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Razo v. TIMEC Company, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 3, 2017

SAM RAZO, Plaintiff,
TIMEC COMPANY, INC., et al., Defendants.




         In the weeks leading up to the May 18, 2017 pretrial conference, it became apparent the matter was not ready to proceed to trial. See Dkt. Nos. 108, 113, 114, 115, 116. At the conclusion of the pretrial conference, the Court ordered any party desiring to amend the pleadings to file a motion seeking leave to do so.

         Pending before the Court are (1) TIMEC's Motion for Leave to File First Amended Answer (Def.'s Mot., Dkt. No. 118), and (2) Razo's Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint (Pl.'s Mot., Dkt. No. 121). The matter was fully briefed, and the Court finds these matters suitable for disposition without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered the parties' positions, the relevant legal authority, and the record in this case, the Court DENIES AS MOOT TIMEC's Motion and DENIES Razo's Motion for the following reasons.


         A. Legal Standard

         The Court set January 15, 2016 as the last date for the parties to seek leave to amend their pleadings. See CMO, Dkt. No. 20. Neither party sought leave to amend until more than one year later at the pretrial conference. Because the parties seek leave to amend after the deadline the Court imposed in its Case Management Order, they must demonstrate good cause to do so. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16; Civ. L.R. 16-2. “The ‘good cause' standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992). “Although the existence or 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 seeking modification. . . . If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.” Id.

         If the party seeking leave to amend demonstrates good cause for doing so, the Court next must evaluate whether the proposed amendments are permissible under Rule 15. While such amendments are granted with liberality, they should not be granted where the amendment would cause the opposing party undue prejudice, is sought in bad faith, constitutes an exercise in futility, or creates undue delay. See Janicki Logging Co. v. Mateer, 42 F.3d 561, 566 (9th Cir. 1994). The consideration of prejudice to the opposing party carries the greatest weight among these factors. Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003).

         B. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File SAC

         1. Proposed Amendments

         After the pretrial conference, Razo abandoned his FMLA interference and retaliation claims. Dkt. No. 117. Immediately thereafter, he moved for leave to file a second amended complaint. Pl.'s Mot., Ex. 2 (Proposed Redlined SAC). In his Motion, he argues he seeks leave to file the SAC to add allegations that TIMEC “interfered with [his] rights pursuant to the [FMLA and CFRA] by failing to notify him of those rights within the applicable time period once he gave the company notice of his need for leave and that Defendant failed to inform him that his certification papers were inadequate.” Mot. at 2; see also MPA at 1.

         The proposed SAC reflects Razo's abandonment of his FMLA claim(s), and asserts only three claims: Retaliation under CFRA (First Cause of Action), CFRA Leave Interference (Second Cause of Action), and Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy (Third Cause of Action). See also Proposed Redlined SAC ¶¶ 1 (listing claims), 3 (alleging it includes California law claims only). But the proposed SAC continues to allege that TIMEC interfered with Razo's medical leave under both the FMLA and CFRA, and also adds a number of theories of liability which Razo did not previously allege in either the operative FAC or raise in connection with TIMEC's first motion for summary judgment:

Defendant engaged in a continuous pattern and practice of interfering with Plaintiff's leave. Medical certifications created by his doctor were provided to Defendant that substantially complied with any certification requirements. Based on the information provided by Plaintiff and his doctors, Plaintiff is informed and believes that Defendant had all required information to classify his medical leave protected by FMLA and CFRA. Defendant, despite the notice provided to it, failed to provide adequate notice to RAZO. Defendant failed to timely provide Plaintiff with required information related to taking protected medical leave. Defendant failed to inform Plaintiff of any alleged deficiencies in the notice that he provided to Defendant related to his medical leave. In addition, Defendant failed to notify Plaintiff that it was denying his medical leave as “protected leave” pursuant to the FMLA or CFRA and to afford Plaintiff and opportunity to correct any alleged deficiencies. Defendant failed to classify all of Plaintiff's leave as protected by FMLA or CFRA. Defendant miscalculated the amount of leave that was available to Plaintiff and misclassified his medical leave based on those miscalculations. Plaintiff notified Defendant of his return dates and Defendant interfered with his rights to return to work. During Plaintiff's three medical leaves starting on April 8, 2014, Defendant engaged in a continuing violation of the CFRA and FMLA requirements against retaliation and interference by misclassifying and failing to grant Plaintiff protected leave, cutting Plaintiff's pay, reclassifying his position, changing his work duties, replacing him with a different employee who had not taken leave, and failing to return him to the position he had held prior to informing Defendant of his need for taking medical leave. When he refused to accept an inferior position that stripped him of his supervisorial duties and cut his pay, he quit by asking to be laid off because he considered the working conditions to be so intolerable that a reasonable person in his position would not continue working for Defendant.

Id. ΒΆ 16. Razo also continues to base his wrongful termination claim in part on TIMEC's alleged violation of the ...

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