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Nelson Quintanilla, Alejandro Amaya, Arevalo Maynor Fajardo, Walter Garcia v. Suffolk Paving Corp.

September 17, 2012

NELSON QUINTANILLA, ALEJANDRO AMAYA, AREVALO MAYNOR FAJARDO, WALTER GARCIA, JOSE L. MARTINEZ, PRACELIS MENDEZ, OSMAR W. PAGOADA, JAVIER QUINTANILLA, EDWIN RIVERA, CARLOS ESCALANTE, KEVIN GALEANO, LERLY NOE RODRIGUEZ, JOSE VEGA CASTILLO, JUAN QUINTEROS, MARCOS TULIO PEREZ, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SUFFOLK PAVING CORP., SUFFOLK ASPHALT CORP., LOUIS VECCHIA, CHRISTOPHER VECCHIA, HELENE VECCHIA, JOHN DOES #1-5, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Kathleen Tomlinson, Magistrate Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

Plaintiffs assert claims against their current and/or former employers for the denial of wages and other benefits pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and the New York Labor Law ("NYLL") as well as for breach of contract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment. Certain Plaintiffs also allege retaliation based on the termination of their employment after the filing of this lawsuit.

Before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to amend the Second Amended Complaint. DE 94. Defendants Suffolk Paving Corp. ("Suffolk Paving"), Louis Vecchia, and Helene Vecchia (together, the "Suffolk Paving Defendants") oppose the motion. DE 98. Counsel for the Suffolk Paving Defendants submitted a letter from counsel for Defendants Suffolk Asphalt Corp. ("Suffolk Asphalt") and Christopher Vecchia (together, the "Suffolk Asphalt Defendants") stating that the Suffolk Asphalt Defendants join in the opposition. See DE 98-1. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion to amend is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are laborers, operating engineers and/or mechanics. Second Am. Compl. [DE 43] ("SAC") ¶ 1. Defendants Suffolk Paving and Suffolk Asphalt are paving contractors and are or were Plaintiffs' employers. Id. ¶¶ 11, 13. According to the SAC, the individual Defendants, Louis Vecchia, Christopher Vecchia, and Helene Vecchia, are all owners and/or decision makers for the corporate Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 16-23. The gravamen of Plaintiffs' Complaint is that Defendants failed to pay Plaintiffs their full wages, including overtime wages, and that they falsely reported the hours the Plaintiffs worked. See id. ¶ 47.

Plaintiffs filed the original Complaint in this case on December 7, 2009. DE 1. The Complaint asserted claims under the FLSA and NYLL, as well as claims for common law breach of contract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff Maynor Fajardo also alleged that Defendants unlawfully discharged him in retaliation for complaining about Defendants' alleged wage violations. Id. ¶ 2.

Prior to Defendants' interposing an answer, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on January 19, 2010. DE 9. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs added an unlawful retaliatory discharge claim on behalf of Plaintiff Pracelis Mendez. DE 9 ¶ 2. Defendants answered the Amended Complaint [DE 10] and initial conferences were held before District Judge Feuerstein and Magistrate Judge Wall. DE 12, 13. The deadline for the filing of motions to join new parties or amend the pleadings was set for October 5, 2010 and the deadline for the completion of discovery was set for December 14, 2010. DE 14. Thereafter, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the claims asserted were subject to arbitration [DE 22] and Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend seeking leave to add additional claims and to correct certain factual assertions [DE 26]. Both motions were referred to Judge Wall, the assigned Magistrate Judge at the time. Judge Wall recused himself and the case was re-assigned to the undersigned. This Court issued a Report and Recommendation on the two referred motions on February 10, 2011 [DE 34]. In the Report and Recommendation, which was adopted by Judge Feuerstein, see DE 42, the Court recommended that the motion to dismiss be denied. See DE 34 at 2-8. As to the motion to amend, the Court recommended that Plaintiffs be granted leave to amend in order to: (1) add additional retaliation claims, including a claim based on Defendants' alleged challenges to Plaintiff Edvin Rivera's application for unemployment benefits; (2) add a prevailing wage claim; (3) revise the job titles of four of the Plaintiffs; and (5) make certain corrections to the spelling of Plaintiffs' names and dates of employment. Id. at 8-14.

Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint on April 5, 2011 [DE 43] and Defendants answered [DE 46]. Plaintiffs then requested an extension of the deadline to complete discovery to July 14, 2011 and Judge Feuerstein granted that request. See DE 40, 41.

On June 21, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a letter motion to amend seeking leave to add two corporate entities, Cross Island Industries Inc. and L & V Site Development, Inc., as defendants. DE 56. The motion was denied without prejudice because motions to amend must be made by formal motion pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Electronic Order Dated June 22, 2011. Plaintiffs never filed a formal motion to amend to add these defendants.

On July 11, 2011, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned Magistrate Judge for all purposes and the case was transferred on July 26, 2011. DE 60, 69. Several discovery disputes arose and the discovery deadline was once again extended to October 17, 2011. DE 76.

At a status conference on October 3, 2011, Plaintiffs informed the Court that they planned to seek leave to amend the Second Amended Complaint to incorporate amendments to the New York Labor Law under the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act. See DE 89. No other proposed amendments were discussed. A briefing schedule for the motion was established and, in accordance with that schedule, Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend on November 28, 2011.

DE 94. Plaintiffs submitted a Proposed Third Amended Complaint [DE 96-1] ("PTAC") which includes the following proposed changes: (1) an amendment to the New York Labor Law claim to include a request for increased liquidated damages pursuant to the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act; (2) additional retaliation claims and facts pertaining to those claims; (3) additional facts that "clarify the integrated nature of Defendants' businesses;" and (4) correction of the dates of employment for three Plaintiffs. See DE 95 at 4.

A telephone conference was held on January 11, 2012 to discuss the motion to amend as well as other matters in the case. See DE 108. During the conference, counsel confirmed that all discovery was complete. Id. The Court requested that the parties provide the full transcripts of the depositions of certain Plaintiffs which the Court deemed necessary to resolving the ...


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