United States District Court, C.D. California
RAUL CAMACHO, ET AL.
JLG INDUSTRIES, INC., ET AL.
PRESENT: THE HONORABLE DAVID O. CARTER, JUDGE
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(IN CHAMBERS): ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND AND REMAND
the Court is Plaintiffs Raul Camacho (“Camacho”)
and Lucia R. Maturrano's
“Plaintiffs”) Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint
and to Remand Case to State Court (“Motion”)
(Dkt. 34). The Court finds this matter appropriate for
resolution without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15.
Having reviewed the moving papers and considered the
parties' arguments, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs'
following facts are drawn from Plaintiffs' Proposed
Amended Complaint (“Proposed Compl.”) (Dkt. 34)
and the Declaration of Emily A. Ruby (“Ruby
Decl.”) (Dkt. 34) Ex. 1.
case arises from injuries that Plaintiff Raul Camacho
suffered as a result of an accident that occurred on December
8, 2015. On that day, Camacho was using a scissor lift to
install glass in a hotel building when he slipped between the
top rail and the floor of the lift's standing platform
and fell twelve feet to the ground below, sustaining serious
injuries. Proposed Compl. ¶¶ 11, 18. The scissor
lift was manufactured by JLG Industries, Inc.
(“JLG”), and rented from Sunbelt Rentals, Inc.
“Defendants”). Id. ¶¶ 12-13.
Plaintiffs allege that the scissor lift was defectively
designed because it left an open space between the floor and
the top rail, and because it was not equipped with an
approved personal fall protection system or with a full body
harness and lanyard. Id. ¶¶ 17, 18. All of
these allegations were also set out in Plaintiffs'
original Complaint. See Compl. (Dkt. 1) ¶¶
filing their original Complaint in the Superior Court,
however, Plaintiffs retained new counsel. Ruby Decl. ¶
2. When Plaintiffs' current attorneys of record took
over, they reviewed all available materials relevant to the
case, which were extensive, and conducted legal and factual
research in order to determine whether there were any
additional causes of action or potentially liable parties.
Id. ¶ 3. During their review, the attorneys
discovered that the Division of Occupational Health and
Safety (“Cal/OSHA”) had identified at least five
violations of state safety regulations related to the scissor
lift, which Cal/OSHA determined had caused or contributed to
Camacho's injury. Id. ¶ 9. The attorneys
also found substantial evidence indicating that R.D. Olson
Construction, Inc. (“R.D. Olson”) was the general
contractor in charge of the worksite where the incident
occurred. Id. ¶¶ 4-8.
result, in the Proposed Amended Complaint that Plaintiffs
seek to file, Plaintiffs name R.D. Olson as a third
Defendant. Proposed Compl. ¶¶ 7, 10. They allege
that the company R.D. Olson was the general contractor of the
worksite, and that as such, R.D. Olson was responsible for
and exercised control over the safety of the worksite and the
manner in which those on the worksite, including Plaintiff,
performed work. Id. ¶ 14. Moreover, Plaintiffs
claim that R.D. Olson provided the allegedly defective
scissor lift to those persons working on the premises.
Id. ¶ 51. Finally, Plaintiffs' Proposed
Amended Complaint sets out new allegations claiming that all
Defendants-including JLG, Sunbelt, and R.D. Olson-violated
numerous safety regulations. Id. ¶ 64.
February 9, 2017, Plaintiffs brought this action in the
Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Id.
¶ 2. On July 12, 2017, Defendants removed to this Court
September 22, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion.
Plaintiffs seek leave to file an amended complaint adding
R.D. Olson as a defendant, which would destroy diversity, and
on that basis request that the Court remand the case to state
court. Mot. at 1; Ruby Decl. ¶¶ 14-15.
Plaintiffs' Proposed Amended Complaint also asserts a new
claim of negligence per se against the existing Defendants
based on their alleged violations of California state safety
regulations. Prop. Compl. ¶¶ 63-67. On October 2,
2017, Sunbelt filed its Opposition (“Sunbelt
Opp'n”) (Dkt. 36). JLG filed its Opposition on the
same day (“JLG Opp'n”) (Dkt. 38). On October
9, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Reply (Dkt. 40).
Leave to Amend Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
leave to amend a pleading “shall be freely given when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). The decision
whether to permit amendment lies within the sound discretion
of the trial court, which “must be guided by the
underlying purpose of Rule 15 to facilitate decisions on the
merits, rather than on the pleadings or
technicalities.” United States v. Webb, 655
F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981). Thus, Rule 15's policy of
favoring amendments to pleadings should be applied with
“extreme liberality.” Morongo Band of Mission
Indians v. Rose, 893 F.2d 1074, 1079 (9th Cir. 1990);
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000)
(holding that dismissal with leave to amend should be granted
even if no request to amend was made).
Supreme Court has identified four factors relevant to whether
a motion for leave to amend should be denied: undue delay,
bad faith or dilatory motive, futility of amendment, and
undue prejudice to the opposing party. Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, (1962). The Ninth Circuit
holds that these factors are not of equal weight;
specifically, “delay alone no matter how lengthy is an
insufficient ground for denial of leave to amend.”
United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 980 (9th Cir.
1981); accord Bowles v. Reade, 198 F.3d 752, 758
(9th Cir. 1999). The most important factor is whether
amendment would prejudice the opposing party. Howey v.
United States, 481 F.2d 1187, 1190 (9th Cir. 1973).
“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.” Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon,
Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003). However,
“[f]utility of amendment can, by itself, justify denial
of a motion for leave to amend.” Bonin v.
Calderon, 59 F.3d 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995). A proposed
amended pleading is futile if it would not meet the 12(b)(6)
standard for ascertaining the legal sufficiency of a
pleading. See Miller v. Rykoff-Sexton, Inc., 845
F.2d 209, 214 (9th Cir. 1988) abrogated by Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); see Gibson
Brands, Inc. v. John Hornby Skewes & Co., Ltd., No.
CV 14-00609 DDP(SS), 2015 WL 4651250, at *4 n.4 (C.D. Cal.
Aug. 4, 2015) (“[A]s the Miller court noted,
the test for futility is the same as the test applied on a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion. After Ashcroft v. Iqbal, that
pleading standard is no longer viable. Thus, the proper
standard is Iqbal's plausibility
standard.” (citations omitted)).
Amendment to Add a ...