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Black Mountain Equities, Inc. v. Players Network, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 6, 2019

BLACK MOUNTAIN EQUITIES, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PLAYERS NETWORK, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT [ECF NO. 35]

          HON. CYNTHIA BASHANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs Black Mountain Equities, Inc. and Gemini Opportunities Fund, LP's Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint. (“Mot., ” ECF No. 35.) No. opposition to the Motion has been filed.[1] The Court finds this Motion suitable for determination on the papers and without oral argument. Civ. L. R. 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against Defendant Players Network, Inc. for declaratory relief. Due to Defendant's repeated failure to respond to the Complaint, 1 Plaintiffs twice requested default judgment. (ECF Nos. 9, 17.) The Court denied 2 both motions, preferring to proceed on the merits. Defendant filed an answer, the parties attended an early neutral evaluation conference, and Magistrate Judge Crawford issued a scheduling order for this case. Plaintiffs then filed the present Motion seeking leave to file a first amended complaint.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), a plaintiff may amend his complaint once as a matter of course within specified time limits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when 11 justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).

         While courts exercise broad discretion in deciding whether to allow amendment, they have generally adopted a liberal policy. See United States ex rel. Ehmcke Sheet Metal Works v. Wausau Ins. Cos., 755 F.Supp. 906, 908 (E.D. Cal. 1991) (citing Jordan v. Cnty. of Los Angeles, 669 F.2d 1311, 1324 (9th Cir.), rev'd on other grounds, 459 U.S. 810 (1982)). Accordingly, leave is generally granted unless the court harbors concerns “such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). The non-moving party bears the burden of showing why leave to amend should not be granted. Genentech, Inc. v. Abbott Labs., 127 F.R.D. 529, 530-31 (N.D. Cal. 1989).

         III. ANALYSIS

         The proposed amended complaint adds a new cause of action for breach of contract. Plaintiffs allege the claim partially arises from a transaction Defendant entered into with a third party after Plaintiffs filed their original complaint. (Mot. at 2.) In analyzing the above factors, Plaintiffs first point to the lack of delay or bad faith in this Motion, as it was filed on the deadline for motions for leave to amend and partially stems from events that could not have been referenced in the original Complaint. (See ECF No. 33, ¶ 2.) Further, this is the first amended complaint filed in this case, so Plaintiffs have not had prior chances to cure any deficiencies in the original Complaint. Because Defendant has not responded to the Motion, it has not pointed to any prejudice it would suffer if the Court permits the amendment. And Plaintiffs point out that there are still five months until the end of fact discovery, so Defendant will not be prejudiced in its ability to conduct discovery on the new claim. (Mot. at 3.) The Court also finds the amendment would not be futile, especially considering that Defendant has failed to respond and argue futility.

         IV. CONCLUSION

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion. (ECF No. 35.) Plaintiffs SHALL file the amended complaint attached to their Motion on or before September 12, 2019.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

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