Garcia v. Schlumberger Lift Sols., No. 1:18-cv-01261-DAD-JLT

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
PartiesCRISTOBAL GARCIA, an individual, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. SCHLUMBERGER LIFT SOLUTIONS, LLC; et al., Defendants.
Decision Date24 February 2020
Docket NumberNo. 1:18-cv-01261-DAD-JLT

CRISTOBAL GARCIA, an individual,
on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
SCHLUMBERGER LIFT SOLUTIONS, LLC; et al., Defendants.

No. 1:18-cv-01261-DAD-JLT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

February 24, 2020


ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A FIRST AMENDED ANSWER

(Doc. No. 19)

This matter is before the court on the motion for leave to file a first amended answer brought by defendants Schlumberger Lift Solutions, LLC and Schlumberger Rod Lift, Inc. ("defendants") on March 1, 2019. (Doc. No. 19.) On April 2, 2019, the motion came before the court for hearing. Attorney Peter Dion-Kindem appeared telephonically on behalf of plaintiff, and attorney William Payne appeared telephonically on behalf of defendants. The court has considered the parties' arguments and, for the reasons set forth below, will grant in part defendants' motion for leave to file a first amended answer.

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BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his initial complaint as a putative class and Private Attorney General Act ("PAGA") action alleging wage and hour claims in the Kern County Superior Court on June 5, 2018; he later filed a first amended complaint ("FAC") on August 6, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 1-2, 1-3.) Defendants answered the FAC on September 12, 2018 and removed the case to this federal court on September 13, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 1, 1-4.)

On March 1, 2019, defendants moved for leave to file a first amended answer to plaintiff's FAC. (Doc. No. 19.) Plaintiff filed his opposition on March 19, 2019, and defendants filed a reply on March 26, 2019. (Doc. Nos. 21, 22.)

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) states:

(1) Amending as a Matter of Course. A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within:

(A) 21 days after serving it, or

(B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.

(2) Other Amendments. In all other cases, 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.

Although "Rule 15(a) is very liberal and leave to amend shall be freely given when justice so requires . . . a district court need not grant leave to amend where the amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party; (2) is sought in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in litigation; or (4) is futile." AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Dialysist W., Inc., 465 F.3d 946, 951 (9th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Repeated failures to cure deficiencies by amendment can also justify withholding leave to amend. See Sonoma Cty. Ass'n of Retired Employees v. Sonoma Cty., 708 F.3d 1109, 1117 (9th Cir. 2013).

"[I]t is the consideration of prejudice to the opposing party that carries the greatest weight"—prejudice being the "touchstone of the inquiry under Rule 15(a)"—but the opposing

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party bears the burden of demonstrating prejudice. Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). "Leave to amend may [also] be denied if the proposed amendment is futile or would be subject to dismissal," Wheeler v. City of Santa Clara, 894 F.3d 1046, 1059 (9th Cir. 2018) (citation omitted), but only if there are "'no set of facts [that] can be proved under the amendment to the pleadings that would constitute a valid and sufficient claim or defense.'" Missouri ex rel. Koster v. Harris, 847 F.3d 646, 656 (9th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). "Absent prejudice, or a strong showing of any of the remaining []...

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