United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, Chief U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to File Second
Amended Complaint (Dkt. 67). For the reasons discussed below,
the Court will deny the Motion.
timely filed a complaint in this Court on December 7, 2016.
Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, that Defendants
violated his Fourth Amendment rights by subpoenaing Verizon
for information related to his IP address and cell phone
number. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment,
and the Court heard oral argument on May 25, 2018. At the
hearing, the Court granted Defendants' motion as to
Plaintiff's claim under the Fourth
Amendment. The Court granted Plaintiff leave,
however, to file a motion to add a claim based on the same
facts under Article I, Section 17 of the Idaho Constitution.
On June 5, 2018, Plaintiff timely filed his motion to amend.
The parties completed briefing on the motion on June 15,
2018, and the Court finds the matter appropriate for
resolution without a hearing.
to amend a pleading filed after the scheduling order deadline
has expired are governed not by the liberal provisions of
Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure but by the
more restrictive provisions of Rule 16(b) requiring a showing
of “good cause.” Johnson v. Mammoth
Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604 (9th Cir.
1992). The focus of Rule 16(b)'s good cause
standard is the diligence of the moving party. Id.
at 608. A court should find good cause only if the moving
party shows it “could not reasonably meet the
established timeline in a scheduling order despite [its]
diligence.” DIRECTV, Inc. v. Busdon, No.
CV-04-265-S-LMB, 2005 WL 1364571, *1 (D. Idaho June 8, 2005).
“Moreover, carelessness is not compatible with a
finding of diligence and offers no reason for a grant of
relief.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (citing
Engleson v. Burlington Northern R.R. Co., 972 F.2d
1038, 1043 (9th Cir.1992)).
determining whether to grant a motion to amend outside the
deadline imposed in the scheduling order, a court may also
consider “the existence or degree of prejudice to the
party opposing the modification” Id. But,
while a court is allowed to consider any prejudice that may
occur, the court should focus its inquiry “upon the
moving party's reasons for seeking modification.”
Id. If the party moving to amend “was not
diligent, the inquiry should end.” Id.
argues that he was unable to bring a claim under the Idaho
Constitution in his original complaint because the Idaho
Supreme Court only recently recognized a private right of
action for litigants suing the state for constitutional
violations, citing Tucker v. State, 394 P.3d 54
(Idaho 2017). Tucker was published on April 28,
2017. The deadline to amend pleadings in this action was May
26, 2017. Joint Litigation Plan at 2, Dkt. 12. The
record shows, however, that Plaintiff waited nearly a year
after the deadline to amend passed, and over a year after
Tucker was issued, to bring his motion to add a
claim under the state constitution. Even assuming
arguendo that the right of action announced in
Tucker provides grounds for Plaintiff to assert his
claim, Plaintiff has not shown that he acted diligently in
bringing this motion. Further, allowing Plaintiff to amend
his complaint at this late date would prejudice the
Defendant. Plaintiff has therefore failed to establish good
cause, and the Court shall deny his motion.
explains that he did not raise a state constitutional claim
in his original complaint, filed before Tucker was
published, due to “the consistent reluctance [of this
Court]-in the absence of a state appellate court decision on
the subject-to recognize a private right of action to
vindicate state constitutional claims.” Pl's
Br. at 3-4, Dkt. 67-1. He argues, however, that
Tucker created private right of action under the
Idaho Constitution, and therefore his state constitutional
claim is now valid. While this could explain why Plaintiff
did not include the claim in his Complaint, it does not
explain why he waited over a year after Tucker was
issued, and nearly a year after the amendment deadline
passed, to bring this motion to amend.
should not be punished for failing to plead a claim that is
foreclosed by law at the time their complaint is filed.
Indeed, such decisions are in line with the prescription in
Rule 1 that litigation be conducted in such a manner as to
secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of the
action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 1. Rule 16(b) clearly contemplates that
changes in law or newly discovered evidence may justify later
amendments to a complaint. That justification erodes,
however, when a Plaintiff delays amending his complaint
beyond the time he could have discovered the grounds for
amendment through the exercise of reasonable diligence.
typical reason for granting leave to amend is that a party
learns of information leading to the amendment that it could
not have learned before the amendment deadline. For example,
this Court has granted leave to amend under Rule 16(b) when
“amendments could not have been filed earlier because
they reflect information that plaintiff obtained from
depositions that it conducted ‘up until the discovery
cutoff date.'” Gambrel v. Twin Falls
Cty., No. CIV. 1:12-369 WBS, 2014 WL 1612677, at *1 (D.
Idaho Apr. 22, 2014) (noting that this is a “textbook
example” of good cause). Similarly, it has found good
cause existed when defendants did not produce evidence in
their initial disclosures, which served as the basis for
amending plaintiff's complaint, despite plaintiff's
effort to obtain it beforehand. Hollist v. Madison
Cty., No. 4:13-CV-00139-BLW, 2013 WL 5935209, at *1 (D.
Idaho Nov. 1, 2013). This Court has also granted leave to
amend where a pro se plaintiff misunderstood the
scheduling order but diligently sought to leave to amend
after discovering he had made certain mistakes in his
original complaint. Mortensen v. HSBC Bank USA, No.
CV 10-234-S-EJL, 2011 WL 13133843, at *2 (D. Idaho Aug. 1,
2011). Here, however, Plaintiff is not pro se, and
there is no evidence that he misunderstood the deadline, or
that Defendants withheld evidence or otherwise acted to
prevent Plaintiff acting to amend his complaint. Nor does
Plaintiff allege that he could not have learned of the
grounds for adding a state law claim before the deadline.
Plaintiff simply argues that his counsel did not learn about
Tucker and its significance for Plaintiff's
privacy claims until briefing on summary judgment, and thus
any delay should be excused. The length of time between the
deadline to amend, the discovery of key information, and the
date that a party files a motion to amend is relevant to
establishing good cause. See, e.g.,
Hollist, No. 4:13-CV-00139-BLW, 2013 WL 5935209, at
*1 (finding good cause existed where plaintiff obtained
relevant evidence a few days after the deadline to amend and
filed a motion to amend less than a week after the deadline).
Plaintiff does not argue, however, that his counsel could not
reasonably be expected to learn about Tucker until
briefing on summary judgment. Nor does it appear that
Plaintiff sought leave to amend immediately upon discovering
the change in law. Instead, the ...