Butler student suing school for handling of stalking allegations permitted to amend unjust enrichment claim

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A Butler University student who sued the school after he was found not responsible on an allegation of stalking has been partially granted leave to amend his complaint after a previous ruling dismissing the majority of his claims.

The plaintiff, proceeding as John Doe, was given three days from Wednesday’s order to amend his claim for unjust enrichment, though not for breach of contract.

Doe filed the lawsuit against Butler in September 2022, alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment in the school’s handling of a female student’s stalking claim against him.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana dismissed without prejudice eight of Doe’s 12 breach claims in September, as well as his claim for unjust enrichment. On the latter, the court found Doe “erroneously incorporated allegations of the existence of a contract between the parties.”

Doe then moved to amend his complaint, and the Southern District partially granted that motion Wednesday to the extent that Doe wants to correct the pleading deficiencies in his unjust enrichment claim. Butler did not object to that correction.

However, Magistrate Judge Mario Garcia denied Doe’s motion as to the dismissed breach claims.

“The Court finds that Plaintiff does not have good cause to amend his complaint by clarifying his breach of contract theories through adding the two additional examples of breaches and that allowing him to do so creates undue prejudice to Defendant,” Garcia wrote. “Moreover, the Court notes this is not a situation in which ‘a grave inequity could result if the court does not allow the amendment.’

“The Court may benefit from a clearer complaint — that is often the case,” Garcia continued. “But that benefit does not overcome the circumstances where Plaintiff seeks to amend his complaint eight months past the deadline to do so. Here, Plaintiff’s desire to clarify or improve his breach of contract claim does not equate to the good cause contemplated under Rule 16(b)(4).

“While the Court will not permit amendment of the breach of contract claims,” the magistrate concluded, “Plaintiff is welcome to argue that his breach of contract claim, as originally pled, properly encompasses both theories of liability (i.e. harassment through failure to include sexual orientation in its sexual harassment policies and failure to take proper action with respect to Plaintiff’s suffering after giving notice to administrators of his state of distress).”

The case is John Doe v. Butler University, 1:22-cv-1828.

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