Slack et al v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC

Filing 28

ORDER by Judge Benjamin H Settle granting 25 Motion for Leave to File. Plaintiffs to file amended complaint as separate electronic docket entry no later than 8/1/2012. (TG)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 6 7 8 TROY SLACK, et al., 9 Plaintiffs, 10 v. 11 SWIFT TRANSPORTATION CO. OF ARIZONA, LLC, 12 Defendant. 13 CASE NO. C11-5843 BHS ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND 14 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Troy Slack, Jacob Grismer, 15 Richard Erickson, and Scott Praye’s (“Plaintiffs”) motion for leave to amend (Dkt. 25). 16 The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the 17 motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated 18 herein. 19 I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY 20 On September 9, 2011, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against Defendant 21 Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC (“Swift”), in the Pierce County Superior Court 22 ORDER - 1 1 for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1, ¶ 5. Plaintiffs allege six causes of action: (1) 2 violation of Washington State minimum wage laws; (2) violation of Washington State 3 laws regarding payment of wages less than entitled; (3) failure to provide meal and rest 4 breaks as required by Washington law; ( 4) willful refusal to pay wages, in violation of 5 Washington law; ( 5) violation of Washington State Consumer Protection Act; and ( 6) 6 unpaid wages on termination, in violation of Washington law. Id., ¶ 7. 7 On October 12, 2012, Swift removed the action to this Court under the Class 8 Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). Id., ¶¶ 1–3. 9 On May 16, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to amend. Dkt. 25. On May 10 23, 2012, Swift responded. Dkt. 26. Plaintiffs did not reply. 11 12 II. DISCUSSION The court should freely give leave to amend when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. 13 P. 15(a)(2). In considering whether to permit amendment, courts consider the following 14 factors: “(1) bad faith, (2) undue delay, (3) prejudice to the opposing party, (4) futility of 15 amendment; and (5) whether plaintiff has previously amended his complaint.” Allen v. 16 City of Beverly Hills, 911 F.2d 367, 373 (9th Cir. 1990). 17 In this case, Swift argues that the Court should deny Plaintiffs’ motion because it 18 is untimely, prejudicial, and futile. Dkt. 26 at 9. First, Swift argues that the amendments 19 are untimely because Plaintiffs were aware of the facts when they filed the first amended 20 complaint. Id. at 3–4. The problem with Swift’s argument is that Plaintiffs seek leave to 21 amend by adding additional claims based on the alleged facts. Swift concedes this point: 22 “These facts were alleged in the First Amended Complaint, yet Plaintiffs consciously ORDER - 2 1 chose not to include RCW 49.46.020 minimum wage claims.” Id. at 4. Moreover, 2 Plaintiffs have timely sought leave to amend pursuant to this Court’s scheduling order. 3 See Dkt. 24. The amended pleadings deadline would be meaningless if the Court found 4 that an amendment was untimely when the amendment was sought before the Court’s 5 deadline. Therefore, the Court finds that the amendments are timely. 6 Second, Swift argues that Plaintiffs’ proposed amendments are futile. “A 7 proposed amendment is futile only if no set of facts can be proved under the amendment 8 to the pleadings that would constitute a valid and sufficient claim or defense.” Miller v. 9 Rykoff-Sexton, Inc., 845 F.2d 209, 214 (9th Cir. 1988) (citation omitted, emphasis added). 10 Swift’s arguments are based on Plaintiffs’ failure to provide sufficient allegations under 11 the causes asserted. Dkt. 26 at 5–7. Swift’s argument is misplaced, and it has failed to 12 show that Plaintiffs are unable to allege any set of facts to establish the proposed 13 amendments. Therefore, at this time, the Court does not find that Plaintiffs’ claims are 14 futile. 15 Swift also argues that the claims of the additional Plaintiffs are futile because 16 Plaintiffs have failed to show that the new Plaintiffs would be adequate representatives of 17 a class. Dkt. 26 at 7–8. This is a class certification problem, not an amendment problem. 18 Therefore, Swift’s argument is without merit. 19 Finally, Swift argues that it would be prejudiced by the amendment. This 20 argument is premised on the parties’ agreement to limit the number of depositions during 21 discovery. Dkt. 26 at 8. Swift argues that it would be prejudicial to permit the addition 22 of new plaintiffs because Swift “will not be able to take full-length depositions of all of ORDER - 3 1 the named Plaintiffs.” Dkt. 26 at 8. This is a weak argument. If, however, this becomes 2 an issue that the parties are unable to solve without Court intervention, then the proper 3 procedure would be to seek leave to conduct more depositions pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 30. There is an absence of precedence for the proposition that the Court should deny 5 leave to add additional plaintiffs because the number of additional plaintiffs would 6 exceed the permitted number of initial depositions. Therefore, the Court finds that 7 Plaintiffs’ amendments are not prejudicial. 8 III. ORDER 9 Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend 10 (Dkt. 25) is GRANTED. Plaintiffs shall file the amended complaint as a separate 11 electronic docket entry no later than August 1, 2012. 12 Dated this 23rd day of July, 2012. A 13 14 BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 ORDER - 4

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