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Lapin v. Widmyer

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 11, 2018

GREGORY LAPIN, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN D. WIDMYER and JANE DOE WIDMYER, individually and the community property comprised thereof; WILLIAM T. REAGAN and JANE DOE REAGAN, individually and the community property comprised thereof; BW REAL ESTATE LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; BENJAMIN WIDMYER in his capacity as sole member of BW Real Estate LLC; BENJAMIN WIDMYER and JANE DOE WIDMYER, individually and the community property comprised thereof; and IDAHO HOUSING & FINANCE ASSOCIATION, an independent public body corporate and politic, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT (DKT. 77)

          Honorable Ronald E. Bush Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge

         Pending is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint. (Dkt. 77.) Having carefully considered the record, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters the following Memorandum Decision and Order.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff Gregory Lapin filed this action on July 20, 2017, alleging that Defendants violated state and federal laws designed to protect the rights of disabled persons. Prior to any Defendant filing an Answer (and prior to the issuance of a scheduling order), Lapin amended his Complaint as of right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(B) on September 1, 2017. (Dkt. 15.) District Judge Edward J. Lodge, the presiding judge in this matter, issued a scheduling order on October 11, 2017. (Dkt. 29.) Among other things, the scheduling order established a deadline of December 12, 2017 to amend pleadings.

         The deadline to amend pleadings was subsequently extended to April 20, 2018. (Dkt. 49.) The amended case management order provided in part that motions “to amend pleadings and join parties, except for allegations of punitive damages, must be filed on or before April 20, 2018. This deadline will only be extended for good cause shown.” A standard footnote stated that the “Ninth Circuit has held that motions to amend filed after the Scheduling Order deadline are governed, not by the liberal provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), but instead, by the more restrictive provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b) requiring a showing of “good cause.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604 (9th Cir. 1992).”

         Lapin moved for leave to file his second amended complaint on April 20, 2018. (Dkt. 52.) It was not opposed. (Dkts. 53, 55, 56.) The motion was granted under Rule 15(a)(2) and Lapin was ordered to file the amended pleading by June 8, 2018. (Dkt. 58.) On June 8, 2018, Lapin moved to extend the deadline to file his amended pleading. (Dkt. 59.) Finding good cause to extend the deadline (based in part on the fact that all opposing parties consented to the extension), the Court granted Lapin an extension through June 18, 2018. (Dkt. 61.) Lapin filed his Second Amended Complaint on June 15, 2018. (Dkt. 62.)

         Certain Defendants moved on July 3, 2018 to dismiss and/or for summary judgment. (Dkts. 64-69.) On July 24, 2018, Lapin filed a memorandum in opposition, a statement of disputed material facts, and an affidavit of counsel. (Dkts. 72-74.) Thereafter, Lapin moved for leave to file his third amended complaint on August 16, 2018. (Dkt. 77.) This motion was opposed (Dkts. 81, 82). Lapin did not respond to Defendants' opposition, and the time for doing so has passed.

         This motion was referred to the undersigned for decision. (Dkts. 29, 49, 77.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[t]he court should freely give leave” to amend “when justice so requires.” However, that standard is tightened when a scheduling order is entered, after which the court may modify the schedule only for good cause. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). Thus, a “party seeking to amend [a] pleading after [the] date specified in [a] scheduling order must first show ‘good cause' for amendment under Rule 16(b), then, if ‘good cause' be shown, the party must demonstrate that amendment [is] proper under Rule 15.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 608 (9th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted).

         The good cause inquiry focuses primarily on the diligence of the party requesting the amendment. Id. at 609. “Rule 16 was designed to facilitate more efficient disposition of cases by settlement or by trial. If disregarded it would ‘undermine the court's ability to control its docket, disrupt the agreed-upon course of the litigation, and reward the indolent and the cavalier.'” Walker v. City of Pocatello, 2017 WL 1650014 at *1 (D. Idaho May 1, 2017) (quoting Johnson, 975 F.2d at 610); see also Rule 16 Advisory Committee Notes (1983 Amendment). As explained in Johnson:

Unlike Rule 15(a)'s liberal amendment policy which focuses on the bad faith of the party seeking to interpose an amendment and the prejudice to the opposing party, Rule 16(b)'s “good cause” standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. The district court may modify the pretrial schedule if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension. . . Although the existence or degree of prejudice to the party opposing the modification might supply additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party's reasons for seeking modification. If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.

Id. (quotation marks and citations omitted). In addition, district courts are “given broad discretion in supervising the pretrial phase of litigation, ” including with respect to “decisions regarding the preclusive effect of a pretrial order.” Johnson, 972 F.2d at 607. If good cause exists under Rule 16(b), “leave to amend should be granted unless amendment would cause prejudice to the opposing party, is sought in bad faith, is futile, or creates undue delay.” Id.; see also Branch Banking and Trust Co. v. D.M.S.I., LLC, 871 F.3d 751, 764 (9th Cir. 2017) (applying Johnson and demonstrating it is still controlling law).

         III. ...


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