The opinion of the court was delivered by: HENRY PITMAN, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff moves, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), to amend her
complaint to add claims under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"),*fn1 as amended
29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq., the New York State Human Rights Law
("NYSHRL"), N.Y. Exec. Law §§ 290 et seq., the New York City
Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL"), N.Y. City Admin. Code §§ 8-102 et
seq., and to recover attorney's fees and costs. Plaintiff also
seeks to add as defendants UnumProvident Corporation ("Unum") and the Mount
Sinai Medical Center Long Term Disability Plan (the "Plan") and
to substitute defendant Mount Sinai/NYU Health with its member
organizations, The Mount Sinai Medical Center and The Mount Sinai
Hospital.*fn2 For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
The Proposed Amended Complaint alleges the following facts; I
assume the allegations to be true for purposes of this motion.
Jackson Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. Merrill Lynch & Co.,
32 F.3d 697, 699-700 (2d Cir. 1994); Da Cruz v. Towmasters of N.J.,
Inc., 217 F.R.D. 126, 128 n. 1 (E.D.N.Y. 2003); Binder v. Nat'l
Life of Vt., 02 Civ. 6411 (GEL), 2003 WL 21180417 at *2
(S.D.N.Y. May 20, 2003).
Plaintiff was employed by Mount Sinai and was a participant in
the Plan (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 10). Unum is an insurance
company that "exercised discretionary authority and responsibility in the administration and management of the Plan"
and is also a fiduciary with respect to the Plan (Prop. Amend.
Compl. ¶ 13, 14). In 1997, plaintiff was diagnosed with breast
cancer and underwent a mastectomy (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 20). In
July 1999, plaintiff took a short term leave of absence because
she was experiencing "chronic and disabling symptoms due to
medical complications from breast cancer" (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶
21, 22). Plaintiff returned to work September 20, 1999 but her
"breast cancer impairments worsened" (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 23).
In September 1999 and from June through September 2000,
plaintiff requested that defendants grant her an accommodation
such as working part-time, working from home or taking FMLA leave
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 24-26, 30, 32, 35-39). Specifically,
plaintiff made such a request during a July 2000 meeting with
Caryn Tiger from the defendants' Labor Relations department and
Michael Pastier, plaintiff's supervisor (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶
19, 32-33, 36). At that meeting, plaintiff noted to Pastier that
two younger employees had been granted similar accommodations
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 34). However, she was not granted any
accommodation, and Pastier suggested she apply for disability
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 26, 34).
In September 2000, while waiting for defendants' approval for
FMLA leave, plaintiff's condition further worsened and she was
unable to work (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 37). On September 19, 2000 plaintiff submitted a "FMLA health
certification" and a claim for Short Term Disability ("STD")
benefits (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 38, 39). On September 20, 2000,
plaintiff received a letter stating that her position was being
eliminated and that plaintiff's employment was being terminated
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 41). Accordingly, September 20, 2000 was
plaintiff's last date of "active employment" under the Plan
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 42).
After the September 20, 2000 termination, Tiger told plaintiff
that her termination had been a "mistake" and that she would look
into plaintiff's employment status and eligibility for STD and
Long Term Disability ("LTD") benefits (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 43).
Defendants did not respond to plaintiff's inquiries regarding
these matters (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 45).
On May, 21, 2001, plaintiff submitted an application for LTD
benefits to defendants (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 46). Defendants
refused to process the LTD claim throughout the period from May
2001 through May 2003 (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 47). During this two
year span, defendants were uncooperative and provided conflicting
information to plaintiff and Unum including the following: (1) on
November 13, 2001, defendants sent a fax to plaintiff
representing that defendants still employed plaintiff; (2) in
November 2001 defendants stated they were not processing
plaintiff's LTD claim because defendants had decided that plaintiff had been terminated as of July 24, 2001,
retroactively and, therefore, they no longer had any obligation
to process the LTD claim; (3) on December 24, 2001, defendants
sent a fax to plaintiff stating that plaintiff's retroactive date
of termination was July 24, 2001 (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 49-50,
53). As a result of these inconsistent actions by defendants,
plaintiff submitted her LTD claim directly to Unum on December
18, 2001 (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 52).
In May 2003, defendants finally agreed to process plaintiff's
LTD claims because they "believed [they] had successfully coerced
[p]laintiff into agreeing to a small settlement for her pending
employment claims" (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 56). However,
defendants then provided Unum with an incorrect date July 25,
1999 instead of September 20, 2000 for plaintiff's last date of
active employment (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 57). On August 19, 2003,
plaintiff received Unum's denial of her LTD claim; the denial
incorrectly noted that July 25, 1999 was the date of last active
employment instead of September 20, 2000, and that plaintiff had
submitted her LTD claim on December 18, 2001 instead of May 21,
2001 (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 58, 59). Despite plaintiff's
requests, defendants did not provide the correct last date of
plaintiff's employment to Unum until October 2003, and this issue
was not completely corrected until January 2004 (Prop. Amend.
