Gonzalez v. Examination Management Services, Inc. et al

Filing 25

ORDER: (1) Granting 22 Motion to File Third Party Complaint; and (2) Vacating Hearing. Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 11/8/2017. (mpl)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 11 12 13 MARIA T. GONZALEZ, on Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated, 16 17 18 19 ORDER: (1) GRANTING MOTION TO FILE THIRD PARTY COMPLAINT; AND (2) VACATING HEARING Plaintiff, 14 15 Case No.: 17cv1077-JLS (JLB) v. EXAMINATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., a Nevada Corporation; LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS, a Delaware Corporation; and DOES 1–10, inclusive, (ECF No. 22) Defendants. 20 21 22 Presently before the Court is Defendant Examination Management Services, Inc. 23 (“EMSI”)’s Motion for Leave to File Third Party Complaint, (ECF No. 22). EMSI seeks 24 leave to add Soko United Corporation (“Soko”) as a defendant, stating Plaintiff incorrectly 25 named EMSI as her employer when Soko is Plaintiff’s actual employer. (Id. at 3–4). EMSI 26 seeks to implead Soko “for the purposes of assigning liability” to Soko if any liability is 27 found with respect to Plaintiff’s allegations. (Id. at 3.) 28 Also before the Court is Plaintiff Maria Gonzalez’s Response to Motion, (ECF No. 1 17cv1077-JLS (JLB) 1 23). In her Response, Plaintiff states she “does not oppose EMSI’s filing of the proposed 2 Third-Party Complaint” but reserves her right to strike, sever, or try separately the third- 3 party claim and assert claims against the third party, and clarifies her belief that EMSI is 4 correctly named as a defendant because EMSI is her employer. (Id. at 5, 8–9.) 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ANALYSIS Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14(a) governs when a defendant may bring a third party into a case. It provides, in pertinent part: A defending party may, as third-party plaintiff, serve a summons and complaint on a nonparty who is or may be liable to it for all or part of the claim against it. But the third-party plaintiff must, by motion, obtain the court’s leave if it files the third-party complaint more than 14 days after serving its original answer. 12 Fed. R. Civ. P. 14(a). Here, because Defendant’s original answer was filed on August 28, 13 2017, leave of the Court is required. 14 As to the purpose of Rule 14(a), Professors Wright and Miller explain: 15 The claim against the third-party defendant must be based upon plaintiff’s claim against defendant. The crucial characteristic of a Rule 14 claim is that defendant is attempting to transfer to the third-party defendant the liability asserted against him by the original plaintiff. The mere fact that the alleged third-party claim arises from the same transaction or set of facts as the original claim is not enough. 16 17 18 19 20 6 Charles Alan Wright, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 1446 (3d ed. 2017). “The 21 decision whether to implead a third party defendant is within the sound discretion of the 22 district court.” Southwest Adm., Inc. v. Rozay’s Transfer, 791 F.2d 769, 777 (9th Cir. 23 1986). “In deciding whether to permit a defendant to file a third party complaint, the court 24 considers (1) prejudice to the original plaintiff; (2) complication of issues at trial; (3) the 25 likelihood of trial delay; and (4) the timeliness of the motion.” Irwin v. Mascott, 94 F. 26 Supp. 2d 1052, 1056 (N.D. Cal. 2000) (citing Somportex Ltd. v. Philadelphia Chewing 27 Gum Corp., 453 F.2d 435, 439 n.6 (3d Cir. 1971)); see also Green Valley Corp. v. Caldo 28 2 17cv1077-JLS (JLB) 1 Oil Co., No. 09-cv-04028-LHK, 2011 WL 1465883, at *8 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 18, 2011) 2 (same). 3 First, EMSI’s claim against Soko is based on Plaintiff’s claim against EMSI. EMSI 4 alleges if anyone is liable to Plaintiff, it is Soko, and is therefore attempting to transfer 5 liability to Soko. Further, as to the three factors from Irwin, Plaintiff does not oppose the 6 Motion and does not argue she would be prejudiced by the addition of Soko to the case. 7 The Court agrees and finds no prejudice. Complication of issues and delay of the trial are 8 not significant concerns because this case is still in its infancy and trial has not yet been 9 set. Further, discovery has not yet begun in this case, and Magistrate Judge Burkhardt has 10 already ordered that if Soko is added to the case, the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f) 11 conference shall be completed within 14 days of Soko’s filing of its answer to the complaint 12 or the district court’s ruling on any Rule 12 motion by Soko, whichever is sooner. (ECF 13 No. 20, at 2.) Finally, the Court finds the present Motion timely, as it was filed with no 14 undue delay, approximately one month after Defendant filed its answer. 15 16 17 18 19 CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion. Accordingly, the Court VACATES the hearing set for November 16, 2017. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 8, 2017 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 17cv1077-JLS (JLB)

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