United States District Court, S.D. California
AMCO INSURANCE COMPANY; IDS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY, Plaintiffs,
BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT ADDING DEFENDANT [DOC. NO.
MARILYN L. HUFF, DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
6, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion requesting leave to file
an amended complaint adding Center BMW as a defendant. (Doc.
No. 19.) Plaintiffs represent that Defendant BMW of North
America, LLC does not oppose the motion. (Id. at 5.)
BMW of North America's opposition was due by June 24,
2019, (Doc. No. 20), but no opposition was filed. For the
reasons below, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion for
leave to file an amended complaint.
December 4, 2018, Plaintiffs filed the present case in San
Diego Superior Court alleging claims for strict products
liability and negligence. (Doc. No. 1-2.) The case arises
from a fire at the home of Eric Pemper, who is insured by
Plaintiff AMCO Insurance Company. (Id.) The home was
being rented by Laura and Phil Ohme, who are insured by
Plaintiff IDS Property Casualty Company. (Id.)
Plaintiffs allege that the fire originated from a defect in a
BMW vehicle owned by Laura and Phil Ohme. (Id.) On
January 4, 2019, BMW of North America removed the case to
this Court and answered the complaint. (Doc. Nos. 1, 2.)
Laura Ohme was deposed on May 14, 2019. (Doc. No. 19-2,
Brisco Decl. ¶ 6.) At the deposition, Laura Ohme
testified that the BMW vehicle was purchased certified
pre-owned from a dealership, Center BMW. (Id.)
Plaintiffs now seek leave to file an amended complaint adding
Center BMW as a defendant. (Doc. No. 19.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), “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). The “court should freely give leave when
justice so requires.” Id. Granting leave to
amend rests in the sound discretion of the trial court.
Int'l Ass'n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
v. Republic Airlines, 761 F.2d 1386, 1390 (9th Cir.
1985). This discretion must be guided by the strong federal
policy favoring the disposition of cases on the merits and
permitting amendments with “extreme liberality.”
DCD Programs Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186
(9th Cir. 1987). “Five factors are taken into account
to assess the propriety of a motion for leave to amend: bad
faith, undue delay, prejudice to the opposing party, futility
of amendment, and whether the plaintiff has previously
amended the complaint.” Johnson v. Buckley,
356 F.3d 1067, 1077 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Nunes v.
Ashcroft, 348 F.3d 815, 818 (9th Cir. 2003)). Absent
prejudice-the factor carrying greatest weight-“or a
strong showing of any of the remaining [ ] 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). Exercising
its discretion to grant or deny leave to amend, the Court
“must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15,
” that is, “to facilitate decision on the merits,
rather than on the pleadings or technicalities.”
United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir.
BMW of North America has not opposed the motion, and
Plaintiffs represent that BMW of North America does not
object to the Court granting leave to add Center BMW as a
defendant. (Doc. No. 19 at 5.) Nonetheless, BMW of North
America has not provided written consent, and therefore the
Court's leave is required. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Under the circumstances of this case, the Court in
its discretion concludes that the factors weigh in favor of
granting Plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint adding
Center BMW as a defendant. First, there is no evidence of bad
faith on the part of Plaintiffs. Second, there is no undue
delay because Plaintiffs filed their motion for leave to
amend within reasonable time after Laura Ohme's
deposition. (See Doc. No. 19-2, Brisco Decl. ¶
6.) Third, there is no evidence of prejudice to BMW of North
America, which did not file any opposition to the motion.
Fourth, there is nothing to indicate that the proposed
amendment of adding Center BMW as a defendant would be
futile. Finally, this is Plaintiffs' first amended
complaint. Therefore, the Court concludes that all factors
weigh in favor of granting Plaintiffs leave to file their
amended complaint, and the Court in its discretion grants
after careful analysis of the factors set forth in
Johnson, for good cause shown, the Court in its
discretion grants Plaintiffs' motion for leave to file an
amended complaint adding Center BMW as a defendant.
Plaintiffs must file their First Amended Complaint by
July 16, 2019. Defendants have thirty (30)
days after being served Plaintiffs' First Amended
Complaint to file an answer or otherwise respond.