KFD Enterprises Inc v. City of Eureka

Filing 40

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND; GRANTING CITY OF EUREKA'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND. KFD's First Amended Complaint shall be filed no later than July 31, 2009. The City's amended counterclaim and third-party complaint shall be filed no later than July 31, 2009. Signed by Judge Maxine M. Chesney on July 17, 2009. (mmclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/17/2009)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Although the City has titled its proposed pleading a "First-Amended Complaint" (see Bolcom Decl. Ex. 1), such pleading is in fact an amended counterclaim and third-party complaint. 1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA KFD ENTERPRISES, INC., Plaintiff, v. CITY OF EUREKA, Defendant, / AND RELATED COUNTERCLAIMS AND CROSSCLAIMS. / No. C-08-4571 MMC ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND; GRANTING CITY OF EUREKA'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND United States District Court Before the Court are plaintiff KFD Enterprises, Inc.'s ("KFD") motion, filed June 12, 2009, for leave to file a an amended complaint, and defendant/counterclaimant/third-party plaintiff City of Eureka's ("City") motion, likewise filed June 12, 2009, for leave to file an amended counterclaim and third-party complaint.1 Having read and considered the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the motions, the Court deems the matters appropriate for decision thereon, hereby VACATES the hearings scheduled for July 24, 2009, and rules as follows. // 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 A. KFD's Motion DISCUSSION By its motion, KFD seeks leave file a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") that adds claims against ten new parties, as well as claims for "continuing trespass, strict liability, negligence, and waste," and deletes a claim for "Porter-Cologne Statutory Contribution." (See Mot. at 3:3-18.) In opposition to such motion, third-party defendant Unocal Corporation ("Unocal"), whom KFD seeks to add as a defendant, argues that KFD's proposed First Claim for Relief ("Cost Recovery Pursuant to CERCLA 107(a)"2) is barred to the extent it seeks to impose joint and several liability on defendants, that KFD's proposed Fourteenth Claim for Relief ("Waste") is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and that KFD's proposed request for attorney's fees (see Mot. Ex. A (Proposed FAC) Prayer for Relief 7) is futile, as KFD has failed to plead any claim for relief under which such fees are available. Leave to amend may be denied if the amendment "constitute[s] an exercise in futility." See DCD Programs, Inc. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186 (9th Cir. 1987). A proposed amendment is futile, however, "only if no set of facts can be proved under the amendment to the pleadings that would constitute a valid and sufficient claim or defense." Miller v. Rykoff-Sexton, Inc., 845 F.2d 209, 214 (9th Cir. 1988). Here, with respect to KFD's proposed First Claim for Relief, Unocal argues that KFD is a "potentially responsible party (`PRP')" under 107(a) of CERCLA and that, consequently, KFD's "remedy under CERCLA, if any, is limited to several liability only." (See Opp'n at 3:5-6, 3:25.) Such argument, however, is premature at this stage of the proceedings, as it does not address the question of whether KFD's First Claim for Relief may be asserted against Unocal, but, rather, the nature of the relief available under such Claim for Relief. With respect to KFD's proposed Fourteenth Claim for Relief and its request for Section 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") is codified at 42 U.S.C. 9607(a). 2 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 attorney's fees, KFD states it "agrees to dismiss without prejudice" both the claim and the request. (See Reply at 5:10-13.) Accordingly, to the extent KFD seeks leave to amend to add new parties and to add claims for continuing trespass, strict liability, and negligence, KFD's motion will be granted, and to the extent KFD seeks leave to amend to assert its proposed Fourteenth Claim for Relief and its proposed request for attorney's fees, KFD's motion will be denied.3 B. The City's Motion By its motion, the City seeks leave to file an amended counterclaim and third-party complaint that adds claims against nine new parties, seven of which are also named in KFD's proposed First Amended Complaint. In opposition to such motion, KFD argues that the City's proposed claims against Kenneth Daer ("Daer"), the "owner and operator" of KFD (see Bolcom Decl. Ex. 1 (proposed amended counterclaim and third-party complaint) 5, 15), would be futile. In particular, KFD argues, the City has failed to plead sufficient facts in support of its CERCLA claims against Daer and has failed to provide "evidentiary support" for such claims. (See Opp'n at 6:16.) As noted, however, a proposed amendment is futile "only if no set of facts can be proved under the amendment to the pleadings that would constitute a valid and sufficient claim or defense." See Miller, 845 F.2d at 214. Here, KFD has failed to show the City can plead no set of facts under which Daer would be liable to the City. Accordingly, the City's motion for leave to amend will be granted. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above: 1. To the extent KFD seeks leave to amend to add new parties and to add claims for continuing trespass, strict liability, and negligence, KFD's motion is hereby GRANTED; KFD's First Amended Complaint shall be filed no later than July 31, 2009. In light of such ruling, the Court does not reach Unocal's Request for Judicial Notice, as such request is directed only at the issues of whether KFD is a PRP under CERCLA and whether KFD's proposed Fourteenth Claim for Relief is time-barred. 3 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2. In all other respects, KFD's motion is hereby DENIED. 3. The City's motion for leave to amend is hereby GRANTED; the City's amended counterclaim and third-party complaint shall be filed no later than July 31, 2009. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: July 17, 2009 MAXINE M. CHESNEY United States District Judge 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.


Why Is My Information Online?