United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND THE CASE SCHEDULE AND TO
ALLOW THE FILING OF A FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC.
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Doe alleges the defendants are liable for civil rights
violations arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, related to
incidents while she was incarcerated in a juvenile detention
facility. (See generally Doc. 1) She now seeks to
amend her complaint to identify Anderson's supervisor,
Heathe Appleton, as a defendant. (Doc. 19) The County of Kern
oppose the motion, asserting leave to amend is futile and
could prejudice Mr. Appleton. (Doc. 20)
the Court finds the amended complaint states at least one
non-futile claim and leave to amend is appropriate under
Rules 15 and 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Plaintiff's motion to amend is DENIED in
PART and GRANTED in PART.
alleges that that while she “was incarcerated at the
James G. Bowles juvenile detention facility, she was a victim
of grooming, exploitation, voyeurism and sexual abuse by
Defendant Anderson.” (Doc. 1 at 2, ¶ 2) According
to Plaintiff, “Defendant Anderson viewed Plaintiff
while she showered and peeped into her cell while she was
using the toilet on multiple occasions.” (Id.)
In addition, Plaintiff asserts that “Defendant Anderson
told Plaintiff that he liked watching her shower, suggested
that she should leave her boyfriend for him, and, after a
period of time during which he assumed greater and greater
familiarity with her, directly propositioned Plaintiff for
sex.” (Id.) She alleges she “reported
[this] misconduct to a close friend, to her parents, and to a
counselor, which led to the police being immediately
notified.” (Id. at 2, ¶ 2)
asserts the allegations of “sexual abuse of Plaintiff
and other wards and juvenile hall” against Defendant
Anderson were investigated by the Bakersfield Police
Department, which “submitted a report to the Kern
County District Attorney's Office to request that
… Anderson be charged with three counts of P.C.
289(a)(1)(A) (sexual penetration), three counts of P.C. 149
(assault under color of authority), two counts of P.C.
647(j)(1) (invasion of privacy), and one count of P.C.
647.6(a)(1) (annoying or molesting a child).” (Doc. 1
at 2-3, ¶ 3)
contends “Defendants Does 1-10, ” collectively
identified as “Additional Defendants, ”
“were employees of the County of Kern” who acted
“under color of law within the course and scope of
their duties with respect to their employer.” (Doc. 1
at 4, ¶ 9) She asserts the Additional Defendants
“failed to intervene to prevent …
[Anderson's] misconduct, even though they had an
opportunity to do so.” (Id. at 9, ¶35) In
addition, Plaintiff alleges that the Additional Defendants
“were deliberately indifferent to the risk or danger of
sexual abuse of [Plaintiff] and similarly situated
wards.” (Id.) She contends that as of the
filing of the complaint, neither Anderson nor the Additional
Defendants “have been disciplined, reprimanded,
retrained, suspended, or otherwise penalized in connection
with the incident.” (Id. at 12, ¶ 67)
upon the foregoing facts, Plaintiff filed a complaint on
September 30, 2016, in which she identified the following
causes of action: (1) “Civil Rights Action” under
42 U.S.C. § 1983- for violations of the Fourth, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendments-against Anderson and the Additional
Defendants; (2) substantive due process violation against
Anderson and the Additional Defendants; (3) unconstitutional
custom, practice, or policy in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§1983 against the County of Kern; (4) inadequate
training/ policy of inaction, against the County; (5)
ratification, against the County; and (6) supervisor
liability, against the Additional Defendants. (See
generally Doc. 1 at 8-14)
April 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend
her complaint pursuant to Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, seeking “to substitute the name
‘Heathe Appleton' for the defendant fictitiously
named as “Doe 1.” (Doc. 18 at 2) However, the
Court determined that Plaintiff made substantive changes to
the allegations in her complaint, and was not seeking only to
identify one of the “Doe” defendants. (Doc. 24 at
4) Upon reviewing the proposed amended complaint, the Court
found that the amendment was futile because she failed
“allege any facts that support her claim for
supervisor liability against Appleton, and [did] no more than
offer legal conclusions.” (Id. at 9) Thus,
Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint was denied
without prejudice. (Id. at 11)
22, 2017, Plaintiff filed the motion to amend now pending
before the Court, again seeking to identify Heathe Appleton
as a defendant. (Doc. 29) The County filed its opposition to
the motion on June 5, 2017, arguing Plaintiff fails to
demonstrate good cause, and that the proposed amendments are
futile. (Doc. 31 at 3-5) Further, the County asserts
permitting the amendment is potentially prejudicial to Mr.
