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Cameron v. Avalon Mobility Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 5, 2018

Dean G Cameron, Plaintiff,
Avalon Mobility Incorporated, et el., Defendants.


          James A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Amend Answer (“Motion to Amend, ” Doc. 62). The Court now rules on the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On December 14, 2017, Defendant filed the pending Motion to Amend (Doc. 62). Plaintiff filed a timely Response (Doc. 64) on December 28, 2017. Defendant then filed a Reply (Doc. 65) on January 4, 2018.

         On January 25, 2018, Defendant Avalon Mobility Incorporated filed a Notice (Doc. 68) that the company filed bankruptcy. On the same day, Defendant also provided notice that Defendant Scott Huffman is deceased. (Doc. 69). As per the Court's resulting Order (Doc. 70), the instant order will only apply to Defendant Brenda Huffman.

         Defendant's Motion to Amend follows the Court's Order (Doc. 59) denying the parties' Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment issued on August 21, 2017. The Court went through the background facts of this case in its previous Order (Doc. 59), so it will not repeat them all here. (See Doc. 59 at 1-4). The Court will discuss other relevant facts as necessary in the body of this Order.

         In the pending motion, Defendant seeks to change several factual allegations within her Answer. (Doc. 62 at 3-4). Additionally, Defendant seeks to augment her affirmative defenses by referencing provisions under 29 C.F.R. § 541, which explain how the administrative and/or managerial exemption should be interpreted when an employee has multiple or related duties. (Doc. 62 at 3). Furthermore, Defendant seeks to add the Motor Carrier Exemption, as governed by 29 C.F.R. § 782, to her list of affirmative defenses. (Doc. 62 at 3). Although not clearly stated in her original motion, Defendant also seeks to amend her prayer for relief to include a request for attorney's fees. (Doc. 62-1 at 4:25-26).


         Generally, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 15(a) governs a motion to amend pleadings to add claims or parties. However, Rule 16 also applies because Defendant filed her request to amend after the Rule 16 Scheduling Order deadline for amendments passed. With respect to the interplay between Rules 16 and 15(a), “[a]s the Ninth Circuit explained in Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604 (9th Cir. 1992), once the district court has filed a pretrial scheduling order pursuant to Rule 16 which establishes a timetable for amending pleadings, a motion seeking to amend pleadings is governed first by Rule 16(b), and only secondarily by Rule 15(a).” Jackson v. Laureate, Inc., 186 F.R.D. 605, 607 (E.D. Cal. 1999). “If [the court] considered only Rule 15(a) without regard to Rule 16(b), [it] would render scheduling orders meaningless and effectively would read Rule 16(b) and its good cause requirement out of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Sosa v. Airprint Sys., Inc., 133 F.3d 1417, 1419 (11th Cir. 1998). Accordingly, the Court will evaluate Plaintiff's motion first under Rule 16, and then, if necessary, under Rule 15(a).

         A.Rule 16

         1. Legal Standard

         Under Rule 16, a scheduling order “may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). Under Rule 16, “good cause” means the scheduling deadlines cannot be met despite the party's diligence. Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (citing 6A Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1522.1 at 231 (2d ed. 1990)). “The pretrial schedule may be modified if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension. If the party seeking the modification was not diligent, the inquiry should end and the motion to modify should not be granted.” Zivkovic v. S. Cal. Edison Co., 302 F.3d 1080, 1087 (9th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

To demonstrate diligence under Rule 16's “good cause” standard, the movant may be required to show the following: (1) that he was diligent in assisting the court in creating a workable Rule 16 order; (2) that his noncompliance with a Rule 16 deadline occurred or will occur, notwithstanding his 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 he was diligent in seeking amendment of the Rule 16 order, once it became apparent that he could not comply with the order.

Morgal v. Maricopa County Bd. of Supervisors, 284 F.R.D. 452, 460 (D. Ariz. June 6, 2012) ...

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