Rodriguez v. RCO Reforesting, Inc. et al.

Filing 22

ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 4/12/2017 GRANTING 14 Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Complaint. Plaintiff shall file the amended complaint attached as exhibit 1 to his 15 Motion within five days of the date this Order is signed. (Kirksey Smith, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 JESUS RODRIGUEZ, CIV. NO. 2:16-2523 WBS CMK Plaintiff, ORDER RE: MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT v. RCO REFORESTING, INC. and ROBERTO OCHOA, Defendants. 18 19 ----oo0oo---- 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Plaintiff Jesus Rodriguez brought this action against defendants RCO Reforesting, Inc. (“RCO”) and Roberto Ochoa, asserting various wage and hour and employment law claims under federal and California law. (Compl. (Docket No. 1).) Plaintiff now seeks leave to amend his Complaint to add a second plaintiff to this action. (Pl.’s Mot. (Docket No. 14).) Plaintiff is a Mexican national who worked in the United States on a temporary non-immigrant foreign worker (“H1 1 2B”) visa in 2014. 2 California forestry company, and defendant Ochoa, owner of RCO, 3 allegedly employed plaintiff while he was in the United States in 4 2014. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 6.) Defendant RCO, a (Id. ¶¶ 7-8, 11.) 5 On October 22, 2016, plaintiff filed this action, 6 alleging, inter alia, that defendants failed to pay him his 7 agreed-upon hourly rate, required overtime, travel costs to and 8 from the United States, and required work expenses in violation 9 of the Agricultural Worker Protection Act, Fair Labor Standards 10 Act, California Labor Code, and California Civil Code. 11 5, 7-13.) 12 provide him potable water, toilets, and handwashing facilities, 13 and wrongfully discharged him in violation of California Business 14 and Professional Code and California common law. 15 To date, defendants have not filed an answer to plaintiff’s 16 Complaint or entered an appearance in this case.1 17 (Id. at Plaintiff also alleges that defendants failed to (Id. at 13-14.) On February 17, 2017, the court issued a pretrial 18 scheduling order stating that “[n]o further joinder of parties or 19 amendments to pleadings will be permitted by any party except 20 with leave of court, good cause having been shown under Federal 21 Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b).” 22 (Docket No. 7).) 23 (Feb. 17, 2017 Order at 2 On the same day, plaintiff moved for leave to amend his 24 25 26 27 28 1 It is not clear whether defendants have appeared in this matter. In the “Joint” Status Report filed February 13, 2017,it is represented that defendants have been served, but they have yet to file answers to the complaint. There are various representations in the report as to the defendants’ position on the issues discussed therein, and a signature block for defendant Roberto Ochoa appears at the bottom of the report. Whether defendants’ participation in that report was intended to constitute an appearance, or whether it has the legal effect of an appearance, is unclear. 2 1 Complaint to add Rigoberto Loa, another H-2B worker allegedly 2 employed by defendants in 2014, to this action. 3 According to plaintiff, Loa was subject to the same unlawful wage 4 and employment practices he was subject to. 5 of the fourteen causes of action asserted in his Complaint, 6 according to plaintiff, apply to Loa. 7 (Pl.’s Mot.) (Id. at 6.) Twelve (Id.) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a) allows parties to 8 join an action as plaintiffs if: “(A) they assert any right to 9 relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to 10 or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of 11 transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question of law or fact 12 common to all plaintiffs will arise in the action.” 13 P. 20(a). 14 construed liberally in order to promote trial convenience and to 15 expedite the final determination of disputes, thereby preventing 16 multiple lawsuits.” 17 Planning Agency, 558 F.2d 914, 917 (9th Cir. 1977). 18 Fed. R. Civ. The Ninth Circuit has held that Rule 20(a) “is to be League to Save Lake Tahoe v. Tahoe Reg’l A party seeking to amend its pleading is generally 19 subject to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), which provides 20 that it may amend its pleading once as a matter of right before a 21 responsive pleading is served. 22 However, “[o]nce the district court [issues] a pretrial 23 scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 16[,] which establishe[s] a timetable for amending pleadings[,] 25 that rule’s standards control[].” 26 Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992); see In 27 re W. States Wholesale Nat. Gas Antitrust Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 28 737 (9th Cir. 2013). Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). 3 Johnson v. Mammoth 1 Under Rule 16(b), a party seeking to amend its pleading 2 must demonstrate “good cause.” 3 16(b)’s ‘good cause’ standard primarily considers the diligence 4 of the party seeking amendment.” 5 that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.” 6 Although “the focus of the inquiry is upon the moving party’s 7 reasons for seeking modification[,]” a court may make its 8 determination by assessing the potential prejudice to other 9 parties that would result from amendment. 10 Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b). “Rule Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. “If Id. Id. Based on plaintiff’s representation that Loa will be 11 asserting claims arising out of the same allegedly unlawful wage 12 and employment practices he was subject to for the same period of 13 time, (see Pl.’s Mot. at 6), the court finds that joinder of Loa 14 is proper under Rule 20(a). 15 Plaintiff has demonstrated good cause to amend his 16 Complaint. He represents that he did not receive notice of Loa’s 17 claims until two months after he filed his Complaint, (id. at 2), 18 indicating that he could not have included Loa in his Complaint 19 at the time he filed it. 20 two months after receiving notice of Loa’s claims, and before the 21 initial pretrial scheduling conference in this case was set to 22 take place. 23 2017), with Docket No. 3 (setting initial pretrial scheduling 24 conference on February 27, 2017).) 25 his Complaint will not prejudice defendants because defendants 26 have not made an appearance in this case, and no discovery or 27 substantive motion practice has taken place. 28 indication that plaintiff lacked diligence in seeking to add Loa, Plaintiff brought this Motion less than (Compare id. at 7 (motion filed on February 17, 4 Allowing plaintiff to amend Because there is no 1 and because an amendment of plaintiff’s Complaint will not 2 prejudice defendants, the court will grant plaintiff’s Motion. 3 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff’s Motion for 4 leave to amend his Complaint be, and the same hereby is, GRANTED. 5 Plaintiff shall file the amended complaint attached as exhibit 1 6 to his Motion (Docket No. 15) within five days of the date this 7 Order is signed. 8 Dated: April 12, 2017 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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