United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. 41)
K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Yvonne Peoples'
(“Plaintiff” or “Peoples”) Motion for
Leave to File First Amended Complaint for Damages and
Ancillary Relief (the “Motion”). (Doc. 41.)
Defendant Valley Children's Hospital, Inc., erroneously
sued under its former name Children's Hospital of Central
California (“Defendant” or “VCH”),
did not file an opposition to the Motion. The Court found the
matter suitable for decision without oral argument and
vacated the hearing that was set for September 4, 2019. (Doc.
48.) Having considered the moving papers and declaration
attached thereto, as well as the Court's file, the Court
issues the following order.
the second lawsuit filed by Plaintiff against Defendant. In
2015, Plaintiff filed suit alleging wrongful termination and
discrimination. (See Doc. 1, ¶ 8.) In August
2016, Peoples reached a settlement with VCH, which included
monetary damages and reinstatement. (Id. at ¶
the settlement and Plaintiffs reinstatement, Plaintiff
alleges that she was subject to more unlawful conduct at VCH
and that VCH breached the settlement agreement. (See
Doc. 1, ¶¶ 10-14.) Plaintiff filed a charge with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) on November 20, 2018. (Id. at
¶ 3.) On November 29, 2018, the EEOC issued a notice of
right to sue. (Id.) Plaintiff received a right to
sue letter under California's Fair Employment and Housing
Act (“FEHA”) in late October 2018. (Id.)
filed this lawsuit on February 26, 2019, raising a claim
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-3(a), as well as several, related state law
claims. (See Doc. 1.) On March 21, 2019, Defendant
filed an answer to the complaint and a cross-complaint
against Peoples. (See Doc. 12.) Defendant then moved
to compel arbitration and to stay this case pending
arbitration, citing an arbitration provision contained within
the settlement agreement. (Docs. 13 & 19.) On June 3,
2019, the assigned district judge denied the motion to compel
without prejudice as premature. (See Doc. 36.)
scheduling order was issued on July 12, 2019, which set the
deadline to amend the pleadings for August 27, 2019. (Doc.
40.) On July 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant motion for
leave to file an amended complaint. (See Doc. 41.)
The hearing on the Motion was set for September 4, 2019, with
an opposition due date of August 21, 2019. (See Id. See
also Local Rule 230.) Defendant did not file an
opposition by the August 21, 2019 deadline. On August 30,
2019, the Court vacated the hearing and took the matter under
submission. (Doc. 48.)
Motion seeks leave from the Court to file a first amended
complaint adding a claim for breach of the covenant of good
faith and fair dealing on behalf of Plaintiff and a loss of
consortium claim on behalf of her husband, intended plaintiff
Claud S. Peoples. (See Doc. 41.)
Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party
may amend the party's pleading once as a matter of course
at any time before a responsive pleading is served.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Otherwise, a party may amend only by
leave of the court or by written consent of the adverse
party, and leave shall be freely given when justice so
requires. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The Court is to apply this
policy of granting leave with “extreme
liberality.” Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon,
Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting
Owens v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d
708, 712 (9th Cir. 2001)).
determining whether to grant leave to amend, the court
considers five factors: “(1) bad faith; (2) undue
delay; (3) prejudice to the opposing party; (4) futility of
amendment; and (5) whether the plaintiff has previously
amended his complaint.” Nunes v. Ashcroft, 375
F.3d 805, 808 (9th Cir. 2004). The factors are not given
equal weight and futility alone is sufficient to justify the
denial of a motion to amend. Washington v. Lowe's HIW
Inc., 75 F.Supp.3d 1240, 1245 (N.D. Cal. 2014).
“[I]t is the consideration of prejudice to the opposing
party that carries the greatest weight.” Eminence
Capital, 316 F.3d at 1052. The burden to demonstrate
prejudice falls upon the party opposing the amendment.
DCD Programs, Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 187
(9th Cir. 1987). “Absent prejudice, 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, 316 F.3d at 1052.
seeks to amend the complaint to join her husband as plaintiff
and to add claims for loss of consortium and breach of the
covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Given the lack of
opposition, the Court finds that granting Plaintiff leave to
amend would not prejudice Defendant.There is also no evidence the
motion was brought in bad faith nor does it produce undue
delay in the litigation, as the motion was filed less than
two weeks after the issuance of the scheduling order and over
a month prior to the amendment deadline. Cf. Davis v.
Powell, 901 F.Supp.2d 1196, 1212 (S.D. Cal. 2012) (Undue
delay is “delay that prejudices the nonmoving party or
imposes unwarranted burdens on the Court.”) (citation
and quotation marks omitted). Moreover, there is no reason to
believe that the proposed amendment is futile: both the loss
of consortium and the breach of the covenant of good faith
claims are asserted within their respective statutes of
limitations. See Eidson v. Medtronic, Inc., 981
F.Supp.2d 868, 893 (N.D. Cal. 2013) (holding that claim for
loss of consortium is subject to the two-year statute of
limitations in Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 335.1); Cal. Civ.
Proc. Code § 337 (four-year statute of limitations for
breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing). See
also, e.g., SAES Getters S.p.A. v. Aeronex, Inc., 219
F.Supp.2d 1081, 1086 (S.D. Cal. 2002) (illustrating that an
amendment is futile “only if it would clearly be
subject to dismissal.”).
finding that none of the foregoing factors weighs against
granting Plaintiff leave to amend, and most notably as the
Motion is unopposed, the Court finds leave to amend
appropriate. See, e.g., J.M. v. Cty. of Stanislaus,
No. 1:18-cv-01034-LJO-SAB, 2019 WL 1046254, at *2-3 (E.D.
Cal. Mar. 5, 2019) (concluding that leave to amend was
warranted in light of the defendant's non-opposition to
the motion and reasonable explanation for the amendment);
Austin v. W. Concrete Pumping, Inc., No.
17-cv-2363-AJB-MDD, 2018 WL 2684140, at *1- 2 (S.D. Cal. ...