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Antonio Simpao Moya, Jr v. Avalon Health Care

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


August 7, 2012

ANTONIO SIMPAO MOYA, JR.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
AVALON HEALTH CARE, INC., A UTAH CORPORATION; AVALON CARE CENTER OF MODESTO, LLC, A UTAH LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY; AND DOES 1-25, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (Docket Entry No. 14)

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On October 27, 2011, Plaintiff Antonio Simpao Moya, Jr., filed a complaint against Defendants Avalon Health Care, Inc., and Avalon Care Center of Modesto, LLC, alleging wrongful termination. (Doc. 1.) On November 29, 2011, Defendants answered the complaint. (Doc. 8.)

On January 31, 2012, this Court issued a Scheduling Conference Order. The parties did not anticipate amendments to the pleadings at that time. (Doc. 12.)

On July 13, 2012, Plaintiff filed his Notice of Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 14; see also Docs. 15-17.) On August 3, 2012, Defendants filed their Non-Opposition to the motion. (Doc. 19.)

DISCUSSION

Legal Standards

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a plaintiff may amend his complaint "once as a matter of course" and without leave of court, before a response has been filed. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1); Bonin v. Calderon, 59 F.3d 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995). Here, because Defendants filed an answer to Plaintiff's original complaint, leave of Court is required. More specifically, rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant part:

Other Amendments. In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.

The United States Supreme Court has stated that

[i]n the absence of any apparent or declared reason -- such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc. -- the leave sought should, as the rules require, be "freely given."

Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

This policy is "to be applied with extreme liberality." Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). The Ninth Circuit has summarized the factors to be considered by the court to include: (1) undue delay; (2) bad faith; (3) prejudice to the opponent; and (4) futility of amendment. Loehr v. Ventura County Cmty. Coll. Dist., 743 F.2d 1310, 1319 (9th Cir. 1984). However, not all of these factors merit equal weight. Eminence Capital, LLC, v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d at 1052. It is the consideration of prejudice that carries the greatest weight. Id. Absent prejudice, or a strong showing of the remaining factors, there is a presumption in favor of granting leave to amend. Id.

Analysis

Plaintiff asserts the First Amended Complaint would assert two new causes of action based upon "the exact same substantive allegations" as those asserted in the original complaint; the amendment neither adds facts nor modifies the prayer for relief. (Doc. 15 at 1.) More specifically, Plaintiff contends Defendants will not be prejudiced by the amendment nor will Defendants encounter undue delay. Finally, Plaintiff contends that the request is brought in good faith and is not futile. (Doc. 15 at 3-5.)

Because Defendants have filed a non-opposition to Plaintiff's motion, coupled with this Court's review of the pleadings and docket in this matter, the motion will be granted. The Court considered the applicable factors and concludes that permitting the amendment will not cause undue delay or prejudice to Defendants, nor is Plaintiff's request futile or made in bad faith.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

In light of the foregoing, the Court ORDERS as follows:

1. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Complaint is GRANTED;

2. Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file the First Amended Complaint on the docket, complete with the required signatures, no later than August 10, 2012; and

3. Defendants SHALL file a responsive pleading in accordance with the applicable rules.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120807

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