Georgia Employees’ FLSA Claims to be Amended in Attempt at Class Certification

In attempting to assert an Atlanta employment law claim, it important that the plaintiff include the appropriate allegations and requests for relief. Sometimes, however, more information becomes available as the case develops, such that a plaintiff may attempt to file an “amended complaint” to include the new information or an updated demand for relief.

Depending upon the court rules and the status of the proceedings, the plaintiff may or may not need the court’s permission to file an amended complaint. Likewise, the defendant may wish to alter its answer. A timely request to amend the pleadings is important, regardless of whether it is the plaintiff or the defendant who is making the request.

An amended pleading may appear to give the parties more than a single “bite at the apple,” so to speak. However, there are limitations on what can be accomplished via an amendment, as rules such as the statute of limitations still apply.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unemployment law case filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, two plaintiff employees filed a complaint against the defendant employer in June 2020, asserting a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. ยง 201, et seq. In support of their claim under the Act, the plaintiffs asserted that the defendants had failed to fully compensate them for the hours they worked in excess of 40 hours per week. The defendant filed an answer in August 2020, after which the plaintiff sought conditional certification of their case as a class action so that other, similarly situated employees could join in the litigation.

In December 2020, the defendant filed a motion for leave to file an amended answer, and the plaintiffs sought leave to file a second amended complaint.

The Court’s Decision on the Motions

The federal district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to amend their complaint. In attempting to file a second amended complaint, the plaintiffs sought to add the defendant’s president and chief executive officer as a named defendant and “substantially” alter their factual allegations. While acknowledging that, generally speaking, a party could only amend his or her pleadings after a certain point in the litigation of a particular case unless judicial consent was first sought and obtained, the court went on to point out that leave to amend was to be freely given when justice required.

The court then found that the plaintiffs had met their burden of showing that leave should be granted. The court noted that the plaintiffs “believed their claims to be well-pleaded at all times prior to filing their motion for conditional certification,” although there were, apparently, some deficiencies raised by the defendant’s response to the plaintiff motion. Because the case was still in a relatively early stage and had a somewhat complicated procedural history, the court found that there was good cause to allow the plaintiffs to amend their complaint as requested. The remaining motions were denied as moot.

Talk to an Atlanta Lawyer About a FLSA Case

If you have questions about the FLSA or another type of employment law litigation, please contact a member of the Parks, Chesin & Walbert litigation team by calling 404-873-8048 or completing the “contact us” section of this website. We look forward to talking to you about your case.

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