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Hirschfield v. San Diego Unified Port Dist.

October 8, 2009

ALAN HIRSCHFIELD, AND NICOLE HIRSCHFIELD, AS SUCCESSORS IN INTEREST TO STEVEN HIRSCHFIELD; ALAN HIRSCHFIELD, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND NICOLE HIRSCHFIELD, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SAN DIEGO UNIFIED PORT DISTRICT, A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; CLYDE WILLIAMS, WAYNE SCHMIDT, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10 INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs have filed a motion to file a First Amended Complaint. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

This action arises out of the fatal shooting of Steven Hirschfield ("Steven") by San Diego Harbor Police Officer Clyde Williams on July 19, 2008. On that day, Steven either jumped or fell from a cruise ship into the San Diego Bay. San Diego Unified Port District Officers Clyde Williams and Wayne Schmidt pulled Steven onto their patrol boat. Some sort of struggle ensued, the facts of which are in dispute. At some point, Officer Schmidt deployed a taser against Steven, and Officer Williams shot Steven in the back, resulting in Steven's death.

On November 14, 2008, Plaintiffs commenced this action against Officer Clyde Williams, the San Diego Unified Port District ("Port District") and Does 1-10. Plaintiffs' original complaint asserted the following causes of action: (1) violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983 (against Defendant Williams); (2) assault and battery (against all Defendants); (3) negligence (against all Defendants); and (4) wrongful death (against all Defendants).

II. DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs seek to amend their Complaint by (1) adding Officer Wayne Schmidt as a defendant; (2) adding wrongful death and survival claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (3) adding a Fourteenth Amendment claim by Plaintiffs in their individual capacities as the parents of Steven Hirschfield; (4) adding a Monell claim against the Port District; and (4) including damages allegations regarding "loss of the love, affection, comfort, society and companionship of Steven Hirschfield" and damages allegations regarding the pain and suffering of Steven.

A. Standard

Leave to amend a complaint should be freely given when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). "Liberality in granting a plaintiff leave to amend is subject to the qualification that the amendment not cause undue prejudice to the defendant, is not sought in bad faith, and is not futile." Bowles v. Reade, 198 F.3d 752, 758 (9th Cir. 1999).

B. Officer Schmidt

The Port District argues that Wayne Schmidt should not be added as a defendant because Plaintiffs have not complied with the requirements of the California Tort Claims Act. ("CTCA"). Under the CTCA, before filing suit against a public agency for money or damages due to the death or injury of a person, the injured party must first file a claim with the appropriate public entity within six months after the accrual of the cause of action. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 905, 911.2, 945.4. Cal. Gov't Code § 910 lists the information that must be included in the claim: A claim shall be presented by the claimant or by a person acting on his or her behalf and shall show all of the following:

(a) The name and post office address of the claimant.

(b) The post office address to which the person presenting the claim desires notices to be sent.

(c) The date, place and other circumstances of the occurrence or transaction which gave ...


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