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Rosales v. Fitflop Usa, LLC

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 17, 2013

ARIANA ROSALES and CHARLICE ARNOLD, Plaintiffs,
v.
FITFLOP USA, LLC, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT [DOC. 64]

THOMAS J. WHELAN, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Charlice Arnold's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint ("SAC").[1] ( Mtn. [Doc. 64].) Defendant FitFlop USA, LLC, opposes the motion, in part. ( See Opp'n [Doc. 65].)

The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument. See S.D. Cal. Civ. L.R. 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES IN PART and GRANTS IN PART Plaintiff's motion [Doc. 64].

I. BACKGROUND

On June 6, 2012, Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford issued the Scheduling Order setting July 9, 2012 as the deadline to join other parties, amend pleadings, or file additional pleadings. ( Sched. Order [Doc. 35] 1:20-21.) Discovery commenced the same day. ( Opp'n 2:12.) On August 16, 2012, counsel for Defendant took Arnold's deposition and promptly sent a copy to her attorneys. ( Id. 3:11-12.) The deposition detailed information regarding Arnold's "multiple entanglements with the judicial system, " which counsel for Defendant had learned of a year earlier by searching public records. ( Id. 3:1-10.)

On August 27, 2012, the parties filed a joint motion for determination of a discovery dispute. ( See Jt. Mtn. [Doc. 40].) The dispute related to Arnold's refusal to produce certain medical records. ( Jt. Mtn. 1:11-25.) Arnold argued, in part, that the documents were not relevant because she was not seeking damages for personal injuries. ( Id. 8:9-11, 16-19.) On December 19, 2012, Judge Crawford issued an order finding that Arnold's argument was inconsistent with certain allegations in the First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). ( See Order [Doc. 58], 5:1-6:5.) Accordingly, Judge Crawford ordered that Arnold either produce the documents requested or file a motion to amend limited to clarifying "that they are not seeking any damages for physical or emotional injury and are only seeking economic damages limited to the price of the FitFlp products they allegedly purchased..." ( Id. 6:14-16.)

On January 28, 2013, Arnold filed the current motion to amend the FAC to clarify the damages sought, as well as to add an evidentiary allegation and another named plaintiff. Defendant opposes the request to add another named plaintiff.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Ordinarily, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 15(a) governs motions for leave to amend the complaint. Rule 15(a) provides that after a responsive pleading has been served, a party may amend its complaint only with leave of court, and leave "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Five factors are taken into account to assess the propriety of a motion for leave to amend: (1) bad faith, (2) undue delay, (3) prejudice to the opposing party, (4) futility of amendment, and (5) whether the plaintiff has previously amended the complaint. Johnson v. Buckley , 356 F.3d 1067, 1077 (9th Cir. 2004). "Prejudice to the opposing party is the most important factor." Jackson, 902 F.2d at 1387.

Once the court-ordered deadline for amending pleadings has passed, Rule 16 governs. This Rule provides that a "party seeking to amend [a] pleading after [the] date specified in [the] scheduling order must first show good cause' for amendment [of the scheduling order] under Rule 16(b), then, if good cause' be shown, the party must demonstrate that [the] amendment was proper under Rule 15." Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc. , 975 F.2d 604, 608 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Forstmann v. Culp , 114 F.R.D. 83, 85 (M.D. N.C. 1987) and Financial Holding Corp. v. Garnac Grain Co. , 127 F.R.D. 165, 166 (W.D. Mo. 1987)). Furthermore, the "good cause' standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment." Id. at 609. "While a court may take into account any prejudice to the party opposing modification of the scheduling order, the focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party's reasons for seeking modification... [i]f that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.'" In re Western States Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation, ___ F.3d ___, 2013 WL 1449919, at *14 (9th Cir. April 10, 2013) (quoting id). In ruling on matters such as these, which involve the supervision of the pretrial phase of litigation, "[t]he district court is given broad discretion." Miller v. Safeco Title Ins. Co. , 758 F.2d 364, 369 (9th Cir. 1985).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Request to Clarify Damages Sought

Arnold seeks to amend the complaint to clarify that she does not seek recovery for personal injury on behalf of herself or the proposed class. ( Mtn. 1:8-12.) To resolve the discovery dispute regarding damages, Magistrate Crawford allowed Arnold to amend the complaint on or before January 28, 2013 for the limited purpose of clarifying that she is "not seeking any damages for physical or emotional injury" and "only seeking economic damages." ( Order 6:14-17.) Arnold's proposed amendment regarding damages meets this deadline and falls within the limited scope allowed by Magistrate Crawford's order. ( Mtn. )

Additionally, Defendant does not oppose this limited amendment. Because the amendment meets the Rule 15 standard, the Court grants Arnold leave to ...


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