United States District Court, D. Nevada
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff,
WELLFLEET COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, et al., Defendants.
M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Judge
before the Court is the Motion for Leave to File Amended
Complaint, (ECF No. 33), filed by Plaintiff Alexander Acosta
(“Plaintiff”). Defendants Wellfleet
Communications, LLC and Allen Roach (collectively
“Defendants”) filed a response, (ECF No. 36), and
Plaintiff filed a reply, (ECF No. 38). For the reasons set
forth herein, Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File
Amended Complaint is GRANTED.
October 7, 2016, Plaintiff filed the Complaint before this
Court alleging violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and
recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”). (See Compl., ECF No. 1). In
particular, the Complaint alleges that Defendants failed to
pay their call center workers the minimum wage and overtime
pay required under the FLSA. (Id.). On July 17,
2017, based on information purportedly obtained through
discovery, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Leave to
File Amended Complaint. (See Mot. to Amend, ECF No.
33). In this Motion, Plaintiff seeks to add additional
parties and provide “more specific factual
allegations.” (Id. 4:10-6:7). As the time to
amend as a matter of course has passed, Plaintiff requests
leave from the Court to file the proposed Amended Complaint.
the time for amendment as a matter of course has expired, a
party may amend its complaint only by leave of the court or
by the adverse party's written consent. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). The court has discretion to grant leave and should
freely do so “when justice so requires.”
Id.; see also Allen v. City of Beverly
Hills, 911 F.2d 367, 373 (9th Cir. 1990). When
determining whether to grant leave to amend under Rule 15(a),
a court should consider: (1) undue delay; (2) undue prejudice
to the opposing party; (3) whether the request is made in bad
faith; and (4) whether the amendment would be futile.
Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publ'g, 512 F.3d
522, 532 (9th Cir. 2008); see also Sharkey v.
O'Neal, 778 F.3d 767, 774 (9th Cir. 2015). In
exercising its discretion, “a court must be guided by
the underlying purpose of Rule 15-to facilitate a decision on
the merits rather than on the pleadings or
technicalities.” DCD Program, Ltd. v.
Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 186 (9th Cir. 1987) (quotation
primary opposition to Plaintiff's Motion is that the
proposed amendment would be futile. (Defs.' Resp.
2:21-23, ECF No. 36). The futility analysis is governed by
the same standards applicable to a motion to dismiss under
FRCP 12(b)(6). Boorman v. Nevada Mem'l Cremation
Soc'y, Inc., 772 F.Supp.2d 1309, 1317 (D. Nev.
2011). Defendants claim that the proposed amendment is futile
because the claims are barred by the two-year statute of
limitations and equitable tolling does not apply. (Defs.'
Resp. 2:21-3:7). In support of this argument, Defendants
assert that Lighthouse Communications, LLC
(“Lighthouse”)-one of the proposed new
defendants-ran its last payroll on March 31, 2014, which is
more than two years prior to the filing of the Complaint.
statute of limitations defense is not proper grounds to deny
a motion to amend unless the defense is obvious on the face
of the complaint. See United States v. McGee, 993
F.2d 184, 187 (9th Cir. 1993); Marczuk v. Las Vegas
Metro. Police Dep't, No. 2:11-cv-00462-APG, 2013 WL
5564062, at *4 (D. Nev. Oct. 7, 2013); see also Cervantes
v. City of San Diego, 5 F.3d 1273, 1276-77 (9th Cir.
1993). Here, Plaintiff explicitly alleges that Lighthouse
continued to employ individuals at the call center
“until at least October 13, 2015.” (Proposed
Amended Complaint ¶¶ 11, 14, Ex. 1 to Mot. to
Amend, ECF No. 33-1). Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that the
violations in the proposed amendment were “willful,
” which would extend the statute of limitations by a
year under the FLSA. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 32-34,
37). As the statute of limitations defense is not obvious on
the face of the proposed Amended Complaint, the Court
declines to decide the issue at this stage.
from arguing futility, Defendants fail to address the
remaining factors under the Rule 15(a)(2) analysis. Most
critically, Defendants fail to establish that they would be
prejudiced by the proposed amendment. See Howey v. United
States, 481 F.2d 1187, 1190 (9th Cir. 1973) (stating
that prejudice is the crucial factor under the Rule 15(a)
analysis). In light of the strong presumption in favor of
granting leave to amend, the Court finds good cause to grant
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended
HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File
Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 33), is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall
have ten (10) days from the entry of this Order to file the
Amended Complaint separately on the docket.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or
Alternatively Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 5), is
DENIED as moot. The ...