United States District Court, S.D. New York
the plaintiff K.C. Okoli
the defendants Joshua S. Paster Hunton & Williams LLP
OPINION AND ORDER
COTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
employment discrimination case was filed in the Supreme Court
of the State of New York, Bronx County, on or about December
6, 2017. Defendants removed the case, and this Court accepted
it as related to another case before it, McFarlane v.
Iron Mountain Incorporated, et al., 17cv3311(DLC). The
defendants moved to dismiss the above-captioned action on the
grounds that it is duplicative of the earlier case on this
Court's docket. Plaintiff opposed, and cross-moved for
consolidation of the two cases before this Court. For the
reasons that follow, the defendants' motion is granted
and the plaintiff's motion is denied.
February 10, 2017, plaintiff Barrington McFarlane brought an
employment discrimination suit against Iron Mountain
Incorporated, Randy Crego, and Stuart Meyer in New York state
court. 17cv3311(DLC) (the “Initial Action”).
Defendants removed the case on April 4, 2017 and answered on
April 11. In their answer, the defendants noted that
“Plaintiff was an employee of Iron Mountain Management
Services, Inc., a related entity of Iron Mountain
Incorporated.” Plaintiff's ensuing motion to remand
the case to state court was denied on June 22. McFarlane
v. Iron Mountain Incorporated, 2017 WL 2703575,
17cv3311(DLC) (S.D.N.Y. June 22, 2017).
Pretrial Scheduling Order was filed after an initial
conference was held with the parties on August 18. Fact
discovery was scheduled to close on January 26, 2018. The
Order also stated: “No additional parties may be joined
or pleadings amended after September 8.” On August 24,
2017, in accordance with the Pretrial Scheduling Order, the
plaintiff filed an amended complaint (“Amended
Complaint”). The Amended Complaint added new legal
claims, but did not name Iron Mountain Management Services,
Inc. as a defendant. Defendants answered on September 5,
again noting “Iron Mountain Incorporated was not the
employer of Plaintiff and therefore is improperly named as a
defendant in this action. Plaintiff's employer was Iron
Mountain Information Management Services, Inc.”
November 30, plaintiff sought leave of the Court to file an
additional amended complaint to “reflect the true name
of the defendant.” The Court noted that “the time
to amend without a showing of good cause expired on September
8, 2017. This letter does not explain why the corporate
defendant's name was not corrected in an amended pleading
on or before September 8, 2017.” Thereafter, plaintiff
did not attempt to show cause why the Amended Complaint did
not name the correct corporate defendant.
filed the above-captioned case in New York state court on or
about December 6, 2017 (the “Second Action”). The
complaint names Iron Mountain Information Management
Services, Inc. as a defendant, as well as Mr. Crego and Ms.
Meyer. It also introduces two additional claims separate from
those which are also found in the Amended Complaint: one
claim under the New York State Human Rights Law, and one
claim for “constructive discharge.” The complaint
omits one of the claims that was added in the Amended
Complaint. Defendants removed the Second Action on December
12. This Court accepted the Second Action as related to the
Initial Action on December 14.
moved to dismiss the Second Action on January 5, 2018. In his
February 2 opposition to the motion, the plaintiff seeks
consolidation of the Initial Action with the Second Action
and an opportunity to take additional discovery of claims
made in the two actions. The motion to dismiss became fully
submitted on February 9.
“district court may stay or dismiss a suit that is
duplicative of another federal court suit.” New
Phone Co., Inc. v. City of New York, 498 F.3d 127, 129
(2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). “The power to
dismiss a duplicative lawsuit is meant to foster judicial
economy and the comprehensive disposition of
litigation.” Curtis v. Citibank, N.A., 226
F.3d 133, 138 (2d Cir. 2000) (citation omitted).
“[P]laintiffs may not file duplicative complaints in
order to expand their legal rights.” Id. at
140. District courts may dismiss duplicative lawsuits that
are filed in an attempt to extend discovery or for the
purpose of circumventing amendment deadlines. See
complaints are those which plead claims that “aris[e]
out of the same events.” Id. Similarly, a
complaint is duplicative if the first complaint could have
alleged the same claims as the new, separately filed
complaint, because the claims arise out of events that
occurred prior to the filing of the first complaint.
Id. Plaintiffs may not evade amendment deadlines by
filing separate lawsuits that plead claims that were not
timely raised in the initial suit. Id.
filing of the Second Action is a clear attempt to avoid the
consequences of his failure to comply with the case
management schedule in the Initial Action and with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff concedes that he
failed to name the proper defendant in the Initial Action,
yet he provides no explanation for why he failed to cure this
defect when filing his Amended Complaint, or why, in his
November 30 motion, he failed to show cause for that failure.
Moreover, plaintiff concedes that it “is only ...