United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO AMEND THE
COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 25) ORDER GRANTING IN PART
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE
OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
(ECF NO. 27) THIRTY (30) DAY DEADLINE
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lawrence Christopher Smith (“Plaintiff”) is a
state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
23, 2018, the undersigned issued findings and recommendations
in Smith v. Chanelo (“Smith
I”), No. 1:16-cv-01356-LJO-BAM (PC), recommending
that: (1) the action proceed on Plaintiff’s first
amended complaint only as to the excessive force claim
against Defendants Sotelo, P. Chanelo, D. Wattree, K. Hunt,
L. Castro, A. Gonzalez, E. Ramirez, and R. Rodriguez, on
March 13, 2013; (2) the Court sever the misjoined claims,
into three separate cases and such cases be opened, for
excessive force for the incidents of: September 9, 2013
against Defendant D. Knowlton; November 15, 2013 against
Defendants E. Weiss, O. Hurtado, and F.
and February 6, 2014 against Defendants D. Gibbs and D.
Hardy; (3) Plaintiff’s improperly joined claims of
February 4, 2015, February 25, 2015, and September 2, 2015 be
dismissed without prejudice to re-filing; and (4) the
remaining claims and defendants be dismissed for failure to
state a cognizable claim. Smith I, ECF No. 16. The
Court adopted the findings and recommendations in full on
June 20, 2018, and the misjoined claims were opened as
separate actions. (ECF No. 2.) Accordingly, the instant
action was opened as Smith v. Gibbs, No.
1:18-cv-00854-LJO-BAM (PC), and proceeds against Defendants
D. Gibbs and D. Hardy for the excessive force incident of
February 6, 2014.
12, 2019, a settlement conference was held before Magistrate
Judge Stanley A. Boone, where the parties attempted to
resolve the instant action as well as several other pending
actions brought by Plaintiff. The case did not settle. (ECF
18, 2019, Defendant Hardy filed an answer to the complaint.
(ECF No. 19.) On August 26, 2019, following service of the
complaint on Defendant Gibbs, Defendants Hardy and Gibbs
filed an answer to the complaint. (ECF No. 22.) The Court
issued a discovery and scheduling order on August 30, 2019.
(ECF No. 23.) Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment
on September 4, 2019. (ECF No. 24.)
before the Court are Plaintiff’s motion to amend the
complaint, a lodged first amended complaint, and
Plaintiff’s motion for continuance in these
proceedings, filed September 20, 2019. (ECF Nos. 25, 26, 27.)
Defendants have not yet had the opportunity to file responses
to Plaintiff’s motions, but the Court finds responses
are unnecessary. The motions are deemed submitted. Local Rule
Motion to Amend
motion to amend the complaint, Plaintiff argues that his
complaint is deficient in pleading facts sufficient for him
to convey the full panoply of claims he is presently pursuing
against the Defendants. Plaintiff further seeks to amend the
complaint to join additional parties allegedly involved in
Defendants’ conduct of February 6, 2014. Plaintiff
contends that there will be no prejudice to Defendants in
permitting him to file an amended complaint, as discovery was
only opened on August 30, 2019. Further, although Defendants
have filed a motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff argues
that his amended complaint will cure the defects alleged in
the motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 25.)
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.
Otherwise, a party may amend only by leave of the court or by
written consent of the adverse party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a).
“Rule 15(a) is very liberal and leave to amend shall be
freely given when justice so requires.”
AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Dialysist West, Inc., 465
F.3d 946, 951 (9th Cir. 2006) (citation and quotation
courts “need not grant leave to amend where the
amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party; (2) is sought
in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in litigation; or
(4) is futile.” Id. These factors do not carry
equal weight. Prejudice is the most important factor to
consider. Jackson v. Bank of Hawaii, 902 F.2d 1385,
1387 (9th Cir. 1990).