United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND
COMPLAINT TO ADD DEFENDANTS DELTA ENGINEERING AND HEATH TECNA
AND AMEND PRE-TRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER
A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 26, 2018, Gwen Krause filed a suit against Hawaiian
Airlines, Inc. (“Hawaiian”) in Sacramento County
Superior Court alleging negligence. Compl., ECF No. 1-1.
Defendant removed the case to federal court. Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff now moves to amend her
complaint and modify the pretrial scheduling order. Mot., ECF
No. 37. Defendant opposes Plaintiff's motion. Opp'n,
ECF No. 38.
reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's
motion to amend.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
March 27, 2016, an interior panel on Defendant's aircraft
fell from the ceiling and struck Plaintiff on the head.
Compl. ¶ 12. Plaintiff contends Defendant failed to: (1)
maintain the aircraft in a condition reasonably safe under
the circumstances; (2) reasonably inspect the aircraft; and
(3) observe due care and precaution. Compl. ¶ 15.
filed suit two years later. Defendant removed the case to
federal court. Through the course of discovery, Plaintiff
received the initial disclosure of Defendant's expert.
Mot. at 4. This April 2019 disclosure revealed that Defendant
was attempting to shift liability to Delta Engineering, Inc.
(“Delta Engineering”) and Heath Tecna, Inc.
(“Heath Tecna”) for the design and manufacture of
the panel and the panel's latch. Mot. at 4. Five months
later, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint to add
Delta Engineering and Heath Tecna as defendants and amend the
pretrial scheduling order to allow Plaintiff and the new
potential defendants to conduct discovery. Mot. at 11.
the Court has filed a pretrial scheduling order, a
party's motion to amend is not solely governed by Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 15. Rather, the moving party must
satisfy Rule 16(b)'s “good cause” requirement
before the Court will assess the propriety of the amendment
under Rule 15. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc.,
975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992).
requirement primarily looks to “the diligence of the
party seeking the amendment.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609.
“[T]he existence or degree of prejudice to the party
opposing the modification might supply additional reasons to
deny a motion.” Id. But, unlike the Rule 15
analysis, “the focus of the [Rule 16] inquiry is upon
the moving party's reasons for seeking modification [of
the schedule].” Id. If the “[moving]
party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.”
“good cause” requirement is typically not met
“where the party seeking to modify the pretrial
scheduling order has been aware of the facts and theories
supporting amendment since the inception of the
action.” Id. at 737. Indeed,
“carelessness is not compatible with a finding of
diligence and offers no reason for a grant of relief.”
Johnson, 975 F.2d at 610.
motion to amend at issue here bears striking similarities to
the one before the Ninth Circuit in Johnson. In Johnson, the
plaintiff sued Mammoth Recreations, Inc. after a ski-lift
accident. 975 F.2d at 606. On two occasions prior to the
scheduling order's deadline for joining additional
parties, the defendant told plaintiff that Mammoth Mountain
Ski, not Mammoth Recreations, owned and operated the ski
lift. Id. at 606-07. Mammoth Recreations even
offered to stipulate to a substitution of the proper party.
Id. at 607. Nonetheless, Johnson failed to file a
motion to amend his complaint until four months after the
scheduling order's deadline for joining parties.
Id. at 607. The Court denied Johnson's motion ...