Anderson. (Id. at 6) Plaintiff filed her brief in
reply on June 12, 2017. (Doc. 34)
courts must enter scheduling orders in actions to
“limit the time to join other parties, amend the
pleadings, complete discovery, and file motions.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(3). In addition, scheduling orders may
“modify the timing of disclosures” and
“modify the extent of discovery.” Id.
Once entered by the court, a scheduling order “controls
the course of the action unless the court modifies it.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(d). Scheduling orders are intended to
alleviate case management problems. Johnson v. Mammoth
Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 610 (9th Cir. 1992). As
such, a scheduling order is “the heart of case
management.” Koplove v. Ford Motor Co., 795
F.2d 15, 18 (3rd Cir. 1986).
scheduling orders are “not a frivolous piece of paper,
idly entered, which can be cavalierly disregarded by counsel
without peril.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 610
(quoting Gestetner Corp. v. Case Equip. Co., 108
F.R.D. 138, 141 (D. Maine 1985)). Good cause must be shown
for modification of the scheduling order. Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4). The Ninth Circuit explained:
Rule 16(b)'s “good cause” standard primarily
considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment.
The district court may modify the pretrial schedule if it
cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party
seeking the extension. Moreover, carelessness is not
compatible with a finding of diligence and offers no reason
for a grant of relief. Although existence of a degree of
prejudice to the party opposing the modification might supply
additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus of the inquiry
is upon the moving party's reasons for modification. If
that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.
Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). Therefore, parties must
“diligently attempt to adhere to the schedule
throughout the course of the litigation.” Jackson
v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 607 (E.D. Cal. 1999).
The party requesting modification of a scheduling order has
the burden to demonstrate:
(1) that she was diligent in assisting the Court in creating
a workable Rule 16 order, (2) that her noncompliance with a
Rule 16 deadline occurred or will occur, notwithstanding her
efforts to comply, because of the development of matters
which could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated
at the time of the Rule 16 scheduling conference, and (3)
that she was diligent in seeking amendment of the Rule 16
order, once it become apparent that she could not comply with
Id. at 608 (internal citations omitted).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), a party may amend a pleading once as a
matter of course within 21 days of service, or if the
pleading is one to which a response is required, 21 days
after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f).
“In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading
only with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Because
Defendant does not consent to the filing an amended
complaint, Plaintiff seeks the leave of the Court.
or denying leave to amend a complaint is in the discretion of
the Court, Swanson v. United States Forest Service,
87 F.3d 339, 343 (9th Cir. 1996), though leave should be
“freely give[n] when justice so requires.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “In exercising this discretion,
a court must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15
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). Consequently,
the policy to grant leave to amend is applied with extreme
is no abuse of discretion “in denying a motion to amend
where the movant presents no new facts but only new theories
and provides no satisfactory explanation for his failure to
fully develop his contentions originally.” Bonin v.
Calderon, 59 F.3d 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995); see also
Allen v. City of Beverly Hills, 911 F.2d 367, 374 (9th
Cir. 1990). After a defendant files an answer, leave to amend
should not be granted where “amendment would cause
prejudice to the opposing party, is sought in bad faith, is
futile, or creates undue delay.” Madeja v. Olympic
Packers, 310 F.3d 628, 636 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing
Yakama Indian Nation v. Washington Dep't of
Revenue, 176 F.3d 1241, 1246 (9th Cir. 1999)).
Discussion and Analysis
initial matter, the Scheduling Order in this action set forth
a pleading amendment deadline of April 10, 2017, whether by
stipulation or a written motion. (Doc. 13 at 3) The motion
now pending before the Court was filed on May 22, 2017. (Doc.
29) Thus, Plaintiff is required to demonstrate good cause
under Rule 16 for filing an amended pleading out-of-time.
See Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co., 232 F.3d 1271, 1294
(9th Cir. 2000) (explaining the question of whether the
liberal amendment standard of Rule 15(a) or the good cause
standard of Rule 16(b) apples to a motion for leave to amend
a complaint depends on whether a deadline set ...