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Chambers v. General Motors Corp.

November 21, 2007

TIFFANI CHAMBERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: M. James Lorenz United States District Court Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND REMANDING ACTION [doc. #13]

Plaintiff filed an action in the Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of San Diego, on May 24, 2007, against defendants General Motors Corporation ("GM") and Bob Baker Chevrolet Subaru ("BBCS"). Because plaintiff had included a claim under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act ("MMWA"), defendants removed the action to federal court on the basis of the Court's original jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

Plaintiff seeks to amend her complaint to dismiss her third cause of action for violation of the MMWA and to have this action remanded to the San Diego Superior Court. Defendants oppose the motion. Plaintiff's motion has been fully briefed and the Court finds this matter suitable for determination on the papers submitted and without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1).

MOTION TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT

Legal Standards

Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that, after a responsive pleading has been served, "a party may amend [its] pleading only by leave of the court or by written consent of the adverse party . . . ." FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a). Rule 15 states that leave to amend "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Id. The decision whether to grant or deny leave to amend is within discretion of the trial court; however, leave to amend should be freely given in the absence of prejudice to the opposing party. See Keniston v. Roberts, 717 F.2d 1295, 1300 (9th Cir. 1983).

Courts consider four factors in deciding whether to grant a motion for leave to amend a complaint: (1) bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant; (2) the futility of the proposed amendment; (3) undue delay in filing the motion; and (4) prejudice to the opposing party. See Roth v. Marquez, 942 F.2d 617, 628 (9th Cir. 1991)(citing DCD Programs v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186 (9th Cir. 1987)). The party opposing the motion for leave to amend a complaint bears the burden of showing any of the above four factors. See DCD Programs, 833 F.2d at 186.

Discussion

As noted above, plaintiff seeks to amend her complaint to dismiss the sole federal law claim, i.e., the MMWA claim. Plaintiff states that her MMWA claim was alleged in error and therefore, she requests that this Court grant her motion to amend the complaint to delete the federal claim. Defendants do not appear to oppose plaintiff's request to delete the federal claim but instead argue that this Court should nevertheless retain jurisdiction over the state-law claims.

Because defendants are not prejudiced by the amendment to delete the federal claim, the amendment would not cause undue delay, and there is no showing of bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of plaintiff, plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint will be granted.

MOTION TO REMAND

As noted above, defendants removed this action because the complaint alleged a violation based upon a substantial federal question. But with the sole federal claim omitted in the amended complaint, plaintiff seeks to have the action remanded to the state court. Defendants contend that the Court should retain jurisdiction of the case, however, because there is diversity of citizenship. Additionally, defendants assert the Court should exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.

1. Diversity of Citizenship

Defendants contend that even if there is no substantive federal question remaining in the case, the Court may exercise its diversity jurisdiction. Recognizing that plaintiff has named a non-diverse California company as a defendant, defendants assert that BBCS is a "sham" defendant whose residency does not defeat ...


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