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Yuzwa v. Oosterdam

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 25, 2013

ANTHONY YUZWA
v.
M V OOSTERDAM, ET AL.

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: (In Chambers:) PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (filed May 31, 2013) [51]

I. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of July 1, 2013, is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.

On March 28, 2012, plaintiff Anthony Yuzwa filed a "Seaman's Complaint for Personal Injuries" ("Complaint") against M/V Oosterdam, IMO Number 922/281, her engines, tackle, apparel, furniture, and appurtenances, in rem ("vessel"); HAL Maritime, Ltd. ("HAL"), erroneously named as Holland America Line, Inc.; Stiletto Entertainment and Stiletto Television, Inc.; and Does 1-10. Dkt. No. 1.

Plaintiff, a Canadian citizen, was hired to work as a performer aboard the M/V Oosterdam cruise ship. Once plaintiff was hired to work on the vessel, he signed a Seagoing Employment Agreement with HAL. HAL has stipulated to being the owner and operator of the vessel and plaintiff's Jones Act employer at the time of the incident. Dkt. No. 29. While on board the vessel rehearsing for a performance, plaintiff alleges that he was severely injured when a stage lift/riser crushed his right foot and toes. Plaintiff further alleges that Stiletto was responsible for choreographing, directing, and managing these rehearsals.

On December 17, 2012, the Court granted defendant HAL's motion to compel arbitration and stayed the case as to HAL.

The Court granted plaintiff's motion for leave to file the operative First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on May 20, 2013.[1] The FAC asserts claims for: (1) Jones Act negligence; (2) unseaworthiness; (3) maintenance and cure; (4) negligence under general maritime law; (5) breach of warranty of workmanlike service; (6) strict products liability; and (7) breach of warranty. Plaintiff's FAC also drops Stiletto Television as a defendant and substitutes Hastings/Clayton/Tucker, Inc. d/b/a Stiletto Entertainment ("Stiletto) in place of Stiletto Entertainment.

Plaintiff now moves for leave to file his proposed Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"). Dkt. No. 51. Defendant opposed the motion on June 10, 2013, and plaintiff replied on June 17. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

As a preliminary matter, the Court must decide whether Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) or 16(b) applies. Generally, a court grants a motion for leave to amend pleadings pursuant to the permissive standard of Rule 15(a). Martinez v. Newport Beach City , 125 F.3d 777, 785 (9th Cir. 1997). However, once the district court enters a scheduling order establishing a deadline for amending pleadings, Rule 16(b) applies. Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co. , 232 F.3d 1271, 1294 (9th Cir. 2000). This is because once the scheduling order is in place, the court must modify the scheduling order to permit an amendment. W. Schwarzer, A. Tashima & M. Wagstaffe, Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial (2006) ยง 8:405.1 (citing Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc. , 975 F.2d at 609).

Here, the Court has already set a deadline of February 28, 2013, for adding parties and amending pleadings. Therefore, plaintiff must demonstrate "good cause" for bringing this motion under Rule 16, then if "good cause" is shown, plaintiff must demonstrate that amendment is proper under Rule 15(a).

A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16

Rule 16(b)(4) provides that a scheduling order shall be modified "only for good cause." "Unlike Rule 15(a)'s liberal amendment policy which focuses on the bad faith of the party seeking to interpose an amendment and the prejudice to the opposing party, Rule 16(b)'s good cause' standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment." Johnson , 975 F.2d at 609. Accordingly, while the court may consider the "existence or degree of prejudice" to the opposing party, the focus of the court's inquiry is upon the moving party's explanation for failure to timely move for leave to amend. Id . "The pretrial schedule may be modified if it cannot reasonably ...


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