United States District Court, D. Idaho
NELSON-RICKS CHEESE COMPANY, INC., an Idaho corporation, Plaintiff,
LAKEVIEW CHEESE COMPANY, LLC, a Nevada limited liability company, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye, United States District Court
before the Court is Plaintiff Nelson-Ricks Cheese Company,
Inc.'s (NRCC) Motion to Amend Complaint. Dkt. 32. Having
reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the
facts and legal arguments are adequately presented.
Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and
because the Court finds that the decisional process would not
be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will
decide the motion without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc.
Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court GRANTS the Motion.
lawsuit arises out of claims brought by Plaintiff NRCC that
Defendant Lakeview Cheese Company infringed upon
Plaintiff's registered “Nelson Ricks Creamery
Company” trademark on their website. Plaintiff asserts
various claims for relief, including trademark infringement.
NRCC's requested relief is primarily monetary. Now,
Plaintiff wishes to amend its complaint for the purpose of
adding a prayer for injunctive relief.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that, once a
responsive pleading has been served, 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 justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Lakeview Cheese Company, LLC, has not given consent
to amend the Complaint. Therefore, NRCC must have leave of
the Court to amend. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
recognizes that “the underlying purpose of Rule 15 [is]
to facilitate [a] decision on the merits, rather than on the
pleadings or technicalities, ” and, therefore,
“Rule 15's policy of favoring amendments to
pleadings should be applied with extreme liberality.”
Chudacoff v. Univ. Med. Cent. of S. Nev., 649 F.3d
1143, 1152 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting United States v.
Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981)).
decision whether to grant or deny a motion to amend pursuant
to Rule 15(a) rests in the sole discretion of the trial
court. The four factors that are commonly used to determine
the propriety of a motion for leave to amend are: 1) undue
delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant; 2) repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed; 3) undue prejudice to the
opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment; and
4) futility of amendment. C.F. ex rel. Farnan v.
Capistrano Unified Sch. Dist., 654 F.3d 975, 985 n.5
(9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S.
178, 182 (1962)).
Ninth Circuit has held that although all these factors are
relevant to consider when ruling on a motion for leave to
amend, the “crucial factor is the resulting prejudice
to the opposing party.” Howey v. United
States, 481 F.2d 1187, 1189 (9th Cir. 1973). Indeed,
prejudice is the touchstone of the inquiry under Rule 15(a).
Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d
1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003). Ultimately, “[u]nless undue
prejudice to the opposing party will result, a trial judge
should ordinarily permit a party to amend its
complaint.” Howey, 481 F.2d at 1190.
the briefing surrounding this Motion focuses on ancillary
issues such as inflammatory conduct by certain parties, the
frivolousness of the complaint, and a prior lawsuit (and
subsequent agreement that came out of that lawsuit) between
the parties. While some of the topics bear on the Court's
decision today, others are wholly irrelevant for the purposes
of the instant motion. Specifically, questions of
frivolousness and conduct can be determined at a later time
through sanctions or attorney fees, but the instant motion is
simply a request to amend the complaint. That is the standard
the Court will use to make a determination.
at the first factor to be considered, the Court does not
believe that granting this Motion will cause any undue delay
in this case. Importantly, this amendment will not affect any
deadlines or other aspects of case management in this suit,
it simply seeks to add a request that the Court permanently
enjoin Lakeview from using the mark at issue.
it is not clear that Plaintiff brought this Motion with bad
faith or dilatory motive. Defendant argues that NRCC is only
seeking to add this relief because they brought it up in a
prior motion, but such is hardly a valid reason for denying a
motion. Additionally, while there does seem to be some
disconnect in the rationale as it relates to the cease and
desist order, this subsequent lawsuit, and Plaintiff's
choice of whether or not to request injunctive relief, the
Court is not convinced that such decision was nefarious in
second factor-referring to previously allowed amendments-is
not applicable as this is ...