Krause v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.

Filing 41

ORDER signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 10/11/2019 DENYING 37 Motion to Amend the Complaint and the Pretrial Scheduling Order. (York, M)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 GWEN KRAUSE, 12 No. Plaintiff, 13 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT TO ADD DEFENDANTS DELTA ENGINEERING AND HEATH TECNA AND AMEND PRE-TRIAL SCHEDULING ORDER v. 14 HAWAIIAN AIRLINES, INC., 15 2:18-cv-00928-JAM-AC Defendant. 16 On February 26, 2018, Gwen Krause filed a suit against 17 18 Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (“Hawaiian”) in Sacramento County 19 Superior Court alleging negligence. 20 Defendant removed the case to federal court. 21 ECF No. 1. 22 the pretrial scheduling order. 23 opposes Plaintiff’s motion. Notice of Removal, Plaintiff now moves to amend her complaint and modify Mot., ECF No. 37. Defendant Opp’n, ECF No. 38. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES 24 25 Compl., ECF No. 1–1. Plaintiff’s motion to amend.1 26 27 28 This motion was determined to be suitable for decision without oral argument. E.D. Cal. L.R. 230(g). The hearing was scheduled for October 8, 2019 1 1 1 2 I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND On March 27, 2016, an interior panel on Defendant’s aircraft 3 fell from the ceiling and struck Plaintiff on the head. 4 ¶ 12. 5 aircraft in a condition reasonably safe under the circumstances; 6 (2) reasonably inspect the aircraft; and (3) observe due care and 7 precaution. 8 9 Compl. Plaintiff contends Defendant failed to: (1) maintain the Compl. ¶ 15. Plaintiff filed suit two years later. case to federal court. Defendant removed the Through the course of discovery, 10 Plaintiff received the initial disclosure of Defendant’s expert. 11 Mot. at 4. 12 was attempting to shift liability to Delta Engineering, Inc. 13 (“Delta Engineering”) and Heath Tecna, Inc. (“Heath Tecna”) for 14 the design and manufacture of the panel and the panel’s latch. 15 Mot. at 4. 16 the complaint to add Delta Engineering and Heath Tecna as 17 defendants and amend the pretrial scheduling order to allow 18 Plaintiff and the new potential defendants to conduct discovery. 19 Mot. at 11. This April 2019 disclosure revealed that Defendant Five months later, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend 20 21 II. OPINION 22 A. Legal Standard 23 Once the Court has filed a pretrial scheduling order, a 24 party’s motion to amend is not solely governed by Federal Rule 25 of Civil Procedure 15. 26 Rule 16(b)’s “good cause” requirement before the Court will 27 assess the propriety of the amendment under Rule 15. 28 Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992). Rather, the moving party must satisfy 2 Johnson v. 1 This requirement primarily looks to “the diligence of the party 2 seeking the amendment.” 3 existence or degree of prejudice to the party opposing the 4 modification might supply additional reasons to deny a motion.” 5 Id. 6 16] inquiry is upon the moving party’s reasons for seeking 7 modification [of the schedule].” 8 was not diligent, the inquiry should end.” 9 Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. “[T]he But, unlike the Rule 15 analysis, “the focus of the [Rule B. 10 Id. If the “[moving] party Id. Analysis 1. Rule 16(b) 11 The “good cause” requirement is typically not met “where 12 the party seeking to modify the pretrial scheduling order has 13 been aware of the facts and theories supporting amendment since 14 the inception of the action.” 15 “carelessness is not compatible with a finding of diligence and 16 offers no reason for a grant of relief.” 17 610. 18 Id. at 737. Indeed, Johnson, 975 F.2d at The motion to amend at issue here bears striking 19 similarities to the one before the Ninth Circuit in Johnson. 20 Johnson, the plaintiff sued Mammoth Recreations, Inc. after a 21 ski-lift accident. 22 the scheduling order’s deadline for joining additional parties, 23 the defendant told plaintiff that Mammoth Mountain Ski, not 24 Mammoth Recreations, owned and operated the ski lift. 25 606-07. 26 substitution of the proper party. 27 Johnson failed to file a motion to amend his complaint until 28 four months after the scheduling order’s deadline for joining 975 F.2d at 606. On two occasions prior to Id. at Mammoth Recreations even offered to stipulate to a 3 In Id. at 607. Nonetheless, 1 parties. 2 amend, finding that his failure to “heed clear and repeated 3 signals that not all necessary parties had been named in the 4 complaint [did] not constitute diligence.” 