United States District Court, E.D. California
STAN SEVERI, et al. Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF KERN, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND THE
COMPLAINT  (DOC. 23)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Severi and Myranda Severi seek leave to file an amended
complaint to add a new claim against several defendants.
(Doc. 23) The defendants have not opposed the motion. For the
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion for leave to
amend the complaint is GRANTED.
Background and Procedural History
allege that in December 2016, Kern County Sheriff's
Deputies “responded to a call in that Plaintiffs'
minor son was either missing or had run away.” (Doc.
23-1 at 4) Among the responding officers was defendant
Gabriel Romo. (Id.) According to Plaintiffs, after
the officers were “informed that Plaintiffs' son
had been located and retrieved by his mother, ” Romo
“wrongfully, without a warrant, probable reasonable
suspicion, or justification demanded that Plaintiffs minor
daughter, be turned over to him.” (Id.)
Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Severi asked to speak to his wife,
Myranda, and the request was refused. (Id. at 4-5)
Plaintiffs assert Mr. Severi was then shot by a deputy, which
was witnessed by Myranda. (Id. at 5)
to Plaintiffs, Romo also dug his knee into the side of Mr.
Severi's chest, and placed him in handcuffs
“despite the fact … [he] had just been shot and
suffered a severe and life threatening wound.” (Doc.
23-1 at 5) Plaintiffs contend the deputies' wrongful
actions also included: “(i) ordering Plaintiff MYRANDA
SEVERI not to take pictures of the incident, not to talk to
the media, and to put her cell phone away; and (ii)
threatening her with arrest, confiscating her cell phone and
the use of force if she did not fully and completely comply
with said orders.” (Id. at 6) Plaintiffs
assert that once Mr. Severi was transported to the hospital,
Mrs. Severi was not permitted to see her husband “for
approximately four-and-one-half hours.” (Id.)
primarily upon the foregoing facts, Plaintiffs filed a
complaint in Kern County Superior Court on June 28, 2017.
(Doc. 1 at 5) Plaintiffs asserted against the County of Kern,
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, and Deputy Romo were
liable for the following causes of action: (1) violation of
civil rights arising under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution and state law,
(2) failure to intervene, (3) municipal liability for the
constitutional violations, (4) battery, and (5) negligence.
(See Doc. 1 at 5) Defendants filed a Notice of
Removal on July 13, 2017, thereby initiating the action
before this Court.
25, 2017, the defendants filed their answer. (Doc. 7). In
addition, the defendants filed a motion to strike portions of
Plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to Rule 12(f) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, asserting several
allegations regarding the County and its sheriff's
department were “scandalous, misleading, redundant,
immaterial, impertinent, unduly prejudicial, and not
relevant.” (Doc. 6 at 4) On December 20, 2017, the
Court granted the motion in part, and struck several
paragraphs from the complaint. (Doc. 14)
January 23, 2018, the Court issued its scheduling order,
setting forth the deadlines governing the action. (Doc. 16)
Pursuant to the terms of this order, the parties were
directed to make their initial disclosures no later than
March 26, 2018. (Id. at 3) In addition, the Court
ordered: “Any requested pleading amendments are ordered
to be filed, either through a stipulation or motion to amend,
no later than April 25, 2018.” (Id. at 3,
emphasis omitted) Plaintiffs timely filed a request for leave
to amend the complaint on April 25, 2018, seeking to:
1. Add a cause of action against three new individual
Defendants, identified as Defendant Detective A. Warmerdam,
Defendant Danae Wiitala, and Defendant Cummings, for unlawful
search of Plaintiffs' home and vehicles and unlawful
search and seizure Plaintiffs' personal items, including
but not limited to two computer towers, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983; and
2. Delete Paragraphs 34(i), 34(ii), 34(iv), 34(v), 34(vi),
and 34(vii) of Plaintiffs' original complaint pursuant to
the Court's December 20, 2017 Order.
(Doc. 21 at 3; Doc. 23 at 3) Defendants did not oppose the
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). Here, the
defendants filed their answer on July 25, 2017 (Doc. 6).
Therefore, Plaintiffs require either consent of the
defendants or leave of the Court to file an amended
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.