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Josephine Flores v. City of Tulare

October 31, 2011

JOSEPHINE FLORES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF TULARE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO FILE SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINT (Document 28)

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Josephine Flores' ("Flores" or "Plaintiff") Motion to File Supplemental Complaint, filed on August 25, 2011. (Doc. 28.) Plaintiff seeks to allege new occurrences and events that have transpired subsequent to the filing of Plaintiff's March 8, 2010, original complaint. (Pl.'s Mot. Sup. Compl., 2: 22-25, Doc. 28.) On September 8, 2011, the City of Tulare and Tony Espinoza (collectively referred to as the "Defendants") filed an opposition to the Motion. (Doc. 29.) *fn1 Plaintiff filed a Reply on September 17, 2011. (Doc. 30.) The case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on October 17, 2011. (Doc. 33.) The Court examined the motion and determined that this matter was suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). The hearing scheduled for September 26, 2011, was vacated. Having considered the moving, opposition and reply papers, the Supplemental Complaint, as well as the Court's file, the motion is GRANTED.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed her initial Complaint on March 8, 2010. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff's Complaint alleges federal civil rights violations and several common law tort claims against the Tulare Police Department and several of its officers. Id. Plaintiff's claims arise from a February 10, 2009 incident in which the Defendants used unreasonable and excessive force in executing a search of Plaintiff's home. (Pl.'s Compl., ¶¶ 7-10, Doc. 1.) On May 18, 2010, Defendants filed their Answer to the Complaint, denying all factual allegations and legal claims relating to the February 10, 2009 incident. (Doc. 7.) Due to a subsequent substitution of attorney for Plaintiff, the Court previously noted in a minute order that Plaintiff's new counsel would be permitted to "evaluate [the] case and file [a] motion to amend her complaint." (Doc. 25.)

In the proposed Supplemental Complaint, Plaintiff seeks to add an additional cause of action for retaliatory arrest, warrant execution and prosecution. (Pl.'s Sup. Compl., ¶¶ 47-64, Doc. 28, Attach. No. 1.) Plaintiff's Supplemental Complaint alleges that, in retaliating against Plaintiff for instituting the instant civil action, Defendants, without probable cause, instigated, influenced or otherwise caused the filing of criminal charges against Plaintiff. Id. at ¶¶ 51-53. Defendants oppose the inclusion of these new claims by, inter alia, arguing the legal futility in asserting these claims. (Defs.' Op., 5: 6-24; 6: 10 - 7: 20, Doc. 29.)

The Court may take judicial notice of any fact which is ". . . not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed. R. Evid. 201; see also MGIC Indem. Corp. v. Weisman, 803 F.2d 500, 504 (9th Cir.1986) (Court may take judicial notice of official records and reports). As the transcripts of Flores' arraignment proceedings constitute official records that are capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned, this Court can take judicial notice of them. As such, this Court GRANTS Defendant's request to take judicial notice of Exhibits A and B to Defendants' Opposition.

DISCUSSION

A. Supplemental Pleading Standard

The filing of supplemental pleadings is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(d), which provides:

On motion and reasonable notice, the court may, on just terms, permit a party to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented. The court may permit supplementation even though the original pleading is defective in stating a claim or defense. The court may order that the opposing party plead to the supplemental pleading within a specified time.

The Ninth Circuit has entrusted application of this rule to the district court's broad discretion.

Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 473 (9th Cir.1988) ("Rule 15(d) is intended to give district courts broad discretion in allowing supplemental pleadings. The rule is a tool of judicial economy and convenience. Its use is therefore favored."). As Judge Haynsworth observed almost a half-century ago:

Rule 15(d) . . . is a useful device, enabling a court to award complete relief, or more nearly complete relief, in one action, and to avoid the cost, delay and waste of separate actions which must be separately tried and prosecuted. So useful they are and of such service in the efficient administration of justice that they ought to be allowed as of course, unless some particular reason for disallowing them appears, though the ...


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