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Roberts v. Long

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 29, 2014

JEFFREY ROBERTS, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID B. LONG, Warden, et al., Respondents.

ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED PETITION [ECF No. 13]

DAVID H. BARTICK, Magistrate Judge.

On July 21, 2014, Petitioner Jeffrey Roberts, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a motion for leave to file an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus. (ECF No. 13.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds Petitioner's motion for leave to amend should be GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 24, 2014, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (ECF No. 1.) On March 3, 2014, the Court dismissed his Petition without prejudice because Petitioner failed to satisfy the filing fee requirement. (ECF No. 3.) Petitioner subsequently paid the filing fee and the Court re-opened the case. (ECF Nos. 4, 5.)

On June 24, 2014, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the Petition arguing that the Petition fails to state a proper claim for federal habeas relief, specifically, that the Petition is deficient because it fails to challenge the legality or duration of Petitioner's confinement and it fails to allege a violation of any federal law. (ECF No. 10.) Instead of filing an opposition to Respondent's motion to dismiss, on July 21, 2014, Petitioner filed the instant motion for leave to file an amended petition. (ECF No. 13.)[1] Respondent filed an opposition to the motion for leave to amend on August 13, 2014. (ECF No. 15.)

II. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standards

Habeas petitions "may be amended or supplemented as provided in the rules of procedure applicable to civil actions." 28 U.S.C. § 2242.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) provides that "[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within: (A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier." FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a)(1)(B). "In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires." FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a)(2). Whether to grant leave to amend rests in the sound discretion of the trial court. See Bonin v. Calderon, 59 F.3d 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995) (citing Outdoor Sys., Inc. v. City of Mesa, 997 F.2d 604, 614 (9th Cir. 1993)). "In exercising its discretion a court must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15 - to facilitate decision on the merits rather than on the pleadings or technicalities.'" DCD Programs, Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186 (9th Cir. 1987) (quoting United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981)).

In general, "Rule 15's policy of favoring amendments to pleadings should be applied with extreme liberality.'" Webb, 655 F.2d at 979 (quoting Rosenberg Bros. & Co., Inc. v. Arnold, 283 F.2d 406 (9th Cir. 1960) (per curiam)). The policy of favoring amendments under Rule 15(a) "is applied even more liberally to pro se litigants" than to parties represented by counsel. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1135 (9th Cir. 1987). The Supreme Court has outlined several factors a district court should consider in determining whether to permit leave to amend:

In the absence of any apparent or declared reason - such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc. - the leave sought should, as the rules require, be "freely given."

Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a)(2); see also Bonin, 59 F.3d at 845 (factors to consider include "bad faith, undue delay, prejudice to the opposing party, and whether the party has previously amended his pleadings.") (citing W. Shoshone Nat'l Council v. Molini, 951 F.2d 200, 204 (9th Cir. 1991)); Ascon Props., Inc. v. Mobile Oil Co., 866 F.2d 1149, 1160 (9th Cir. 1989) (leave to amend under Rule 15(a)(2) "need not be granted where the amendment... would cause the opposing party undue prejudice, is sought in bad faith, constitutes an exercise in futility, or creates undue delay.") (citations omitted).

The Ninth Circuit has recognized that "[n]ot all of the factors merit equal weight, " and "it is the consideration of prejudice to the opposing party that carries the greatest weight." Eminence Capital, LLC v. Spechler, 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing DCD Programs, 833 F.2d at 185). "The party opposing amendment bears the burden of showing prejudice." DCD Programs, 833 F.2d at 187 (citing Beeck v. Aquaslide N' Dive Corp., 562 F.2d 537, 540 (8th Cir. 1977)). "Absent prejudice, or a strong showing of any of the remaining Foman factors, there exists a presumption under Rule ...


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