United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
VÁZQUEZ, United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss [Doc.
9] filed by SMG. The Court, having considered the motion,
briefs, and relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed,
finds that the Motion is well-taken and will be granted.
October of 2012, Plaintiff Victor Ramirez filed a Charge of
Discrimination against his employer, SMG. Doc. 12 at 1. On
April 23, 2013, he filed an Amended Charge of Discrimination.
Id. at 2. On August 4, 2015, the EEOC issued
Plaintiff a right to sue letter. Id. At that point,
Plaintiff had 90 days within which to file an action in court
on his discrimination claims. Id.
the 90-day statutory period, on November 3, 2015, Plaintiff
commenced an action in the Second Judicial District Court of
the State of New Mexico, Bernalillo County, alleging that he
was subject to discrimination in violation of federal and
state laws by his employer and individuals who worked for
that employer. Doc. 1-1. Although Plaintiff's employer is
SMG, the Complaint names “SMG, LLC, ” an entirely
unrelated entity, as Defendant.
filing the Complaint, “Plaintiff's attorney lost
contact with the Plaintiff and no attempt to serve the
Complaint on the Defendants was made until contact was
reestablished in August 2016.” Id. After
determining that Plaintiff did, in fact, wish to continue
with his action, on August 18, 2016 - nine months after the
action was commenced - Plaintiff's attorney mailed a copy
of the Complaint to SMG “for the purposes of effecting
service.” Id. at 2, Doc. 1-2. SMG received the
Complaint on August 23, 3016. Doc. 1 at ¶ 3. Plaintiff
never served any of the individual Defendants. Doc. 12 at 2.
September 14, 2016, SMG removed the action to this Court.
Doc. 1. SMG then filed the instant motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's claims in their entirety. Doc. 9. On October
21, 2016, Plaintiff filed a response in which he agreed that
his federal claims against the individual Defendants should
be dismissed, but argued that his state claims against the
individual Defendants and all of his claims against SMG
remain viable. Doc. 12. On March 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal under Rule 41 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, dismissing all of his claims
against the individual Defendants. Doc. 20. It thus remains
for this Court to determine the merits of SMG's motion to
dismiss Plaintiff's claims against SMG.
argues that because the Complaint fails to name it as a party
to this lawsuit, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted against SMG. SMG further argues
that the Complaint must be dismissed on this basis, because
the 90-day limitations period for Plaintiff to file an action
ran in November 2015, and thus amendment of his Complaint
would be futile. Plaintiff acknowledges that he did not
properly name SMG as Defendant, and that the statute of
limitations bars him from commencing an action on his
discrimination claims. He contends, however, that his failure
to name the proper party is a “minor discrepancy,
” that SMG had notice of this action and thus is not
prejudiced by the discrepancy, and that under Rule 15(c) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, he should be permitted
to file an amended complaint, properly naming SMG as
Defendant, and have that amended complaint “relate
back” to November 3, 2015, the date on which the
original Complaint was filed.
Court need not opine as to the severity of Plaintiff's
mistake concerning SMG's identity or the prejudice caused
to SMG as a result thereof, as the plain language of Rule
15(c) dictates the outcome of SMG's motion. Specifically,
Rule 15(c) provides:
Relation Back of Amendments.
(1) When an Amendment Relates Back.
An amendment to a pleading relates back to the date of the
original pleading when:
(A) the law that provides the applicable
statute of limitations allows relation back;
(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense
that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set
out--or attempted to be set out--in ...