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Mendez v. Community Health Clinics, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

May 29, 2019

RAUL MENDEZ, Plaintiff,




         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Raul Mendez's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint. Dkt. 36. The Motion is fully briefed and ripe for decision. Having reviewed the record, the Court finds that the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs. 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 decides the pending Motion on the record without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B). For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause to DENY the Motion.


         Mendez filed this case against Community Health Services, Inc. ("Community Health") as apro se litigant on September 20, 2016. Dkt. 2. In his Complaint, Mendez generally alleges that Community Health discriminated against him on the basis of race, color, and national origin.

         Among other allegations in relation to his claims of discrimination, Mendez claims he did not receive the same training as a Caucasian employee who was similarly situated in the same work position of X-Ray technician at Community Health. While employed by Community Health, Mendez spoke with the nursing manager, his supervisor, about his concerns that the company was engaging in potentially fraudulent behavior. Mendez claims the clinic was requiring that employees represent that an X-ray technician performed the X-ray procedures even though, in practice, lesser-trained medical assistants were performing them. Mendez asserts he was ultimately fired from his position at Community Health for raising these concerns.

         After Community Health filed its Answer to Mendez's complaint, the Court entered a case management order requiring the parties to file all motions to amend no later than February 8, 2018. Dkt. 24, at 2. Neither party filed such a motion prior to the expiration of the deadline. However, Mendez filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint on March 4, 2019. In his Amended Complaint, Mendez seeks to add an additional Title VII claim of employer retaliation under the First Amendment. See Dkt. 36.


         Federal 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). However, when-as in this case-a party files a motion to amend after the Court's case management deadline to amend has passed, district courts in the Ninth Circuit apply Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b), followed by a Rulel5(a) analysis. See Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992). Rule 16 provides that "[a] schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent." Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). If the party seeking amendment establishes "good cause" under Rule 16, the party then must demonstrate that amendment is proper under Rule 15. Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609.

         Rule 16's good cause inquiry focuses primarily on "the diligence of the party seeking the amendment." Id. "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 Simplot Livestock Co. v. Sutfin Land & Livestock, No. 116-CV-00139-EJL-REB, 2018 WL 563142, at *l (D. Idaho Jan. 25, 2018). The Ninth Circuit has instructed that a "district court may modify the pretrial schedule 'if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.'" Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee's notes (1983 amendment)).

         In contrast, under Rule 15, leave to amend a pleading "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Leave to amend lies within the sound discretion of the trial court, which "must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15 to facilitate decisions on the merits, rather than on the pleadings or technicalities." United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981). The Rule 15 "policy is 'to be applied with extreme liberality.'" Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1051 (9th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has instructed district courts to consider the following factors when deciding whether to grant leave to amend: "undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of amendment." Id. (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         In the present case, all motions to amend or to join parties were due no later than February 8, 2018. Dkt. 24, at 2. Mendez did not file his Motion for Leave to Amend until March 4, 2019- more than one year after the applicable deadline. Accordingly, Mendez's request for amendment is governed by Rule 16(b), ...

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