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Guerrero v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 29, 2014

VICTOR GUERRERO, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION; STATE PERSONNEL BOARD; and, in their official capacities, JEFFREY BEARD, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; SUZANNE AMBROSE, Executive Officer of State Personnel Board; K. CARROLL, Lieutenant; D. SHARP, Sergeant; BARBARA LEASHORE, Hearing Officer; C. HESTER, Lieutenant;
v.
MAYOL, Lieutenant; S. COX, Lieutenant;
v.
MYERS, Sergeant; JOHN (or JANE) DOES 1-100, all of whose true names are unknown, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT AND VACATING HEARING

WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

In this employment-discrimination action, plaintiff moves for leave to file a third amended complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the motion is GRANTED. The November 20 hearing is hereby VACATED.

STATEMENT

Prior orders recounted the history of this action so it will not be repeated herein (Dkt. Nos. 52, 104). In short, plaintiff Victor Guerrero, identified as Latino, applied to be a correctional officer with defendant California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). On his questionnaire, he admitted to previously using a false social security number. As a result, he was withheld from the list of eligible candidates, a decision he appealed to defendant State Personnel Board ("SPB"). CDCR's decision was affirmed by SPB. He then applied again and was withheld again. He commenced this lawsuit in December 2013.

A May 2014 order, inter alia, granted CDCR's motion to dismiss the equal protection claim and granted SPB's motion to dismiss the Title VII claim. A July 2014 order then denied without prejudice plaintiff's motion for leave to file a third amended complaint to allow both sides the benefit of discovery. A September 2014 order denied two motions for summary judgment (Dkt. Nos. 52, 79, 104).

The operative pleading alleges a procedural due process claim against CDCR and SPB, and a Title VII claim against CDCR. The proposed third amended complaint seeks to add a Title VII claim against SPB and an equal protection claim against CDCR and SPB. Fact discovery closes in January 2015 and trial begins in May 2015.

ANALYSIS

The original deadline for seeking pleading amendments was in May 2014 (Dkt. No. 40). Plaintiff must thus demonstrate "good cause" for the amendment, pursuant to Rule 16(b). The proposed amendment should be denied if it prejudices the opposing party, is sought in bad faith, produces an undue delay, or is futile. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 608 (9th Cir. 1992).

1. GOOD CAUSE.

Mr. Guerrero has been diligent in pursuing the proposed claims and there is no evidence of undue delay, prejudice, or bad faith. When Mr. Guerrero commenced this action in December 2013, the complaint alleged, inter alia, equal protection and Title VII claims. Those claims (and others) were dismissed in May 2014. On May 29, plaintiff moved for leave to amend those claims. The motion was denied without prejudice and plaintiff was given until September 30 to file a renewed motion so that both sides would have the benefit of some discovery. Mr. Guerrero timely filed the instant motion. Accordingly, this order finds good cause to modify the schedule for the proposed amendment (Dkt. Nos. 1, 52, 79, 85).

The central dispute raised herein is whether it would be futile to add a Title VII claim against SPB and/or an equal protection claim against CDCR and SPB. Both proposed claims are addressed below.

2. TITLE VII AGAINST SPB.

An entity that is not the direct employer of a plaintiff may nevertheless be liable under Title VII if it "interfered with the employee's relationship" or "had some peculiar control over the employee's relationship with the direct employer." Anderson v. ...


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