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Reaves v. Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 23, 2018

CHRISTOPHER M. REAVES, Plaintiff,
v.
NEXSTAR BROADCASTING, INC., a Delaware corporation, and LIN TELEVISION CORPORATION dba KOIN-TV, a Delaware corporation, Defendants.

          Gene Mechanic Whitney Stark MECHANIC LAW FIRM Attorneys for Plaintiff

          Thomas P. Busch MacCOLL BUSCH SATO, P.C. Charles W. Pautsch Lisa A. Balocchi PAUTSCH SPOGNARDI & BAIOCCHI LEGAL GROUP, L.L.P Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION & ORDER

          MARCO A. HERNANDEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Christopher Reaves brings this employment discrimination action against Defendants Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. and LIN Television Corporation, dba KOIN-TV. In his Complaint, Plaintiff raises disability discrimination claims under federal and Oregon statutes, an Oregon statutory family leave claim, and an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Plaintiff moves to amend his Complaint. I deny the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         The proposed amendments relate to the acquisition of LIN Television by Nexstar Broadcasting and to the Oregon family leave claim. Thus, I recite the facts relevant only to those issues. In the Complaint, Plaintiff first generally asserts that his termination by KOIN-TV violated his rights under various employment discrimination statutes and constituted intentional infliction of emotional distress. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF 1. He then alleges that he was employed by KOIN-TV from April 23, 2012 until his October 16, 2015 termination. Id. ¶ 5. He further alleges that "[i]n or about 2017, Nexstar Broadcasting acquired LIN Television Corporation dba KOIN-TV." Id. ¶ 6. Defendants allegedly "did and continued to do business as KOIN-TV in Portland, Oregon." Id.

         In the proposed First Amended Complaint ("proposed FAC"), Plaintiff adds allegations concerning Nexstar Broadcasting's acquisition of LIN Television Corporation in Paragraphs 5- 11. Prop. FAC, Pl.'s Mot to Amend, Ex. A, ECF 28-1. There, Plaintiff asserts that when he was hired in 2012, KOIN-TV was owned by LIN Television Corporation which was a subsidiary of LIN Media LLC. Id. ¶ 5. On or about December 19, 2014, LIN Media LLC merged with Media General, Inc. and LIN Television Corporation became a subsidiary of Media General, Inc. Id.

         On or about January 27, 2017, Nexstar Broadcasting, through Nexstar Media Group, Inc., entered into an "Agreement and Plan of Merger" with Media General, Inc. Id. ¶ 7.[1] This merger agreement provided that all of the claims, obligations, liabilities, debts, and duties of the merged entities Nexstar Media Group, Inc. and Media General, Inc., shall become the claims, obligations liabilities, debts, and duties of the surviving corporation. Id.

         Further, Plaintiff alleges, on or about January 11, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order transferring the control applications and licenses of KOIN-TV and other Media General, Inc. television stations to Nexstar Media, Inc. Id. ¶ 8. On or about January 27, 2017, the merger was completed. Id. On or about April 19, 2017, Nexstar filed a "Voluntary Statement of Foreign Merger" with the Oregon Corporation Division stating the "Name of Surviving Entity" as Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., and the "Name of Non-Surviving Entity" as LIN Television Corporation. Id. Finally, in regard to this issue, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Nexstar Broadcasting is a successor to Defendant LIN-TV and Media General, Inc., and is liable for all of the acts and omissions of LIN-TV and Media General, Inc. alleged by Plaintiff in the Proposed FAC. Id. ¶ 11.

         As to the family leave claim brought under the Oregon Family Leave Act, Oregon Revised Statutes §§ (O.R.S.) 659A.150-659A.186 (OFLA), the caption of Plaintiff's Complaint indicates that it contains a claim under the "Oregon Family Medical Leave Act, ORS 659A.150 et seq." Compl. p. 1. The caption of Plaintiff's Ninth Claim for Relief in the original Complaint reads: "Violation of Oregon Family Leave Act, ORS 659A.183 and violation of ORS 659A.199-Retaliation." Compl. ¶ 70 (caption above paragraph number). Plaintiff re-alleges the prior factual paragraphs. Id. (re-alleging Paragraphs 1-29). Plaintiff then alleges in pertinent part that Defendants committed an unlawful practice under OFLA, "ORS 659A.183, by discriminating and retaliating against Plaintiff because he requested and took family medical leave." Id. ¶ 71.

         In the proposed FAC, the renumbered factual background allegation paragraphs contain no notable content changes. Prop. FAC ¶¶ 12-32. The caption to the Ninth Claim for Relief has been changed to omit the reference to O.R.S. 659A.199. Id. ¶ 74 (caption above paragraph). It now reads: "Violation of Oregon Family Leave Act, ORS 659A.183 Retaliation and Discrimination." Id. Plaintiff also incorporates the previously recited factual background allegations and then alleges that Defendants committed an unlawful practice under OFLA, "ORS 659A.183, by discriminating and retaliating against Plaintiff because he requested and took family medical leave, including interfering with the exercise of his rights under OFLA." Id. ¶¶ 74, 75.

         STANDARDS

         This case was filed March 27, 2017. Almost four months later, on July 14, 2017, the Court conducted a case scheduling conference pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16. ECF 19. The Court established various case deadlines including a deadline requiring that all pleadings be due on December 1, 2017, and a deadline to join all claims, remedies, and parties by January 5, 2018. Id. Because the motion to amend was filed on March 21, 2018, it was filed after the deadline to amend all pleadings.[2]

         When a party seeks leave to amend under Rule 15 after the date specified in the scheduling order, the district court must first determine whether that party has shown "good cause" for amending the scheduling order under Rule 16(b). Branch Banking & Tr. Co. v. D.M.S.I., LLC, 871 F.3d 751, 764 (9th Cir. 2017); Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992). "Rule 16(b)'s 'good cause' standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. The district court may modify the pretrial schedule 'if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.'" Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 Advisory Committee's notes (1983 amendment)). If the moving "'party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.'" Branch Banking & Trust Co., 871 F.3d at 764 ...


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