Unpublished Disposition, 869 F.2d 1497 (9th Cir. 1989)

Annotate this Case
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 869 F.2d 1497 (9th Cir. 1989)

John D. MORRIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 87-4384.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted*  Jan. 31, 1989.Decided Feb. 24, 1989.

Before SNEED, FLETCHER and DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judges.


John D. Morris filed suit in the district court pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. He alleged that the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) had discriminated against him because of his handicap. He named only the BPA as a defendant.

A little over two months later, the BPA filed a motion to dismiss Morris' complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Morris had not named either James Jura, the BPA administrator, or the Secretary of the Department of Energy as a defendant within thirty days of the Department of Energy's final decision in which it found that Morris' claim of discrimination was not supported by the evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e). Morris responded to this motion by filing a motion to amend his complaint to include Jura as a defendant, contending that his amendment should relate back to the date of his original complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). The district court granted the BPA's motion and dismissed the case. We affirm.

A plaintiff filing a civil action under Title VII must name the appropriate head of the department, agency or unit as a defendant. 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)-16(c). A civil action pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. must be filed within thirty days of the receipt of notice of the final action taken by the department, agency or unit. Id. Here, Morris concedes that he failed to amend his complaint to name Jura as a defendant within the 30-day statutory period. See Appellant's Brief at 4.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c) allows a plaintiff to amend a complaint changing the party against whom a claim is asserted. Such an amendment relates back to the date of the original pleading if the requirements of Rule 15(c) are satisfied. However, a plaintiff's failure to notify the substituted defendant of the institution of the action until after the statutory time period has run precludes the application of Rule 15(c). Cooper v. United States Postal Service, 740 F.2d 714, 716-17 (9th Cir. 1984). Here, Morris did not notify Jura of his Title VII action within the 30-day statutory period in which he could initiate the action. Accordingly, his amended complaint naming Jura as a defendant does not relate back to the date of the original complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). Cooper, 740 F.2d at 716-17.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for disposition without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3