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Schwartz v. Adams County

May 20, 2010

TROY SCHWARTZ, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND ALVIN YANTIS, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ADAMS COUNTY, A BODY POLITIC AND CORPORATE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO; WILLIAM P. BROWN, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS AN ADAMS COUNTY COMMISSIONER; JOSEPH F. HOLMES, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS AN ADAMS COUNTY COMMISSIONER; MICHAEL E. PARADIS, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS AN ADAMS COUNTY COMMISSIONER; DONALD HORTON, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS ADAMS COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATOR; AND MYRON D. GABBERT JR., IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS ADAMS COUNTY PROSECUTOR, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Candy W. Dale Chief United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Amend Answer and/or Motion to Modify Scheduling Order. (Docket No. 29.) Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, this matter shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1.

I. Facts*fn1

Plaintiffs Troy Schwartz and Alvin Yantis filed a complaint against Adams County and certain of its employees and county commissioners for allegedly terminating their property rights in a rock quarry absent procedural due process. Yantis owns the rock quarry that Schwartz has quarried since 1998. In or about 1999, The Yantis Quarry submitted an application for a conditional use permit to allow continued operation, and a public hearing was held on or about July 19, 1999. The Planning Commission issued its findings on October 21, 1999, recommending to the Adams County Board of Commissioners that the CUP application be granted, with conditions. (See Horton Depo. Ex. 3, Aff. of Davis Ex. C, Docket No. 29-5; Aff. of Counsel Ex. A, Docket No. 33-1.) In the Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that the Board of Commissioners failed to act and "never denied or granted the 1999 CUP; nor did it provide written notice of its final decision regarding the 1999 CUP to the Yantis Quarry." (Compl. ¶ 20, Docket No. 1.) Nevertheless, the Complaint asserts that the Yantis Quarry continued to operate.

Defendants' Answer, filed on February 17, 2009, contained admissions that a CUP was granted, however. For example, Paragraph XVI "denied" the allegations in paragraph 20 of Plaintiffs' Complaint, and Paragraph XVIII, in answer to Paragraph 23 of Plaintiffs' complaint, "admitted that the CUP granted in 1999 was not reviewed or amended prior to February 2007." (Ans. at 5--6, Docket No. 6.)

On March 19, 2009, the Court entered its scheduling order. (Docket No. 12.) While the parties mutually agreed to extend other deadlines regarding expert witness disclosures and ADR, (See Docket Nos. 13--20), neither party in this litigation stipulated to an extension of time for amending the pleadings, which deadline was August 14, 2009. (Sched. Order, Docket No. 12.)

On December 11, 2009, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment and Plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment. (Docket Nos. 21, 22.) Defendants' statement of facts in support of their motion for summary judgment includes the following factual assertions:

5. . . . The P&Z held a hearing on July 19,1999, that was continued to August 16, 1999. Schwartz Deposition, p. 31, l. 7-21; p. 35, ll. 8-17. Yantis received notice of the July 19 hearing and attended both hearings. Yantis Deposition, p. 21, l. 16 --p. 22, l. 16; p. 26, l. 25 --p. 28, l. 10. Schwartz also attended both hearings. Schwartz Deposition, p. 31, ll. 7-13; p. 35, ll. 8-17. Both Yantis and Schwartz could have offered information at the hearing. Id., p. 36, l. 20 --p. 37, l. 1. Following the hearings, the P&Z, in a letter dated October 21, 1999, recommended that a CUP be issued with 13 conditions. Horton Deposition, p. 44, ll. 5-13; p. 43, l. 22 --p. 44, l. 1. Horton delivered the P&Z recommendation to the Board. Id., p. 49, ll. 21-24.

6. Both Horton and Schwartz assumed that the Board issued the CUP. Id., p. 43, ll. 14-17; Schwartz Deposition, p. 47, ll. 8-22. Schwartz operated the Yantis pit after October 21, 1999, just as if a CUP had been issued. Schwartz Deposition, p. 48, l. 24 --p. 49, l. 3; p. 49, l. 16 --p. 50, l. 12.

7. By February 2007, people who lived around the Yantis pit began complaining about Schwartz's use of the pit. Horton Deposition, p. 52, l. 3 --p. 53, l. 14. At that time, Horton discovered the Board had not issued a CUP in 1999. Id., p. 51, ll. 15-21. (Defs.' Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute at 3--4, Docket No. 21-1.) (emphasis added).

In Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, however, Plaintiffs argue that "the fact that there was a 1999 CUP is not in dispute [because] the Defendants have made judicial admissions that the 1999 CUP was issued," citing specifically to the following paragraphs in Defendants' Answer:

Statement of Facts, ¶¶ 16-17 (citing Troy Schwartz v. Adams County, et al, Answer [Dkt 6], ¶¶ XXXVI ("it is admitted that a CUP was issued to Yantis for operation of the rock quarry in 1999."); XLIII ("the CUP was issued in 1999."); IV ("the property has been operated as a quarry subject to a conditional use permit."); XVIII ("it is admitted that the CUP granted in 1999 was not reviewed or amended prior to February 2007"); XXXV (in response to the allegation that Yantis and Schwartz submitted a CUP application in 1998, Defendants state "It is admitted, however, that a CUP was issued to Yantis."). (Mem. in Support of Pls.' Mot. for Partial Summ. J. at 4 n.6, Docket No. 22-1.)

On December 24, 2009, Defendants filed the instant motion to amend or correct their Answer and/or to modify the scheduling order to permit an amendment to change the above admissions into denials. (Docket No. 29.) Defendants acknowledged that the Scheduling Order required motions to amend to be filed on or before August 14, 2009. (Aff. of James J. Davis ¶ 6, Docket No. 29-2.) But Defendants' counsel explained that he interviewed his clients prior to preparing the Answer, and "had no reason to question any information provided by Horton at that time, or, thereafter, until the depositions were taken in late September and early October 2009." (Id. ¶ 4, Docket No. 29-2.) Defendants' counsel further explained that, due to scheduling issues, depositions were not scheduled until September 29-30 and October 1, 2009, and that "none of the deponents testified that a CUP was in fact issued in 1999. Horton testified that, while at one time he believed a CUP had been issued, he could find no factual support for that belief." (Id. ¶ 5, Docket No. 29-2.)*fn2

Defendants argue their motion to amend is justified, and they satisfy either the "freely given" or the "good cause" standard applicable under Rules 15(b) and 16(b), respectively. Defendants contend Plaintiffs are not prejudiced by the amendment because Plaintiffs asserted in their Complaint initially that a CUP was not issued in 1999. Plaintiffs attended the depositions of the parties in this case, and Defendants contend all parties, including Plaintiffs, testified that a CUP was not issued. Defendants distinguish this case from a matter asserting a new defense such that additional discovery would be necessary. Alternatively, Defendants argue that good cause exists for the amendment, because they acted diligently, there was no bad faith in delaying the ...


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