United States District Court, E.D. California
LAQUISHA JACKSON, an individual; and A.W., a minor by and through his mother and natural guardian, LAQUISHA JACKSON, Plaintiffs,
REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MORRISON C. ENGLAND JR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
this action, Plaintiff Laquisha Jackson seeks relief from
Defendant Regents of the University of California (“the
University”) on behalf of herself and her son, arising
from the termination of her employment. Specifically, Jackson
alleges that the University improperly fired her as a result
of taking intermittent leave to care for her autistic son. In
their Complaint, ECF No. 2, Plaintiffs set out nine causes of
action based on the Family Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654; the
Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12101-12213; unlawful racial discrimination
under 42 U.S.C. § 1981; California's Fair Employment
Housing Act (“FEHA”), Cal. Gov't Code
§§ 12900-12996; and state tort law.
before the Court is Plaintiffs' Amended Motion for Leave
to Amend the Complaint, ECF No. 12, in which Plaintiffs seek
to add additional claims under FEHA. For the reasons set
forth below, Plaintiffs' motion is DENIED.
worked as a senior custodian at the University of California
Davis Medical Center (“UCDMC”) from 2003 until
her termination in 2015. Jackson's son, A.W., was
diagnosed in 2005 with autism and developmental disabilities.
A.W. is 14 years old, but his cognition is estimated to be
that of a five-year old. A.W. is prone to violent tantrums
and episodes of emotional distress, which require
Jackson's immediate presence to calm him down. Several
times during her employment at UCDMC, she applied for leave
under the FMLA to care for her son. Jackson also attempted to
join a different career track at UCDMC that would provide her
more flexibility to care for her son.
in 2014, Jackson's applications for leave under the FMLA
were rejected. Plaintiffs allege that these rejections were
improper for various reasons. In February 2015, UCDMC
initiated the process of firing Jackson due to poor
attendance and ultimately terminated her. In response,
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on December 11, 2015. On April
1, 2016, Defendant filed an Answer, ECF No. 7, and the Court
entered an Initial Pretrial Scheduling Order on May 3, 2016,
ECF No. 9. About seven and a half months later, Plaintiffs
made the instant motion, seeking leave to add to their
complaint three additional causes of action under FEHA based
on discrimination Jackson allegedly suffered because of her
association with a disabled person.
a motion to amend is subject to Rule 15(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure,  which provides that “[t]he court
should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so
requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). However,
“[o]nce the district court ha[s] filed a pretrial
scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
16[, ] which establishe[s] a timetable for amending
pleadings[, ] that rule's standards control[ ].”
Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604,
607-08 (9th Cir. 1992); see also In re W. States
Wholesale Nat. Gas Antitrust Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 737
(9th Cir. 2013) (relying on Johnson for the same
16(b) requires a party seeking leave to amend to demonstrate
“good cause.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b). “Rule
16(b)'s ‘good cause' standard primarily
considers the diligence of the party seeking
amendment.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609.
“If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should
end.” Id. Although “the focus of the
inquiry is upon the moving party's reasons for seeking
modification, ” a court may make its determination by
noting the prejudice to other parties. Id.
cause is found, the court must then evaluate the request to
amend in light of Rule 15(a)'s liberal standard.
Id. at 608. Leave to amend should be granted unless
amendment: (1) would cause prejudice to the opposing party,
(2) is sought in bad faith, (3) creates undue delay, (4) or
is futile. Chudacoff v. Univ. Med. Ctr. of S. Nev.,
649 F.3d 1143, 1153 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). “Because Rule
16(b)'s ‘good cause' inquiry essentially
incorporates the first three factors, if a court finds that
good cause exists, it should then deny a motion for leave to
amend only if such amendment would be futile.”
Baisa v. Indymac Fed. Reserve, No. CIV. 2:09-1464
WBS JFM, 2010 WL 2348736, at *1 (E.D. Cal. June 7, 2010).
filing their motion, Plaintiffs relied on Rule 15.
See Mot. for Leave to Amend, at 2. However, as noted
above, a Pretrial Scheduling Order issued several months
prior to Plaintiffs filing their motion. Thus,
Plaintiffs' motion must be analyzed under Rule 16, and
the Court construes the motion as having been made under that
argue that Rule 16's good cause standard has been met
because they have been diligent and that Defendant would
suffer no prejudice if the Court granted leave to amend the
complaint. See Pls.' Reply, ECF No. 15, at 3-5.
Though good cause “primarily considers the diligence of
the party seeking the amendment, ” Johnson,
975 F.2d at 609, mere diligence is not sufficient. Good cause
requires a showing that the pretrial scheduling order
“cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the
party seeking the extension.” Id.
to Plaintiffs, the impetus for their motion is the California
Court of Appeal's August 29, 2016, decision in
Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc.,
2 Cal.App. 5th 1028 (2016). Plaintiffs argue that this
decision “broadened the scope of an employer's duty
to accommodate employees who are associated with a disabled
person.” Mot. for Leave ...