Compl. ¶¶ 63, 64, 70, 72-73). On November 11, 2003, plaintiff appealed the August 19,
2003 denial of her claim (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 66). On February
13, 2004, Unum notified plaintiff that her LTD claim was again
denied (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 75).
Plaintiff also alleges that defendants wronged her in other
ways. First, plaintiff claims that defendants failed to inform
her about her rights to continued health insurance coverage after
she was terminated (Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 54). Second, plaintiff
claims that on September 24, 2003, plaintiff requested a copy of
the Plan document and Summary Plan Description ("SPD") from Mount
Sinai, the "named Plan Fiduciary and Plan Administrator" (Prop.
Amend. Compl. ¶ 62). Defendants produced the SPD, but, according
to the plaintiff, have not, to date, produced the Plan document
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 62).
Plaintiff filed her EEOC Charge on or about March 19, 2002
(Prop. Amend. Compl. ¶ 15). This EEOC Charge, which included an
attached narrative, was later attached to the original complaint
(see EEOC Charge annexed to Complaint, Docket Item 2). III. Motion to Amend Complaint
The standards applicable to a motion to amend a pleading are
well settled and require only brief review. Leave to amend a
pleading should be freely granted when justice so requires.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 (a); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962);
Dluhos v. Floating & Abandoned Vessel, Known as "New York",
162 F.3d 63, 69 (2d Cir. 1998); Gumer v. Shearson, Hamill & Co.,
516 F.2d 283, 287 (2d Cir. 1974); Aniero Concrete Co. v. New
York City Constr. Auth., 94 Civ. 9111 (CSH), 1998 WL 148324 at
*7 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 1998), aff'd sub nom., Aetna Cas. &
Sur. Co. v. Aniero Concrete Co., 404 F.3d 566 (2d Cir. 2005).
"Nonetheless, the Court may deny leave if the amendment (1) has
been delayed unduly, (2) is sought for dilatory purposes or is
made in bad faith, (3) the opposing party would be prejudiced, or
(4) would be futile." Lee v. Regal Cruises, Ltd.,
916 F. Supp. 300, 303 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd, 116 F.3d 465 (2d Cir. 1997);
see Ellis v. Chao, 336 F.3d 114, 126-27 (2d Cir. 2003);
Montefiore Med. Ctr. v. Am. Prot. Ins. Co., 00 Civ. 3235 (LTS),
2003 WL 21108261 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. May 14, 2003); Am. Home
Assurance Co. v. Jacky Maeder (Hong Kong) Ltd.,
969 F. Supp. 184, 187-88 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). A proposed amended complaint is futile when it fails to state a
claim. See Health-Chem Corp. v. Baker, 915 F.2d 805, 810 (2d
Cir. 1990) ("Although Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a) provides that leave to
amend should be given freely when justice so requires, where, as
here, there is no merit in the proposed amendments, leave to
amend should be denied."); Mina Inv. Holdings Ltd. v.
Lefkowitz, 184 F.R.D. 245, 257 (S.D.N.Y. 1999); Parker v. Sony
Pictures Entm't, Inc., 19 F. Supp.2d 141, 156 (S.D.N.Y. 1998),
aff'd in pertinent part, vacated in part on other
grounds sub nom., Parker v. Columbia Pictures Indus.,
204 F.3d 326 (2d Cir. 2000); Yaba v. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft,
931 F. Supp. 271, 274 (S.D.N.Y 1996); Prudential Ins. Co. of Am.
v. BMC Indus., Inc., 655 F. Supp. 710, 711 (S.D.N.Y. 1987)
("[A]lthough leave to amend should be freely given, it is
inappropriate to grant leave when the amendment would not survive
a motion to dismiss.") (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). "The Proposed Amended Complaint may therefore be
scrutinized as if defendant's objections to the amendments
constituted a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P 12 (b) (6)."
Journal Publ'g Co. v. Am. Home Assurance Co., 771 F. Supp. 632,
635 (S.D.N.Y. 1991).
The Court of Appeals has repeatedly noted that the trial court
has "broad" discretion in ruling on a motion to amend. Local
802, Associated Musicians v. Parker Meridien Hotel, 145 F.3d 85, 89 (2d Cir. 1998); Krumme ...