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Gardner v. Cafepress Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 25, 2014

STEVEN M. GARDNER, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
CAFEPRESS INC., a Delaware Corporation, et al., Defendants.

ORDER: (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; (2) VACATING HEARING DATE [ECF No. 54]

GONZALO P. CURIEL, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Plaintiff Steven M. Gardner's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 54.) Defendant CafePress, Inc. ("Defendant") filed an opposition. (ECF No. 90.) Plaintiff responded. (ECF No. 97.)

The parties have fully briefed the motion. (ECF Nos. 54, 90, 97.) The Court finds the motion suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). Upon review of the moving papers, admissible evidence, and applicable law, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint. Due to deficiencies in Plaintiff's Proposed Second Amended Complaint (the "Proposed SAC"), (ECF No. 54-1), the Court DENIES Plaintiff leave to file the Proposed SAC. However, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint to add the causes of action specified in his motion and cure the deficiencies noted herein.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On May 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant alleging copyright infringement. (ECF No. 1.) On May 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint ("FAC"). (ECF No. 3.) On April 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed a second lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California against Defendant and PrideAndMore, Gardner v. CafePress Inc., No. 3:14-cv-0792-GPC-JLB ("Gardner II"). (ECF No. 90-2.)

On April 1, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint with the Proposed SAC. (ECF No. 54.) On August 15, 2014, Defendant opposed Plaintiff's motion. (ECF No. 90.) On August 26, 2014, Defendant filed a notice of errata to their opposition. (ECF No. 93.) On August 28, 2014, Plaintiff responded to Defendant's opposition. (ECF No. 97.)[1]

III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. First Amended Complaint

On September 14, 2002, Plaintiff allegedly first published a 2-D artwork titled "Alaska Wildlife." (ECF No. 3-1.) Effective November 24, 2012, Plaintiff obtained a registration in Alaska Wildlife from the United States Copyright Office. (Id.); VA X-XXX-XXX. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant owns and operates https://www.cafepress.com where items that infringed the Alaska Wildlife copyright were advertised and sold. (FAC ¶ 6.) Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff alleges one cause of action for copyright infringement against Defendant. (FAC.)

B. Proposed Second Amended Complaint

First, the Proposed SAC adds a second cause of action for violation of 17 U.S.C. § 1202 ("§ 1202") against Defendant. (Proposed SAC ¶¶ 31-62.) Second, the Proposed SAC adds three additional copyrights to the first cause of action for copyright infringement: (1) "Find 12 Tigers, " VA X-XXX-XXX; (2) "Polar Bears 10 Hidden Bears, " VA X-XXX-XXX; and (3) "Harmony of Wolves, " VA X-XXX-XXX. (Id. ¶ 8.) Third, the Proposed SAC adds a new defendant, Lakin Southall ("Southall"), and alleges both causes of action against Southall. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 23, 48.) Defendant does not oppose the addition of Southall. (ECF No.90, 10 n.4).

IV. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), leave to amend a complaint after a responsive pleading has been filed may be allowed by leave of the court and "shall freely be given when justice so requires." Foman v. Davis , 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a). Granting leave to amend rests in the sound discretion of the trial court. Int'l 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). "This liberality in granting ...


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