Twitter Opposes Filing of Amended Pleading in Lay-Off-Related Labor Complaint

In a motion submitted to the Northern District of California on Wednesday, Twitter Inc. said that the former employees bringing a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) and a California WARN Act suit against it should not be given another chance to revise their pleading. Despite what Twitter acknowledged as the “general[ly] liberal standards of Rule 15,” the social media and microblogging platform operator said there are multiple reasons why the court should deny the request. 

The putative class action was filed last month after new Twitter CEO and owner Elon Musk declared that the company would be reducing its workforce by almost 50%. According to the complaint, the company was required to give workers 60 days written notice of what they claim qualified as a statutory mass layoff.

The employee plaintiffs from a variety of states sought damages, including pay for the 60 days when they should have been on notice, as well as injunctive relief halting the company from committing future violations of the laws.

Twitter moved to compel arbitration, arguing that its employee agreements are valid, enforceable, and ultimately require the plaintiffs to arbitrate their grievances. The same day, the plaintiffs moved for leave to amend their complaint. They had done so previously as a matter of course, but then requested leave to add three new named plaintiffs from Washington State and New York.

The motion reasoned that the plaintiffs should not be given a chance to keep the lawsuit alive by adding three new proposed plaintiffs to replace the five plaintiffs whose claims will be compelled to arbitration, resulting in the dismissal of the suit.

Twitter took aim at the plaintiffs for their “repeated attempts during the short life of this case to litigate various ‘emergency’ issues before the Court has even decided whether Plaintiffs’ claims belong in court in the first place.”

Next, the defendant alleged that where a plaintiff has previously amended a complaint, a court has broader discretion to deny leave to amend, and should do that here. 

Twitter further claimed that allowing amendment would prejudice it by prolonging the case, thereby making it difficult to orderly administer its pre-planned reduction in force. Lastly, the company said that amendment would be futile. The motion explained that amending the complaint to include three new persons who have no right to prosecute any viable claims before the court makes little sense.

The plaintiffs and putative class are represented by Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C. while Twitter is represented by Morgan Lewis.