Friday, May 12, 2006

First Circuit Finds No Requirement to Grant Leave to Amend, Sua Sponte, in Political Discrimination Case

Per Otero v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Indus. Com'n, 441 F.3d 18 (1st Cir. Mar. 22, 2006):

Miranda never moved for leave to amend his complaint. He nevertheless argues that the district court should have, sua sponte, granted him time to amend his pleadings, and that it should have pushed ahead with any remaining discovery.

The contention is meritless. “Absent exceptional circumstances, a district court has no obligation to invite a plaintiff to amend his or her complaint when the plaintiff has not sought such amendment.” United States ex rel. Karvelas v. Melrose-Wakefield Hosp., 360 F.3d 220, 242 (1st Cir.2004). No such circumstances are present here. On the contrary, as defendants point out, even after the district court dismissed the case and Miranda moved for reconsideration, he still did not seek to amend his complaint.

Further, discovery was conducted in the case. In Miranda's request for reconsideration, he referred to details from Charriez's deposition testimony and attached the full 251-page deposition. The district court did explicitly consider the evidence, which was undisputed. The court recounted the entirely legitimate reasons, as shown by the employment record, for Charriez's decision to suspend plaintiff from his job and for Rey's decision to release information at the hearing. There was no evidence proffered to show that these were not the real reasons or were a pretext for political discrimination.


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