United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge
matter came before the Court on June 5, 2017 for a hearing on
Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended
complaint. After carefully considering the parties'
written and oral arguments, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's
motion for the reasons set forth below.
action arises out of an incident that occurred in the early
hours of March 18, 2015, when City of Concord police officers
allegedly dragged Plaintiff Rosamanda Flores
(“Plaintiff” or “Flores”) out of her
home, slammed her on the ground twice, and unlawfully
arrested her. Compl. at ¶¶ 5-28 (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff filed her original complaint on November 16, 2015
against the City of Concord and unnamed Concord Police
Department (“CPD”) officers listed as Doe
Defendants 1-50. The complaint asserts Section 1983 claims
for violation of her Fourth Amendment rights to be free from
excessive force and unreasonable seizures, as well as state
law claims for battery, assault, negligence, false
imprisonment, and violation of the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act.
Id. at ¶¶ 32-64.
5, 2016, Defendant City of Concord (“City”)
served Plaintiff with its initial disclosures, which included
the names of four police officers who the City stated had
pertinent information: Officers Halm, Kindorf, Tucker and
Davis. Ex. A to Defs.' Opp'n (ECF No. 52-1). On July
6, 2016, Defendants produced to Plaintiff an offense report
prepared by Officer Halm on the night of the incident. Ex. B
to Defs.' Opp'n (ECF No. 52-1). The report indicates
that Officer Halm responded to a call about a disturbance,
arrested Plaintiff's partner on suspicion of domestic
violence, and then arrested Plaintiff herself when she
refused to comply with his requests for identification and
statement. Id. It also indicates that Officer
Kindorf photographed Plaintiff and her partner in the jail.
Id. at 4. The last two pages of the report include
medical screening checklists signed by Officers Davis and
Tucker. Id. at 5-6.
September 26, 2016, Plaintiff's counsel advised the Court
in a case management statement that he planned to depose at
least two witnesses and seek leave to file an amended
complaint to substitute the names of the Doe Defendant
officers with their true names. Updated Joint Statement at 2
(ECF No. 31). In an email dated October 18, 2016,
Defendants' counsel restated the names and roles of the
CPD officers involved in the incident: “Ofc. Kindorf
was a cover officer who took photographs at the scene, and
officers Tucker and Davis transported Plaintiff and Ms.
Stephens to the hospital. Ofc. Halm was the only officer who
placed Plaintiff in handcuffs.” Ex. C to Defs.'
Opp'n (ECF No. 52-1).
April 24, 2017, nearly one year after first learning their
names, Plaintiff moved for leave to file an amended complaint
in order to substitute Officers Halm, Kindorf, Tucker and
Davis for four of the Doe Defendants. Mot. at 2 (ECF No. 50).
She also seeks to assert two additional legal theories of how
her injuries were caused, specifically that the officers
violated her rights by (a) acting as integral participants
and (b) failing to intervene. Defendants timely opposed the
motion. Opp'n (ECF No. 52). Plaintiff filed an untimely
reply ten days after the scheduled deadline. Reply (ECF No.
to Rule 15(a), a party may amend a pleading once as a matter
of course; subsequently, it may only amend after obtaining
leave of the Court, or by consent of the adverse party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Rule 15 advises the Court that
“leave shall be freely given when justice so
requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “[T]his policy
is to be applied with extreme liberality.” Owens v.
Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 712 (9th
Cir. 2001) (quotation omitted). “Courts may decline to
grant leave to amend only if there is strong evidence of
‘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, [or]
futility of amendment, etc.'” Sonoma Cnty.
Ass'n of Retired Employees v. Sonoma Cnty., 708 F.3d
1109, 1117 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
these so-called Foman factors, prejudice is the
weightiest and most important. Eminence Capital, LLC v.
Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003).
“Absent prejudice, or a strong showing of any of the
remaining Foman factors, there exists a
presumption under Rule 15(a) in favor of granting
leave to amend.” Id. (emphasis in original).
“The party opposing amendment bears the burden of
showing prejudice.” DCD Programs, Ltd. v.
Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 187 (9th Cir. 1987). Evaluation
of the Foman factors “should be performed with
all inferences in favor of granting the motion.”
Griggs v. Pace Am. Grp., Inc., 170 F.3d 877, 880
(9th Cir. 1999).
oppose Plaintiff's request for leave to amend on the
grounds that it is unduly delayed, performed in bad faith,
prejudicial and futile. The core fact they rely on is that
Plaintiff has known the identities of the officers involved
in her arrest since May 5, 2016 and yet she failed to conduct
the discovery needed to identify their roles and timely amend
her complaint. This delay, they argue, is caused by
Plaintiff's counsel's lack of diligence in pursuing
discovery and prosecuting the case.
counsel contends that he needed time to learn facts from
witnesses and from Plaintiff herself before making the
decision to seek leave to amend. He relies on clearly
established law holding that “undue delay by itself
[…] is insufficient to justify denying a motion to
amend.” Bowles v. Reade, 198 F.3d 752, 758
(9th Cir. 1999). Without evidence of bad faith or undue
prejudice, he argues, the motion must be granted.
exercising its discretion, the Court is guided by the
underlying purpose of Rule 15(a)-“to facilitate
decision on the merits rather than on the pleadings or
technicalities.” United States v. Webb, 655
F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981). Plaintiff's delay in
pursuing amendment in this case is undue and unjustified; her
counsel deserves to be admonished and warned that further
delays will not be tolerated. And yet, as discussed below,
the Court finds that the evidence of bad ...