The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Weiland Sliding Doors and Windows, Inc.'s motion to file second amended complaint. (Doc. No. 28 (Mot. to Amend).) Also before the Court is Defendant Panda Windows and Doors, LLC's opposition (Doc. No. 63 (Opp'n)) and Plaintiff's reply. (Doc. No. 60 (Reply).) Defendant has not provided sufficient basis to deny Plaintiff leave to amend. Plaintiff's motion to file second amended complaint is GRANTED.
Plaintiff filed suit on March 30, 2010, and then filed a first amended complaint (FAC) one month later. (Doc. Nos. 1 & 6.) The FAC alleged direct infringement, inducement of infringement, and contributory infringement of U.S. patents 7,007,343 and 6,792,651, and also requested declaratory judgment on the issue whether Plaintiff's lawsuit and associated activities constituted tortious interference. (See generally Compl.) Approximately five months after filing the FAC, Plaintiff filed the present motion to file second amended complaint.
The second amended complaint purports to add an individual defendant, Eyal Shoshan. But Defendant contests such a limited characterization, arguing that the proposed second amended complaint is an attempt to "expand the scope" of Plaintiff's patent infringement claims. The Court considers whether a second amended complaint is proper.
Leave to amend should be freely given "when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). But while the rule should be interpreted extremely liberally, leave should not be granted automatically. Jackson v. Bank of Haw., 902 F.2d 1385, 1387 (9th Cir. 1990). The opposing party bears the burden of demonstrating why denial is necessary. A trial court may deny a motion for leave to amend based on various factors, including bad faith, undue delay, prejudice to the opposing party, futility of amendment, and whether the party has previously amended. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178 (1962).
At the outset, the Court notes that it considers whether amendment is appropriate based on the revised proposed second amended complaint. (Doc. No. 60-4.) The revised differs from the original proposed second amended complaint in that the revised adds not two, but one defendant, Eyal Shoshan. Defendant's objections to granting leave to amend are equally applicable to either version. And the Court considers the revised version because it is the version Plaintiff ultimately wishes to submit. (See Reply at 6.) As for denying leave to amend, Defendant makes an argument under each Foman factor. The Court considers each in turn.
Defendant's first argument is that the proposed amendment is an attempt to "sneak in a major expansion of" the scope of the lawsuit. (Opp'n at 6--7.) Plaintiff, Defendant argues, seeks to re-cast the scope of its drainage track patents under the guise of adding an additional party. (Id.) Where the first amended complaint directs Plaintiff's patents towards "drainage systems," the second amended complaint directs the patents towards "lift and slide doors and their associated systems and hardware together with the drainage system." (Id. (internal quotations omitted).)
The Court finds that Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend was not made in bad faith. Certainly, the second amended complaint contains changes beyond the addition of a party. But where the Defendant sees an attempt to expand the scope of the lawsuit, the Court sees non-substantive changes. Defendant believes that changing the wording from "drainage systems" to "lift and slide doors and their associated systems and hardware together with the drainage system" would "substantially alter the scope of the infringement claims." (Opp'n at 6.) But the scope of Plaintiff's patents is not dictated by the complaint; that is what the ...