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Turano v. Zucker

United States District Court, E.D. New York

November 4, 2017

MARIE TURANO, LEONARD TURANO, and GEMMA SAMELE, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated. Plaintiffs,
v.
HOWARD ZUCKER, as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, Defendant.

          NEW YORK LEGAL ASSISTANCE GROUP ATTORNEYS FOR THE PLAINTIFFS BY: BETH GOLDMAN, ESQ., JANE GREENGOLD STEVENS, ESQ., ELIZABETH JOIS, ESQ., BEN W. TAYLOR, ESQ., STEWART DEARING, ESQ., OF COUNSEL

          OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ATTORNEY FOR THE DEFENDANT BY: DOROTHY O. NESE, ESQ., ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION & ORDER

          ARTHUR D. SPATT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 6, 2017, Marie Turano, Leonard Turano, and Gemma Samele (together, the “Plaintiffs”), commenced this purported class action against Howard Zucker in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health (“Zucker” or, the “Defendant”). The Plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief on behalf of themselves and a proposed class of Medicaid recipients who reside in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties for violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq., and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

         The Plaintiffs' seek to file an amended complaint that looks to add two additional named Plaintiffs, Selman Roher, acting through her next Friend Melanie Roher, and Salvatore Guadagna; to update the facts to reflect additional events that allegedly occurred since the filing of the complaint; and add new allegations based on the newly named Plaintiffs that focus on Medicaid-funded long-term care services. No new causes of action are being added to the complaint.

         On July 3, 2017, the Plaintiffs also filed a motion seeking to certify a class pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rules” or “Fed R. Civ. P.”). That motion is not yet fully briefed.

         Discovery is currently in its early stages as initial disclosures have been exchanged but discovery responses have not yet been completed, and no depositions have been held.

         On August 31, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed the instant motion for leave to amend the complaint. The Defendant has indicated that he takes no position on the motion.

         For the reasons explained below, the Plaintiffs' motion is granted.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a), which governs a motion to amend a complaint, states, in relevant part, “A party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) (emphasis added). Unless there is a showing of bad faith, undue delay, futility or undue prejudice to the non-moving parties, the district court should grant leave to amend. Milanese v. Rust-Oleum Corp., 244 F.3d 104, 110 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal citations omitted); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962); Hemphill v. Schott, 141 F.3d 412, 420 (2d Cir. 1998). The decision on whether to grant a motion to amend rests within the sound discretion of the district court. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Aniero Concrete Co., 404 F.3d 566, 603-04 (2d Cir. 2005); Hemphill, 141 F.3d at 420.

         Furthermore, where, as here, the proposed amended complaint adds new parties, Fed.R.Civ.P. 21 also governs. Rule 21 explains that “[o]n motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just terms, add or drop a party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 21; see also City of Syracuse v. Onondaga Cty., 464 F.3d 297, 308 (2d Cir. 2006) (“Although Rule 21 contains no restrictions on when motions to add or drop parties must be made, the timing of the motion may influence the court's discretion in determining to grant it.” (internal citations and quotations omitted)).

         The Court has significant discretion to determine whether or not to add a party, regardless of the stage of the litigation. Sullivan ex rel. Pointer, Cleaners & Caulkers Welfare Pension & Annuity Funds v. W. New York Residential, Inc., ...


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