United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
motions are currently before the Court in this employment
compensation dispute: defendant's Motion to Dismiss,
plaintiffs Motion to Amend, and plaintiffs Motion for a
Protective Order. Docs. 4, 11 & 17. The first is before
the district judge while the latter two will be reached here.
For the purpose of this Order, the Court will accept as true
the facts lifted from the filings cited here.
Three Rivers Regional Library System (Three Rivers) employed
Linda Kean as a salaried regional director. Doc. 1 at 2. She
resigned on July 22, 2014, and on July 22, 2016, brought this
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action against Three Rivers
for, inter alia, unpaid overtime, 29 U.S.C. §
201 et. seq. Doc. 1 at 1-3. Her chief complaint is
that Three Rivers violated its "comp time" promise
Where a [Three Rivers] worker exceeded 40 hours in a work
week, that employee could bank "comp time", as he
or she could not be paid overtime. [Three Rivers] credited
KEAN with comp time for periods where her weekly recorded
time exceeded forty hours. It would then apply the comp time
where she failed to work forty hours in a week. If KEAN
failed to work the requisite hours during a pay period, she
suffered a reduction in her pay where she did not have
available comp time.
Doc. 1 at 3 ¶ 8.
its comp time policy, defendant "unlawfully failed and
refused to give [plaintiff] comp time credit for all overtime
hours worked in violation of the FLSA . . . ." Doc. 1 at
8 ¶ 25. "Other similarly situated employees in the
past, including the former director, were paid for their
unused comp time when they terminated their position."
Doc. 11 at 1 (citing doc. 1 ¶¶ 6-8, 20). She wants
"damages in the amount of her respective unpaid overtime
compensation plus liquidated damages as provided by the FLSA
29 U.S.C. § 216(b)." Doc. 1, ¶ 26. She also
seeks damages for contract-breach, retaliation,
Three Rivers' failure to provide a health-insurance
continuation notice. Id. at 9-13.
Motion to Dismiss, Three Rivers argues that Kean sued an
entity incapable of being sued (i.e., she misnamed
the defendant) and that her FLSA, overtime, and other claims
are time-barred. Doc. 4 at 2. It also raises other defenses
(e.g., she was not an exempt FLSA employee and her
contract claim is facially flawed). Id. at 3-22.
opposes that motion, but for good measure moves to amend her
Complaint so she can clear up any confusion about
defendant's name. Doc. 11. Defendant says its proper name
is "the Board of Trustees of the Three Rivers Regional
Library System." Doc. 12 at 2. This Court has called it
the "Three Rivers Regional Library System" in the
past. Haven v. Regional Library System Board of
Trustees, 69 F.Supp.3d 1359, 1361 (S.D. Ga. 2014). Keen
cites that case and other examples to show that Three Rivers
has never been confused about such "name-slippage."
In any event, she wants her Amended Complaint's claims to
relate back to the date of her Complaint ~ as noted above,
she filed this case two years to the day of her resignation,
though Three Rivers nevertheless contends that she is too
late. Doc. 12 at 3.
opposes: "Despite being the Director for nearly five (5)
years, and actually reporting to the Board of Trustees, the
Plaintiff wrongfully named Three Rivers Regional Library
System instead of the Board of Trustees of the Three Rivers
Regional Library System as the party Defendant." Doc. 12
at 2. It doesn't want to lose its limitations defense
over the misnaming (i.e., it reasons that if the
Court agrees that Kean named the wrong defendant, she'll
be too late with her claims, due to the statute of
limitations, with the "right" defendant).
Id. at 2-3.
Court does not cotton to "namesmanship." Willis
v. Mayor & Alderman of the City of Savannah, 770
F.Supp.2d 1349, 1351 (S.D. Ga. 2011) (civil rights plaintiffs
were entitled to amend their complaint to denominate city as
defendant in its proper corporate name, where city had
history of using its cumbersome, archaic name to trip-up
litigants, and there was no evidence of prejudice), cited in
Ga. Prac. & PROC. § 4:3 n. 4 (2016-2017 ed.). Here
the defendant exploits the same sort of name-clunkiness in an
obvious trip-up attempt. It does not claim any sort
of identity confusion, only that Kean failed to call it
"the Board of Trustees of the Three Rivers
Regional Library System, " rather than "The Three
Rivers Regional Library System." See also doc.
14 at 2-4 (citing past examples where no such confusion
respect, Kean has moved to amend early enough in this
litigation to correct her misstep,  and has shown that it was
not the function of a deliberate attempt to sow (much less
exploit) identity confusion. Nor is there any hint that the
defendant will suffer prejudice; not being able to exploit a
limitations defense due to misnomer is not recognized as
legal prejudice in this context. See Jones v.
Waters, 97 F.R.D. 543, 544 (E.D. Pa. 1983) (civil rights
case defendant permitted to amend answer to add limitations
defense, although a year had elapsed since the original
answer had been filed; plaintiff had failed to allege any
specific prejudice, and "the proceedings [had] not
progressed beyond the pleading stage and no discovery [had]
Court thus GRANTS plaintiffs motion to amend. Doc. 11.
Willis, 770 F.Supp.2d at 1351; Mahdy v. Mason
City School District, 2017 WL 25504 at * 2 (S.D. Ohio
Jan. 3, 2017) (granting plaintiff who sued the "Mason
City School District" leave, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a),
to instead name the district's Board of Education);
Moody v. Co II Shoults, 2016 WL 4443172 at * 1 (M.D.
Ga. Aug. 19, 2016). The above-caption has been amended, the
Clerk is DIRECTED to amend the docket caption accordingly,
and all subsequent filings shall conform.
wants to take Kean's deposition in Georgia; she now lives
and works in Pennsylvania. Doc. 17 at 1. The parties fought
over what she called a short-timed deposition notice
requiring her to miss work, drive through potential snow and
ice, and have her holiday season squeezed (ultimately for a
December 20, 2016 deposition in Savannah, Georgia, formally
noticed by Three Rivers). Doc. 17; doc. 18 at 9. They
conferred but Three Rivers refused to consider a video
deposition, so it noticed the December 20th deposition
(triggering Kean's December 19, 2016 Motion for a
Protective Order, doc. 17), noted Kean's no-show and
eve-of-deposition protective order motion, and now seek
costs. Doc. 18 at 1-3. Three Rivers correctly notes that Kean
did not move the Court for an Order directing a remote-means
deposition, doc. 18 at 3 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(4)),
though she seeks one now. Doc. 17 at 8-9.
plaintiff generally is subject to deposition in the district
in which the suit was brought, even if he or she resides
elsewhere. The deposition of a defendant generally will be
taken at his or her place of residence or, for corporate
parties or witnesses, at the corporation's principal
place of business. But these are just general guidelines, and
the court may enter a protective order designating a
different location (or allowing the witness to testify by
remote transmission) in order to ...