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Negron v. Bank of America Corp.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

April 3, 2017

LARRY NEGRON, Plaintiff,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION, BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH, BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES, LLC, NICK PINARLIGIL, JAMES HOLLOWAY, STEVE CURTIS, THOMAS HOLZ, and JEFF LOVVORN, Defendants.

          For the plaintiff Larry Negron: Ian Francis Wallace Law Offices of Ian Wallace, PLLC

          For the defendants: Alice Kokodis Laura Mae Raisty Littler Mendelson P.C.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Denise Cote United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Larry Negron (“Negron”) brought this action in 2015, alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”), and the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). With the completion of discovery near at hand, Negron has moved to voluntarily dismiss his amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2). For the following reasons, Negron's motion will be granted following the close of discovery subject to his consent to the conditions described below.

         Background

         Negron filed this action on October 21, 2015, and an amended complaint on May 12, 2016. On July 22, the defendants moved to dismiss the action, and on November 22, the case was reassigned to this Court.

         At a conference on December 7, the Court granted the defendants' motion in part, dismissing all claims against defendants Steve Curtis (“Curtis”) and Jeff Lovvorn (“Lovvorn”) as well as ruling on the statute of limitations applicable to each of the remaining claims. In particular, the Court found that the continuing-violations doctrine did not apply to Negron's claims, even when construed broadly as required by the NYCHRL. The Court also set a January 27, 2017 deadline for the parties to respond to their initial document demands and an April 28, 2017 deadline for all fact discovery. An Opinion setting out the Court's reasoning for its rulings was filed on December 13, 2016. Negron v. Bank of Am. Corp., No. 15 Civ. 8296, 2016 WL 7238959 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 13, 2016).

         By letters dated December 12, the parties identified two discovery disputes, namely, the appropriate comparators for Negron's discrimination claims and the scope of searches for relevant emails in the defendants' systems. At a conference on December 15, the Court limited certain discovery to comparators in Negron's business subgroup and imposed limits on e-discovery.

         On December 16, Negron sought and was granted an extension of time to move for reconsideration of the decision on the motion to dismiss. Despite the extension, Negron never made such a motion. By letter dated December 20, Negron provided additional information concerning his request for comparator information, and the Court adhered to its previous ruling in a memo endorsement of December 21.

         On January 20, Negron filed a complaint in the New York Supreme Court in Bronx County, alleging the same conduct underlying his federal claims but seeking relief under state and city law only. Negron did not serve the defendants but sought their consent on January 9 to the voluntary dismissal of his federal claims with a “remand” of the remainder of the action to state court.[1] The defendants replied that they would only consider such a stipulation if Negron agreed not to relitigate “the scope of discovery.” Negron did not agree. On February 15, Negron notified the defendants that he had filed the state court action and requested that the defendants stipulate to dismissal of the federal lawsuit with the conditions that Negron would not relitigate the scope of the defendants' responses to the plaintiff's document requests and would not renew his claims against Curtis and Lovvorn. The defendants rejected Negron's request the following day.

         On February 20, Negron moved to voluntarily dismiss his federal claims with prejudice. The defendants oppose Negron's motion, which became fully submitted on March 13.

         Discussion

         Because the defendants have answered the amended complaint and have not agreed to a stipulation of dismissal, this “action may be dismissed at the plaintiff's request only by court order, on terms that the court considers proper.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2). A motion to dismiss under this provision should not be granted “if the defendant would suffer some plain legal prejudice other than the mere prospect of a second lawsuit.” Kwan v. Schlein, ...


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