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Quinn v. City of Vancouver

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

August 21, 2019

DEBRA QUINN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF VANCOUVER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND TO AMEND SCHEDULING ORDER TO PERMIT ADDITIONAL DISCOVERY

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Debra Quinn's (“Quinn”) motion for leave to file first amended complaint and to amend scheduling order to permit additional discovery. Dkt. 141. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 18, 1993, the City hired Quinn as an Assistant City Attorney. Dkt. 1, ¶ 9. Quinn worked on labor and employment matters. Dkt. 92, ¶ 3.

         The factual background of this case is dense and extensive. It is set out in the Court's order on Defendants' motions for summary judgment issued concurrently with the instant Order.

         On November 21, 2017, Quinn filed a complaint against the City of Vancouver (“City”), City Manager Eric Holmes (“Holmes”), City Attorney Bronson Potter (“Potter”), and Chief Assistant City Attorney Jonathan Young (“Young”) (collectively, “Defendants”) asserting causes of action for sex discrimination in violation of federal and state laws, retaliation in violation of federal and state laws, violation of her First Amendment right to free speech, outrage, negligent supervision, breach of implied contract, and violation of her Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. Dkt. 1. On April 25, 2019, the City filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt. 74. On June 12, 2019, the City filed a motion to disqualify Quinn's counsel. Dkt. 109. Also on June 12, 2019, Holmes filed a motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 100, Potter and Young filed a joint motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 102, and the City filed a motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 107.

         On June 26, 2019, the City terminated Quinn's employment. Dkt. 118. On July 2, 2019, Quinn filed an emergency motion to stay summary judgment proceedings and reopen discovery. Id. On July 10, 2019, the Court denied the motion, finding that unless Quinn requested and was granted leave to add new claims to her complaint, good cause to continue the remaining deadlines and pending trial date was only hypothetical. Dkt. 130 at 2-3.

         On August 1, 2019, Quinn filed the instant motion for leave to file first amended complaint and to amend scheduling order to permit additional discovery. Dkt. 141. On August 8, 2019, the Court denied the City's motion to dismiss and denied the City's motion to disqualify Quinn's counsel. Dkt. 142. On August 12, 2019, Defendants filed responses to Quinn's motion to amend. Dkts. 148, 150, 152. On August 15, 2019, Quinn replied to her motion to amend. Dkt. 153. On August 19, 2019, in an order issuing concurrently with the instant Order, the Court denied in part and granted in part Defendants' motions for summary judgment.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Quinn seeks to amend her complaint to add two claims related to her termination: (1) wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, and (2) violation of her right to due process and liberty interests under the Fourteenth Amendment. Dkt. 141-2. She seeks to bring the wrongful discharge claim against all Defendants and seeks to bring the due process claim against the City. Id.

         A. Rule 16

         “[W]hen a party seeks to amend a pleading after the pretrial scheduling order's deadline for amending the pleadings has expired, the moving party must satisfy the ‘good cause' standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4), which provides that ‘[a] schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent,' rather than the liberal standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a).” In re W. States Wholesale Nat. Gas Antitrust Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 737 (9th Cir. 2013). This good cause standard “primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992). “If the moving party ‘was not diligent, the inquiry should end.'” Neidermeyer v. Caldwell, 718 Fed. App'x 485, 489 (9th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, No. 17-1490, 2018 WL 2046246 (U.S. Oct. 1, 2018) (quoting Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609). A party which “has been aware of the facts and theories supporting amendment since the inception of the action” and has failed to amend despite opportunity to do so has not been diligent. Id. at 488-89 (quoting In re W. States, 715 F.3d at 737 (internal quotation mark omitted)).

         The deadline for amended pleadings in this case was June 28, 2018. Dkt. 26. Quinn's employment was terminated on June 26, 2019. Dkt. 118. The Court denied Quinn's emergency motion to stay summary judgment and re-open discovery on July 10, 2019. Dkt. 130. Quinn filed the instant motion to amend on August 1, 2019. Dkt. 141. While the City and Holmes argue that Quinn was not diligent in bringing the instant motion to amend, the Court disagrees. See Dkt. 148 at 4-5; Dkt. 150 at 1-2. Far from being aware of the facts and theories relevant to the new claims since the inception of the action, see Neidermeyer, 718 Fed. App'x at 488-89, Quinn became aware of the facts underlying these claims approximately six weeks prior to filing the instant motion. Thus, the Court finds that Quinn has shown good cause to supplement her pleadings and was diligent in bringing the instant motion. Having met her initial burden, the Court turns to the propriety of the proposed amendments.

         B. ...


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