Employment Discrimination Plaintiff May Amend Complaint to Add Additional Plaintiff

In McElroy v. Mercer Health & Benefits LLC, No. 153735/2018, 2020 WL 2066336, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 31083(U) (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Apr. 29, 2020), an employment discrimination case, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint to add an additional plaintiff who has alleged similar employment discrimination causes of action against the defendants.

The court summarized the general principles applicable to such a request:

Leave to amend pleadings should be freely given provided that the amendment is not palpably insufficient, does not prejudice or surprise the opposing party, and is not patently devoid of merit (see Sheila Props., Inc. v A Real Good Plumber, Inc., 59 AD3d 424, 874 NYS2d 145 [2d Dept 2009]; Boakye-Yiadom v Roosevelt Union Free School Dist., 57 AD3d 929, 871 NYS2d 314 [2d Dept 2008]). A determination whether to grant such leave is within the Supreme Court’s broad discretion, and the exercise of that discretion will not be lightly disturbed (see Ingrami v Rovner, 45 AD3d 806, 808, 847 NYS2d 132 [2d Dept 2007]). Here, leave to amend is proper, as plaintiff’s **2 proposed amendments are not “patently devoid of merit” and will not prejudice or surprise defendants, who have not demonstrated any grounds to oppose the proposed amendment. (MBIA Ins. Corp. v Greystone & Co., Inc., 74 AD3d 499, 499, 901 NYS2d 522 [1st Dept 2010]; see CPLR 3025 [b]). To establish prejudice “there must be some indication that the defendant has been hindered in the preparation of his case or has been prevented from taking some measure in support of his position”

Applying the law, the court concluded that defendants failed to establish that the proposed amended complaint will prejudice or hinder defendants in supporting or defending a position in this action (noting that discovery is in the early stages), and rejected defendants’ claims that adding the additional plaintiff will cause juror confusion as premature and without proof.

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