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Luca v. City of Port Hueneme; Does 1-10

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 17, 2014

MICHAEL JAMES De LUCA, individually and as successor in interest to the deceased; VINCENT PETER De LUCA, individually and as successor in interest to the deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF PORT HUENEME; DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND [34] AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS [30]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case arises from the fatal shooting of Michael DeLuca by two police officers in the City of Port Hueneme Police Department. Individually and as successors in interest, the decedent's children, Michael James DeLuca and Vincent Peter DeLuca, filed suit against the City of Port Hueneme. Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint to add the officers who shot the decedent and Defendant filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleading. (ECF Nos. 34, 30.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Amend and DENIES Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.[1] ( Id .)

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On September 6, 2013, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Defendant DOE Officers, now known to be officers Robin Matlock and Christopher Graham, observed Michael DeLuca in his vehicle parked in a parking lot at Hueneme Beach Park. (Compl. ¶ 27.) Plaintiffs allege that the officers approached the vehicle and, without provocation or justification, fired a number of shots, fatally wounding DeLuca. ( Id . ¶ 28.)

After being shot, DeLuca was immobile, bleeding profusely, and in critical need of emergency medical care. ( Id . ¶ 29.) Plaintiffs allege that the officers did not timely summon medical care or allow medical personnel to treat DeLuca. ( Id .) Plaintiffs further allege that the delay in medical care caused DeLuca extreme physical and emotional pain and suffering, and was a contributing cause to his death. ( Id . ¶ 30.)

Plaintiffs allege that the use of deadly force against DeLuca was excessive and objectively unreasonable under the circumstances, particularly because DeLuca did not pose an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to anyone at the time of the shooting. ( Id . ¶ 31.)

On April 9, 2014, DeLuca's children, Michael James DeLuca and Vincent Peter DeLuca filed the instant action, individually and as successors in interest, against the City of Port Hueneme. ( Id . ¶ 1.) The officers were not named defendants. ( Id .) Plaintiffs are the decedent's successors in interest as defined in § 377.11 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and succeed his interest in this action as his biological children. ( Id . ¶ 31.) Plaintiffs allege five separate violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, false arrest/false imprisonment, battery, and negligence. ( Id .)

On September 22, 2013, the officers who shot Deluca were deposed. (Partow Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs prepared a Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint to add the officers before the officers' depositions but waited to file. (Mot. 3.) Strategically, Plaintiffs decided to depose the officers as non-parties so they could not attend each other's depositions, and Plaintiffs could obtain testimony uninfluenced by the other officer. ( Id .)

On September 23, 2014, Plaintiffs' counsel began trial before this Court in the matter of Ruvalcaba v. City of Los Angeles . (Mot. 3.) Due to counsel's participation in that trial and other matters immediately following, counsel inadvertently forgot to file the Motion for Leave to Amend until after receipt of Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. ( Id .)

Pursuant to the Court's Scheduling and Case Management Order, the last date to amend pleadings or add parties was October 6, 2014. (ECF No. 14.)

On October 31, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a separate action naming officers Matlock and Graham as Defendants. (Case No. 2:14-cv-08473, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiffs will consider dismissing that case, which is assigned to this Court and based on the same facts, should the Court give leave to amend. (Mot. 1.)

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Motion for Leave ...


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