United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford United States Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER: 1) SUSTAINING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS (ECF NO. 26) 2) REVERSING THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE'S ORDER (ECF NO. 25); AND 3) GRANTING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED
COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 11)
D. Borman United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Objections to the
Magistrate Judge's February 24, 2017 Order Denying
Plaintiffs Motion For Leave to File Second Amended Complaint.
(ECF No. 26, Objections; ECF No. 25, Order.) The Court has
reviewed the Magistrate Judge's Order and Plaintiffs
Objections. The Court will sustain Plaintiffs Objections,
reverse the Order, and grant Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to
File a Second Amended Complaint.
originally filed this action on April 21, 2016, alleging
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201
et seq., and the Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage
Act (“MWOWA”), M.C.L. 408.411
et seq. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint five days later. (ECF No. 4, Am. Compl.)
April 29, 2016, individual Defendant Denise Walsh
successfully petitioned for a state-court personal protection
order (“PPO”) against Plaintiff,
who is also her son, stating in the petition that she was in
fear for her life. (ECF No. 11, Exs. 3-4.) The PPO was
terminated by a joint stipulation of Plaintiff and Defendant
Walsh on June 13, 2016. (ECF No. 11, Ex. 7.)
August 31, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File a
Second Amended Complaint, which would add a retaliation claim
under 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3) to the action. (ECF No. 11.)
The Magistrate Judge issued an Order denying the Motion on
February 24, 2017. (ECF No. 25, Order.) The Court now
addresses Plaintiffs Objections to that Order. (ECF No. 26,
STANDARD OF REVIEW
party objects to a magistrate judge's determination of a
non-dispositive issue, the district court may modify or set
aside the Magistrate Judge's decision if it was
“clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). “[A] finding
is ‘clearly erroneous' when although there is
evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire
evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.” United States v. U.S.
Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948) (explaining the
clearly erroneous standard under Rule 52(a)); Hagaman v.
Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 958 F.2d 684, 690 (6th
Cir 1992) (quoting U.S. Gypsum Co.).
standard does not allow a reviewing court to reverse a
magistrate judge's finding merely because it would have
decided the matter differently. See Anderson v. City of
Bessemer City., N.C. , 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985)
(interpreting the clearly erroneous standard in Rule 52(a)).
“The ‘clearly erroneous' standard applies
only to the Magistrate Judge's factual findings; his
legal conclusions are reviewed under the plenary
‘contrary to law' standard.” Haworth,
Inc. v. Herman Miller, Inc., 162 F.R.D. 289, 291 (W.D.
Mich. 1995) (citing Gandee v. Glaser, 785 F.Supp.
684, 686 (S.D. Ohio 1992), aff'd 19 F.3d 1432
(6th Cir. 1994)). The reviewing court must therefore employ
“independent judgment with respect to the Magistrate
Judge's conclusions of law.” Id.
Magistrate Judge denied Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File a
Second Amended Complaint on the basis of futility, having
concluded that the retaliation claim in Plaintiffs proposed
Second Amended Complaint failed to state a claim under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court finds this conclusion to be
contrary to law, and for this reason the Court will reverse
the Magistrate Judge's Order and grant Plaintiffs motion
for leave to amend.
Futility is a permissible basis for denial of a motion for
leave to amend.
first argues that leave to amend was improperly denied in
this case because there was no indication that granting it
would result in “undue delay, prejudice to the opposing
party, or repeated failure to cure deficiencies in the
complaint, ” or that there was “at least some
significant showing of prejudice to the opponent, ” as
required under Sixth Circuit precedent to justify a denial of
leave to amend. (Pl.'s Objs. at 6 (citing Phelps v.
McClellan,30 F.3d 658, 662 (6th Cir. 1994) and
Duggins v. Steak'N Shake, Inc.,195 F.3d 828,
834 (6th Cir. 1999).) Sixth Circuit precedent, however,
demonstrates that these requirements are not rigid or
exhaustive, and that courts may also deny leave to amend on
the basis of futility. “Although [Rule 15] encourages
courts to give leave to amend ‘when justice so
requires, ' courts need not give leave to amend when
doing so would be futile.” SFS Check, LLC v. First
Bank of Delaware, 774 F.3d 351, 355 (6th Cir. 2014).
“A proposed amendment is futile where it would not
withstand a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim.” Kreipke v. Wayne State
Univ.,807 F.3d 768, 782 (6th Cir. ...