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Sammy Cuevas v. City of Campbell


October 18, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward J. Davila United States District Judge


United States District Court For the Northern District of California

Presently before the court are Plaintiff Sammy Cuevas's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Complaint, and Defendants City of Campbell, Daniel Rich, Greg Finch, and 19 Does 1-25's (collectively, "Defendants") Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the 20 court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion for Leave, and DENIES Defendant's Motion to Dismiss as 21 moot. 22


This case concerns Plaintiff's termination from his position as a police officer with the Campbell Police Department for allegedly associating with persons engaged in criminal activity 25 and failing to report those associations to his superiors. Plaintiff filed this action on May 9, 2012 in 26 the Santa Clara County Superior Court asserting causes of action under California common law 27 breach of employment contract and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants removed the matter, and the 28 case was reassigned to this court on June 19, 2012. Several days later, on June 22, 2012, 2

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). 3

Plaintiff filed an opposition to that motion on July 6, 2012. That motion is now pending before this 4 court. Plaintiff had the opportunity to amend his complaint as of right until July 27, 2012 pursuant 5 to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) but failed to do so. Several weeks later, on September 6

Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). Defendants oppose the motion. 8

10 should freely give leave when justice so requires"); Morongo Band of Mission Indians v.

7, 2012, Plaintiff filed this motion seeking leave to file an amended complaint pursuant to Federal 7

II.Legal Standard

Leave to amend is generally granted with liberality. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2) ("The court

Rose, 893 F.2d 1074, 1079 (9th Cir. 1990). Leave need not be granted, however, where the 12 amendment of the complaint would cause the opposing party undue prejudice, is sought in bad 13 faith, constitutes an exercise in futility, or creates undue delay. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 14

(1962); Janicki Logging Co. v. Mateer, 42 F.3d 561, 566 (9th Cir. 1994). Not all of the Rule 15 15 considerations are created equal; "it is the consideration of prejudice to the opposing party that 16 carries the greatest weight." Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th 17

Fritz Cos. Sec. Litig., 282 F. Supp. 2d 1105, 1109 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27. 2003) (citing DCD 19 Programs Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 187 (9th Cir. 1987)). 20

22 deciding a motion for leave to amend. Defendants argue that a grant of leave to amend would 23 unduly prejudice them by "denying them a ruling on their Motion to Dismiss/Strike regarding the 24 original complaint." Def. Opp. at 2:2-3, Dkt. No. 18. That an amended complaint would 25 essentially moot Defendants' pending Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike simply does not 26 constitute undue prejudice. Defendants will receive a ruling from this court on any motion to 27 28 Cir. 2003). "The party opposing the amendment bears the burden of showing prejudice." In re 18


The court begins with an examination of prejudice because it is the critical factor in dismiss or motion to strike they may file to the amended complaint. Having offered no other basis 2 for the court's consideration, Defendants have failed to meet their burden of showing prejudice. 3

The court also finds Defendants' additional arguments unpersuasive. Defendants first argue 4 that Plaintiff has failed to show "good cause" why he should be allowed to file an amended 5 complaint after the 21 day "as of right" period. This argument is inapposite. While Federal Rule 6 of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4) does require good cause to modify a schedule set forth in a court's 7 scheduling order, which may include a deadline for amendments, Rule 15 does not require the 8 court to apply a good cause standard to a motion seeking leave to amend filed before a scheduling 9 order has been issued or within the time period specified by a scheduling order. This case has not 10 yet come up for a case management conference, and the court has issued no scheduling order.

Therefore only Rule 15 applies here. 12

13 as those addressed in Defendants' motion to dismiss. Even if, as Defendants suggest, the amended 14 complaint "is not a model of clarity," given the required liberal standard, the court may still allow 15 the amendment. As discussed above, Defendants will have the opportunity to raise these issues 16 anew in a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. 17

Finally, Defendants suggest that granting leave to amend the complaint will not serve 18 judicial economy. To the contrary, the court finds that judicial economy may be served by allowing 19 an amended complaint. The original complaint was filed in state court, and was in large part a 20 form complaint. The proposed amended complaint sets forth additional detail regarding the 21 individuals and events at issue in this case. This amended complaint will aid the court in 22 considering any motion to dismiss or motion to strike the Defendants may file. 23

Second, Defendants argue that the proposed amended complaint contains the same defects


Based on the foregoing: 25

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

Plaintiff shall file the First Amended Complaint as a separate docket entry on

PACER/ECF no later than November 1, 2012.

2. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is DENIED as moot.



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