(PS) Porter v. Yuba City Police Dept.

Filing 54

ORDER signed by Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on 09/14/22 DENYING 49 Motion to Amend the Complaint. (Benson, A.)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 Quiana Lei Porter, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 No. 2:20-cv-01554-KJM-DB ORDER v. Yuba City Police Officers Hansen, Jurado, Jensen, Escheman, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 Plaintiff Quiana Lei Porter brings this civil rights action against several Yuba City Police 19 Officers. She moves for leave to amend her complaint. Porter has not shown she has diligently 20 attempted to meet the deadlines in the court’s scheduling order. As a result, the court denies the 21 motion to amend. 22 I. 23 BACKGROUND Prior orders detail the background of this case, see ECF Nos. 44, 28, so a short summary 24 suffices here. On July 31, 2018, several Yuba City police officers arrested Porter outside her 25 brother’s home. Third Am. Compl. at 3–4, ECF No. 46. Porter later filed a complaint against the 26 Yuba City Police Department and fifty Doe defendants. Compl., ECF No. 1. After three 1 1 amendments to her complaint, the case is now proceeding against four individual officers: 2 defendants Hansen, Jurado,1 Jenson, and Escheman. See generally Third Am. Compl.. 3 Discovery has closed. See Mins. & Bench Order, ECF No. 29. Porter now asks for 4 permission to amend her complaint once more. She would substitute two police officers, Sowles 5 and Bisland, for two Doe defendants. Mot. to Am., ECF No. 49. She explains that she only 6 confirmed the two officers’ involvement in her arrest during a recent deposition. See id. at 2. 7 The defendants oppose her motion, arguing that the initial disclosure materials, which Porter 8 received seven months ago, established the officers’ involvement. Opp’n, ECF No. 50. Porter 9 replied. Reply, ECF No. 51. The court held an in-person hearing on the motion on September 9, 2022.2 William Bitner 10 11 appeared for the defense. Stanley Goff did not appear. The court had planned to ask Mr. Goff to 12 explain precisely what information he obtained through depositions that plaintiff could not have 13 gleaned from the police incident reports defendants provided during initial discovery. The court 14 typically would issue an order to show cause based on Mr. Goff’s nonappearance, but exercises 15 its discretion here merely to caution Mr. Goff that a future failure to appear may result in 16 sanctions. 17 II. LEGAL STANDARD 18 Once a scheduling order is issued, a motion to amend the pleadings is governed by 19 Rule 16’s “good cause” requirement. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, 975 F.2d 604, 608 (9th 20 Cir. 1992); Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4) (“A schedule may be modified only for good cause and with 21 the judge’s consent.”). That requirement “primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking 22 ///// 1 Defendant Jurado’s name has been misspelled by the parties and the misspelling is reflected on the court’s docket. As confirmed by the incident reports, see Inc. Rep. at 4, Opp’n, ECF No. 50-1, and at the September 9 hearing, the correct spelling is Jurado. The parties are directed to use the correct spelling in future filings, and the court requests the Clerk of Court correct the spelling of the defendant’s name on the docket. 2 The court for some time now has been holding all hearings in person, as its published calendars indicate. It will entertain timely requests for videoconference hearings if those requests comply with the court’s published procedures for making such requests. 2 1 the amendment.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609. To prove diligence, the moving party must establish: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (1) that she was diligent in assisting the [c]ourt in creating a workable Rule 16 order; (2) that her noncompliance with a Rule 16 deadline occurred or will occur, notwithstanding her diligent efforts to comply, because of the development of matters which could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated at the time of the Rule 16 scheduling conference; and (3) that she was diligent in seeking amendment of the Rule 16 order, once it became apparent that she could not comply with the order. 9 Martinez-Sanchez v. Anthony Vineyards, Inc., No. 19-1404, 2020 WL 7360579, at *3 (E.D. Cal. 10 Dec. 15, 2020). This inquiry focuses on “the moving party’s reasons for seeking modification. If 11 that party was not diligent, the inquiry should end.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (internal citation 12 omitted). Ordinarily, a party cannot meet this standard if it has long been aware “of the facts and 13 law” that support its motion. Lambey v. California Dept. of Ins., No. 11-2392, 2013 WL 14 3992132, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2013). 15 III. 16 ANALYSIS Porter argues that she could not have sought leave to amend before a recent deposition 17 was complete. See Mot. at 5. Before that deposition, she explains, she could not “determine 18 exactly how both Sowles and Bisland were involved in the violation of [her] rights.” Id. In 19 response, the defendants argue that Porter received sufficient information about Sowles and 20 Bisland from their initial disclosures. Opp’n at 2–3. Those initial disclosures included incident 21 reports from both Sowles and Bisland. Id. at 2. But Porter argues that the two officers’ “exact 22 role” was unclear despite those reports. Reply at 3. She claims that their roles remained unclear 23 until after she reviewed a video of her arrest with the defendants during their depositions. Id. 24 This explanation is unpersuasive after comparing the incident reports with Porter’s 25 proposed amendments. In the absence of a more specific explanation, these amendments are the 26 only concrete explanation of what she learned during discovery. In her proposed fourth amended 27 complaint, Porter alleges that Sowles (1) “knocked [her] phone from her hand to prevent her from 28 continu[ing] to record the officers,” (2) announced she was under arrest, (3) “shut off the dash 29 camera manually,” (4) “grabbed [her] exposed breasts without her consent and placed them in her 30 shirt,” and (5) used “unreasonable and excessive force” to drag her to the ground. Proposed 3 1 Fourth Am. Compl. at 5, 6, & 9, Mot., ECF No. 49-1. But the incident reports identify Sowles as 2 the person responsible for several of these actions. Sowles’ report states that he identified an 3 issue with the in-car camera, forced Porter to the ground, handcuffed her, and requested 4 permission to pull her shirt over her exposed breast. Inc. Rep. at 15, 16, Opp’n, ECF No. 50-1. 5 Next, Porter’s proposed fourth amended complaint alleges Bisland “intentionally applied” 6 force to the side of her face “to purposely cause her pain, despite the fact that she was not 7 resisting.” Proposed Fourth Am. Compl. at 5, 9. But Bisland’s incident report discloses that he 8 “implemented a hypoglossal pressure point (a pressure point located behind the jaw) until pain 9 compliance was met.” Inc. Rep. at 8. 10 In sum, Porter points to no significant differences between what she learned during the 11 recent depositions and what the officers disclosed to her seven months ago. As a result, she has 12 not shown that she diligently sought leave to amend her complaint. 13 IV. CONCLUSION 14 The court denies the motion to amend (ECF No. 49). 15 IT IS SO ORDERED. 16 DATED: September 14, 2022. 4

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