5 Id. at 607. The Court denied Johnson’s motion to Id. at 609. Like the defendant in Johnson, Hawaiian Airlines 6 unambiguously alerted Plaintiff to the existence of an 7 alternative defendant. 8 Plaintiff failed to amend her complaint in a timely manner. 9 April 2019, Defendant timely served expert disclosures on And like the plaintiff in Johnson, 10 Plaintiff. 11 of Defendant’s liability expert’s report should have placed 12 Plaintiff on notice of the two potential installation and 13 manufacturer defendants. 14 paragraph of the report plainly states that Delta Engineering is 15 the “[Supplemental Type Certificated “STC”] holder for the 16 interior installation” and that Heath Tecna is the “designer and 17 manufacturer of the components used in the installation.” 18 An STC is a certificate issued when an applicant has received 19 Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) approval to modify an 20 aeronautical product from its original design. 21 Type Certificates, Federal Aviation Administration (Oct. 7, 22 2019, 12:30 PM), aircraft/air_cert/ 23 design_approvals/stc/. 24 Opp’n, ECF No. 38 at 4. In A quick scan over page one Exh. A to Opp’n at 1. The second Id. Supplemental The report goes on to allege the following significant 25 facts: (1) Hawaiian Airlines did not manufacture or design the 26 replacement interior; (2) The interior was installed by Delta 27 Engineering; (3) As the STC holder, Delta Engineering is 28 responsible for, among other things, the design of the interior, 4 1 reporting of problems to the FAA, and the creation and 2 maintenance of inspection requirements for the interior; and 3 (4) Heath Tecna manufactured the parts, created the parts 4 catalog and maintenance manual, and issued service letters and 5 bulletins. 6 uncertain terms, attempts to shift liability from Defendant to 7 Delta Engineering and Heath Tecna for the design, manufacture, 8 and maintenance of the panel latch at issue. 9 Exh. A to Opp’n at 4. Thus, the report, in no Plaintiff argues her “attempt[s] to gather further 10 information under Defendant’s theory of liability as to the 11 manufacture and design of the panel” caused her five-month 12 delay. 13 given all the information provided to Plaintiff in Defendant’s 14 expert report. 15 report goes on to explain that Delta Engineering produced 16 Instructions for Continued Airworthiness and Heath Tecna 17 produced a Maintenance Manual. 18 Defendant complied with all the requirements set forth by Delta 19 Engineering and Heath Tecna. 20 Mot. at 5. The Court finds this argument unconvincing Beyond the information mentioned above, the Id. at 4. It alleges that Id. at 5. Put simply, the expert report contained more than enough 21 information to allow Plaintiff to “state a claim for relief that 22 [was] plausible on its face.” 23 662, 678 (2009) (A claim has facial plausibility when the 24 plaintiff pleads “factual content that allows the court to draw 25 the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the 26 misconduct alleged.”). 27 evidenced by the fact that Plaintiff did not, in the end, 28 acquire any additional discovery prior to filing her motion to See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. No additional discovery was needed, as 5 1 2 amend. In sum, Plaintiff knew Delta Engineering was responsible 3 for installing the interior of the airplane, and that Health 4 Tecna designed and manufactured the components used in the 5 installation, as early as April 2019. 6 received enough information about these potential defendants to 7 make out plausible allegations against them in an amended 8 complaint. 9 her motion to amend the original complaint. Further, Plaintiff But Plaintiff waited until September of 2019 to file Five months of 10 inaction without a valid reason for the delay prevent Plaintiff 11 from making the requisite showing of “good cause.” 12 the Court finds that Plaintiff has not satisfied Rule 16(b)’s 13 requirements. 14 Accordingly, Because Plaintiff failed to show good cause to amend the 15 pretrial scheduling order under Rule 16(b), the Court need not 16 address whether the amendment to the complaint is proper under 17 Rule 15. 18 19 III. ORDER 20 For the reasons set forth above, the Court DENIES 21 Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend the Complaint and the Pretrial 22 Scheduling Order. 23 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 11, 2019 25 26 27 28 6

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