Plaintiffs Seek to File Amended Complaint in IBM ADEA Suit

More than two dozen plaintiffs asserting age discrimination claims against International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) have asked that the court permit them to file an amended complaint in order to add a fraudulent inducement claim to their allegations. Last week’s motion says that the court can and should permit amendment as it will not prejudice the defendant or otherwise delay the case.

The consolidated suit contends that the plaintiffs, all former IBM employees, were fired for their age as part of a company-wide, years-long plan to overhaul the company’s workforce. The case does not seek to hold IBM accountable for the alleged discrimination, but instead seeks a court order declaring certain provisions of the plaintiffs’ employment agreements with IBM invalid. One provision sets a timeframe for the filing an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) arbitration demand and the other restricts evidence that may be used in such actions.  

The effect of the court order would permit the plaintiffs to pursue their claims in arbitration.

Recently, the Manhattan court experienced an influx of nearly-identical complaints against IBM, so deemed In Re: Second Wave IBM Arbitration Agreement Litigation. Those complainants state a claim for fraudulent inducement, and now the original plaintiffs now seek to add one to their consolidated filing.

“Indeed, granting Plaintiffs’ leave to amend is an especially simple decision given that identical fraudulent inducement claims will be proceeding before this Court in the ―second wave cases, which have been amended as matter of right,” the motion urges. The plaintiffs also claim it would require neither additional discovery, as they will be relying on common evidence to prove their claims, nor the expenditure of additional judicial resources.

Because their motion for summary judgment, filed in October, is still pending, the plaintiffs ask the court to decide that matter before turning to the instant decision.

The plaintiffs are represented by Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C. and IBM by Jones Day.