United States District Court, C.D. California
NORMA NAVARRO ET AL.
FRED HAMILTON ET AL.
Present: Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(IN CHAMBERS) - DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A
COUNTERCLAIM (Dkt. 13, filed February 15, 2017)
Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral
argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; CD. Cal. Local
Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of March 20, 2017 is
vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
8, 2016, plaintiffs Norma Navarro and Waldemar Valentin filed
this action in San Bernardino Superior Court against Fred
Hamilton, Hamilton Transportation Services, LLC, and Does
1-50. Dkt 1-1.
case arises from a collision between plaintiffs' vehicle
and Hamilton's truck. Plaintiffs allege that, on July 4,
2014, at approximately 1:05 a.m., Valentin was driving
northbound on Interstate 15 while Navarro was sitting in the
passenger seat of Valentin's vehicle. Id. ¶
8. At that time, Hamilton had parked his truck on the right
shoulder of the highway. Id. Valentin lost control
of his vehicle and collided into Hamilton's parked truck.
Id. Plaintiffs assert two claims against defendants:
(1) negligence and negligence per se; and (2) negligent
hiring, supervision, and retention. Id. ¶¶
August 18, 2016, defendants filed an answer to
plaintiffs' complaint. Dkt. 1-2.
August 30, 2016, defendants removed the action to this Court
on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Dkt. 1.
February 15, 2017, defendants timely filed a motion for leave
to file a counterclaim or an amended answer. Dkt. 13-1
("Motion"). Valentin filed an untimely opposition
to defendants' motion on March 7, 2017. Dkt.
16("Opp'n"). Defendants filed a reply on March
8, 2017. Dkt. 17.
carefully considered the parties' arguments the Court
finds and concludes as follows.
are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13, which
categorizes counterclaims as either compulsory or permissive.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 13. A compulsory counterclaim is
one that "arises out of the transaction or occurrence
that is the subject matter of the opposing party's
claims." Fed.R.Civ.P. 13(a)(1)(A). A compulsory
counterclaim must be "mature and owned by the pleader at
the time he serves his pleading." Procare Labs..
Inc. v. Gull Labs.. Inc.. 50 F.3d 15, *2 (9th Cir.
1995); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 13(e)
("The court may permit a party to file a supplemental
pleading asserting a counterclaim that matured or was
acquired by the party after serving an earlier
pleading."). When a counterclaim is compulsory, it is
forfeited if it is not raised in the party's pleading,
including its answer to a complaint. Pochiro v.
Prudential Ins. Co.. 827 F.2d 1246, 1249 (9th Cir.
1987). The Ninth Circuit applies the "logical
relationship test" to determine whether a counterclaim
is compulsory. See id. Applying the logical
relationship test, the court must examine "whether the
essential facts of the various claims are so logically
connected that considerations of judicial economy and
fairness dictate that all the issues be resolved in one
lawsuit." Id. If a party timely seeks leave to
file a counterclaim that matured after the party's
initial pleading, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 13(e), "the
court should grant it applying the same standard as that of
an amendment under Rule 15." Kuschner v. Nationwide
Credit. Inc.. 256 F.R.D. 684, 689 (E.D. Cal. 2009).
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 provides that after a responsive
pleading has been filed, "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).
leave to amend is sought, the decision whether to grant leave
to amend "is within the sound discretion of the trial
court." United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977,
979 (9th Cir. 1981). 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). "Five factors are taken
into account to assess the propriety of a motion for leave to
amend: [(1)] bad faith, [(2)] undue delay, [(3)] prejudice to
the opposing party, [(4)] futility of amendment, and [(5)]
whether the plaintiff has previously amended the
complaint." Johnson v. Buckley, 356 F.3d 1067,
1077 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Nunes v. Ashcroft, 348
F.3d 815, 818 (9th Cir. 2003)). Some factors may be ...