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Lath v. Oak Brook Condominium Owners' Association

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

July 13, 2017

Sanjeev Lath
Oak Brook Condominium Owners' Association, Perry Vallee, Gerard Dufresne, Betty Mullen, and Warren Mills Opinion No. 2017 DNH 137


          Landya McCafferty United States District Judge.

         Before the court is plaintiff's motion for leave to file a first supplement to his second amended complaint (“SAC”). Four of the five defendants have objected; Gerard Dufresne has not. For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         As outlined in document no. 72, this case now consists of eight claims: (1) a hostile housing environment claim under the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), against Warren Mills and the Oak Brook Condominium Owners' Association (“Association”) (Count 1); (2) two FHA claims arising from alleged handicap based housing discrimination, against the Association (Counts 2 and 4); (3) an eavesdropping claim against Betty Mullen (Count 9); (4) an invasion of privacy claim against Perry Vallee (Count 10); (5) claims for false light invasion of privacy and defamation, against Gerard Dufresne (Counts 11(a) and 12(a)); and (6) a breach of contract claim against the Association (Count 13).[1]

         Plaintiff has also asserted claims arising out of his tenure as an Oak Brook unit owner in a second action, 16-cv-534-LM. On the day Lath filed that action, there was a fire in his unit, and he amended his complaint in 16-cv-534-LM to assert claims arising from the aftermath of the fire. Then, based upon rulings on several motions to dismiss, 16-cv-534-LM was reduced to:

(1) a claim, brought through the vehicle of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting that the Manchester Police Department (“MPD”) violated Lath's federal constitutional right to equal protection; and (2) state law claims against the MPD, Dorothy Vachon, Gerald Dufresne, Justin Boufford, Amica [Mutual Insurance Co.], and BMS Catastrophe, Inc. (“BMS CAT”).

Lath v. Manchester Police Dep't, No. 16-cv-534-LM, 2017 WL 1740197, at *1 (D.N.H. May 4, 2017). While 16-cv-534-LM was in the state described above, and in reliance upon Rule 15(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Lath moved to supplement his complaint in that case to add discrimination and retaliation claims under the FHA. The court denied Lath's motion, “but without prejudice to Lath's filing a Rule 15(d) motion in 16-cv-463-LM.” Id. at *4.

         The motion currently before the court is the one that Lath was granted leave to file by the above quoted order in 16-cv-534-LM. In it, Lath seeks to supplement his SAC in this case with causes of action captioned: (1) “Claim 14 (Continued): Conspiracy by defendants, City of Manchester, Police and Fire Departments, Amica, Cheryl Vallee, Perry Vallee, Morey, Klardie, Grandmaison, Taylor, Mullen, Sample, and Bisson, whether or not acting under the color of law, to violate FHA by retaliating against Lath, ” doc. no. 118, at 2; and (2) “Claim 15: Invasion of Privacy by disclosure of Private Facts by Defendant Gerard Dufresne, ” Id. at 18.

         II. The Legal Standard

         “Rule 15(d) affords litigants a pathway for pleading ‘any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented.'” United States ex rel. Gadbois v. PharMerica Corp., 809 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 2015) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d)), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 2517 (2016). Regarding the application of that rule, the court of appeals has explained:

Rule 15(d) contains no standards at all to guide the district court's analysis; it merely authorizes the district court to permit service of a supplemental pleading “on just terms.” In an effort to fill this vacuum and in keeping with the overarching flexibility of Rule 15, courts customarily have treated requests to supplement under Rule 15(d) liberally. See, e.g., Walker v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 240 F.3d 1268, 1278 (10th Cir. 2001). This liberality is reminiscent of the way in which courts have treated requests to amend under Rule 15(a)'s leave “freely give[n]” standard. See, e.g., Glatt v. Chi. Park Dist., 87 F.3d 190, 194 (7th Cir. 1996); Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 66 (2d Cir. 1995); Mueller Co. v. U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co., 351 F.Supp.2d 1, 2 (D.N.H. 2005).

Gadbois, 809 F.3d at 7. Moreover:

In the last analysis, a district court faced with a Rule 15(d) motion must weigh the totality of the circumstances, just as it would under Rule 15(a). See Palmer v. Champion Mortg.,465 F.3d 24, 30-31 (1st Cir. 2006). Idiosyncratic factors - say, the futility of supplementation, see Haggard v. Bank of the Ozarks, Inc., 668 F.3d 196, 202 (5th Cir. 2012) (per curiam); Motorola Credit Corp. v. Uzan,388 F.3d 39, 65 (2d Cir. 2004), prejudice to the opposing party, see Walker, 240 F.3d at 1278-79, and unreasonable delay in ...

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