. Am. 2-3). Mendez asks this court to pierce the corporate veil of Perla and hold Aldairi personally liable.

I. Leave to be Freely Given

Mendez argues that "the standard for leave to amend is a liberal one," and that "'leave shall be freely given when justice so requires.'" (Mot. Am. 6)(quoting in part Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)). However, the quoted language relied upon by Mendez is from Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), which specifically relates to "[a]mendments [b]efore [t]rial." Id. In addition, Mendez cites in support Stern v. U.S. Gypsum, Inc., 547 F.2d 1329 (7th Cir. 1977) and Liu v. T & H Machine, Inc., 191 F.3d 790 (7th Cir. 1999), (Mot. Am. 6-7), which analyze a motion to amend under Rule 15(a) and did not involve motions for leave to amend a complaint after the completion of a trial under Rule 15(b). 547 F.2d at 1331-32, 34; 191 F.3d at 793-94; (Mot. Am. 6-7). Mendez also cites Barkoo v. Melby, 901 F.2d 613 (7th Cir. 1990) in which the Seventh Circuit held that a district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing a complaint to be amended at the close of the plaintiff's evidence. Id. at 617. However, unlike the instant action, the plaintiff in Barkoo brought up the new claims during the trial. Id. The Seventh Circuit found that the defendant consented to trial of the new claim by not formally objecting at that juncture. Id. In the instant action, Mendez merely points to isolated evidence that touches on the factors for a piercing of the corporate veil theory. Mendez also attempts to speculate as to the purpose behind certain cross-examination by Defendants at trial. Mendez has not pointed ...


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