United States District Court, E.D. Washington
LEE WALTH and JANET WALTH, husband and wife and the marital community comprised thereof, Plaintiff,
STAPLES THE OFFICE SUPERSTORE, LLC; STAPLES, INC; SPAR MARKETING FORCE, INC; and JOHN DOES 1-5, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND THE
COMPLAINT AND REMAND THIS ACTION TO STATE COURT
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend the Complaint
and Remand this Action to State Court, ECF No. 17. The Court
held a telephonic hearing on the motion on January 26, 2018.
Dean Swanson appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs. Alison
Markette appeared on behalf of Defendant Spar Marketing
Force, Inc., and John Bender appeared on behalf of Defendant
Staples. The Court has considered the parties' arguments,
their pleadings, and the record, and is fully informed.
Lee and Janet Walth (“the Walths”) filed a civil
tort action in Spokane County Superior Court against Staples
the Office Superstore, LLC; Staples, Inc.; Spar Marketing
Force, Inc.; and John Does 1-5 (collectively,
“Defendants”). ECF No. 1-2. Defendant Spar
Marketing Force (“Spar”) subsequently removed the
action to federal court pursuant to diversity jurisdiction.
ECF No. 1. The Walths moved to remand the matter to the
Spokane County Superior Court. ECF No. 4. This Court denied
that motion. ECF No. 7.
Walth alleges that he fell from an Eckert office display
chair at a Staples store in Spokane, WA, and suffered
injuries. ECF No. 1-2 at 3. At the time of Mr. Walth's
alleged incident, Defendant Spar provided merchandizing
services at Staples stores, including assembling, inspecting,
and repairing display furniture. ECF No. 18-7 at 4. During
that same time frame, Mr. Ande Udby worked for Spar as an
independent contractor, performing the merchandizing services
at the Staples store where the incident occurred.
Id. at 4-5. The Walths alleged that Mr. Udby
negligently assembled the display chair and that, either
through an agency relationship or a right of retained
control, Staples and Spar, and their parent companies, were
responsible for Mr. Udby's conduct. ECF No. 18-1 at 8,
Walths now move to amend their complaint to join the
following additional defendants: Spar Business Services,
Inc., Spar Administrative Services, Inc. (collectively,
“Spar Companies”), and Ande Udby. ECF No. 17 at 5.
Provided the Court grants the Walths' motion to amend and
allows the joinder of Mr. Udby, diversity jurisdiction would
be destroyed, and this court would lose jurisdiction over
this case. Therefore, the Walths simultaneously move to
remand this case to the Spokane County Superior Court.
See ECF No. 17 at 5.
Standard to Amend Complaint
Walths moved to amend their complaint more than 21 days after
the Defendants filed their Answer. See ECF Nos. 3
and 17. Therefore the Walths are not entitled to amendment as
of right under Civil Rule 15(a)(1), and must instead obtain
leave of the Court to amend pursuant to Civil Rule 15(a)(2).
“The court should freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
Rule 15 allows courts to liberally grant leave to amend
complaints, a district court “need not grant leave to
amend where the amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party;
(2) is sought in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in
litigation; or (4) is futile.” AmerisourceBergen
Corp. v. Dailysist West, Inc., 465 F.3d 946, 951 (9th
Cir. 2006). “Courts may deny a motion to amend a
complaint if doing so would be futile.” Haley v.
TalentWise, Inc., 9 F.Supp.3d 1188, 1195 (W.D. Wash.
2014), reconsideration denied, No. C13-1915 MJP,
2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56844 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 23, 2014)
(citing U.S. ex rel. Lee v. SmithKline Beecham,
Inc., 245 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2001)).
the Walths move to join additional defendants in their
amended complaint, the Court will consider the issue of
joinder before it makes its determination regarding the
Walths' motion to amend and remand.
Standard for Joinder of Defendants
Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2) provides that persons
may be joined in one action as defendants if: (A) any right
to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in
the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same
transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
occurrences; and (B) any question ...