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Dean Beaver, et al v. Tarsadia Hotels

April 17, 2013

DEAN BEAVER, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TARSADIA HOTELS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge

ORDER:

(1) GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION AMENDED COMPLAINT; AND

(2) DENYING DEFENDANT PLAYGROUND DESTINATION PROPERTIES, INC.'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AS TO PLAINTIFFS' SECTION 17200 FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD CLAIM [DKT. NOS. 40, 43.]

Pending before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint and Defendant Playground Destination Properties, Inc.'s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Plaintiffs' Section 17200 Claim. [Dkt. Nos. 40 & 43.] For the reasons set out below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint and DENIES Defendant Playground Destination Properties, Inc.'s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as MOOT.

I. BACKGROUND

This proposed class action was brought by purchasers of condominium hotel units through the Hard Rock Hotel & Condominium project ("Hard Rock") in San Diego, California. Members of the general public were offered an opportunity to purchase ownership interests in individual Hard Rock units. Plaintiffs commenced this action on behalf of persons who purchased units at the Hard Rock between May 2006 and December 2007. The Complaint brings causes of action against the "developers" and "agents" of Hard Rock. Defendants include: Tarsadia Hotels, Tushar Patel, B.U. Patel, Gregory Casserly, 5th Rock, LLC, MPK One, LLC, and Gaslamp Holdings, LLC (collectively, "Developer Defendants") and Playground Destination Properties, Inc. ("Playground"). Defendant Gaslamp Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of the "Seller," Defendant 5th Rock, LLC, owned the land on which the Hard Rock was built. The Purchase Contract and Escrow Instructions ("Contract") were signed on Defendant 5th Rock's behalf by its managing member, Defendant MKP One, LLC ("MKP"). Defendant Tarsadia Hotels ("Tarsadia") is the parent corporation of Defendants 5th Rock and MKP, and Defendants Tushtar Patel, B.U. Patel, and Gregory Casserly are Defendant Tarsadia's principals. Defendant Playground was the real estate broker for Hard Rock.

Plaintiffs assert that Defendants violated the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et seq ("ILSA") and the Subdivided Lands Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code sections 11000 et seq. ("SLA") by failing to disclose and intentionally concealing the Plaintiffs' right to rescind their purchase contracts within two years of the date of signing the Contracts. [Dkt. No. 21 at 2.] Both statutes impose certain disclosure requirements upon developers. If developers fail to comply, the statutes provide the purchaser with a right of rescission, other equitable relief, and damages. [Dkt. No. 21 at 3-4.] Under 15 U.S.C. § 1703(d)(2) of the ILSA, a developer is required to include in the buyer default provision of the purchase contract written notice of a 20-day opportunity for the buyer to remedy default or breach of contract. [Dkt. No. 21 at 4.] Plaintiffs claim that because Developer Defendants allegedly did not include the default remedy provision in the Contracts, Plaintiffs then had an absolute two-year right to rescind. [Dkt. No. 21 at 4.] Furthermore, Plaintiffs allege that the two-year right must be set forth in the public report, a document required by both the ILSA and SLA. [Dkt. No. 21 at 4-5.] Plaintiffs allege that this provision was not included in the public report they received. [Dkt. No. 21 at 5 & Ex. C.] Plaintiffs argue that Defendants violated the ILSA and SLA by intentionally omitting the statutory notice of right of rescission from sale documents and making affirmative misrepresentations regarding the right to rescind to prevent Plaintiffs from exercising it. [Dkt. No. 21 at 4.]

On August 17, 2011, the proposed class action was removed to this Court. [Dkt. No. 1.]

On August 24, 2011, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). [Dkt. Nos. 6, 11, 12.] This Court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part, granting Plaintiffs leave to amend. [Dkt. No. 20.] Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") on December 22, 2011 and Defendants moved again to dismiss the SAC on January 5, 2012. [Dkt. Nos. 21, 22, 23.] On May 2, 2012, this Court granted in part and denied in part the Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. [Dkt. No. 34.] On September 5, 2012, this Court ordered that any motion to join other parties, to amend the pleadings, or to file additional pleadings shall be filed on or before September 27, 2012. [Dkt. No. 42.]

On August 8, 2012, Defendant Playground Destination Properties, Inc. ("Playground") filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Plaintiffs' Section 17200 Claim. [Dkt. No 40.] On September 27, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to amend to file a Third Amended Complaint ("TAC"). [Dkt. No. 43.] On October 12, 2012, the case was transferred to the undersigned judge. [Dkt. No. 52.] On November 16, 2012, Defendant Playground responded in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion. [Dkt. No. 55.] Defendant Tarsadia Hotels filed a joinder in Defendant Playground's opposition. [Dkt. No. 56.]

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), leave to amend a complaint after a responsive pleading may be allowed by leave of the court and such leave "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). Granting leave to amend rests in the sound discretion of the trial court. International Ass'n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers v. Republic Airlines, 761 F.2d 1386, 1390 (9th Cir. 1985). This discretion must be guided by the strong federal policy favoring the disposition of cases on the merits and permitting amendments with "extreme liberality." DCD Programs Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186 (9th Cir. 1987). "Five factors are taken into account to assess the propriety of a motion for leave to amend: bad faith, undue delay, prejudice to the opposing party, futility of amendment, and whether the plaintiff has previously amended the complaint." Johnson v. Buckley, 356 F.3d 1067, 1077 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Nunes v. Ashcroft, 348 F.3d 815, 818 (9th Cir. 2003)). In practice, however, courts more freely grant plaintiffs leave to amend pleadings in order to add claims than new parties. Union Pacific R.R. Co. v. Nevada Power Co., 950 F.2d 1429, 1432 (9th Cir. 1991).

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs seek to amend the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") to add facts Plaintiffs claim they learned one week prior to the filing ...


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