United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ERIC P. SOPTICH, Plaintiff,
STRYKER CORPORATION a Michigan corporation, and HOWMEDICA OSTEONICS CORPORATION, d/b/a STRYKER SPINE, a New Jersey corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of STRYKER CORPORATION, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
Honorable Richard A. Jones This matter is before the Court on
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. Dkt. # 25. For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion.
initially brought this action against Stryker Corporation
(“Stryker”) in April 2019. Dkt. # 1-1. Stryker
later removed this action to federal court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction and moved to dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint. Dkt. ## 1, 8. On June 11, 2019, Plaintiff filed
his First Amended Complaint, adding Howmedica Osteonics
Corporation (“Defendant” or “HOC”) as
a defendant. Dkt. # 11. On July 5, 2019, HOC moved to
dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for failure to
state a claim. Dkt. # 19. The Honorable Judge Brian A.
Tsuchida issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending
HOC's motion be granted in part and denied in part. Dkt.
# 24. HOC filed Objections to Judge Tsuchida's Report and
Recommendation which are currently pending before the Court.
Dkt. # 27.
now seeks permission to amend his complaint to join three
additional defendants, Dr. Jens Chapman, Dr. Fernando Alonso,
and Swedish Health Services d/b/a Swedish Medical Center
(collectively, the “Additional Defendants”). Dkt.
# 25. Because joinder of the Additional Defendants will
destroy the Court's diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiff
also seeks an order remanding this action to state court.
after removal, a plaintiff seeks to join additional
defendants whose joinder would destroy subject matter
jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder
and remand the action to state court. 28 U.S.C. §
1447(e). Under § 1447, whether to permit joinder of a
party that will destroy diversity jurisdiction remains in the
sound discretion of the court and will be reviewed under an
abuse of discretion standard. See Newcombe v. Adolf Coors
Co., 157 F.3d 686, 691 (9th Cir. 1998).
Joinder Under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e)
generally consider the following factors when deciding
whether to allow amendment to add non-diverse defendants: (1)
whether the new defendants should be joined under Rule 19(a)
as “needed for just adjudication”; (2) whether
the statute of limitations would preclude an original action
against the new defendants in state court; (3) whether there
has been unexplained delay in requesting joinder; (4) whether
joinder is sought solely to defeat federal jurisdiction; (5)
whether the claims against the new defendant appear valid;
and (6) whether denial of joinder will prejudice the
plaintiff. See Palestini v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 193
F.R.D. 654, 658 (S.D. Cal. 2000).
Just Adjudication and Rule 19(a)
contends that the Additional Defendants are necessary under
Rule 19 because failure to join them would result in separate
and redundant actions. Dkt. # 25 at 7. A necessary party is
one “having an interest in the controversy, and who
ought to be made [a] part[y], in order that the court may act
on that rule which requires it to decide and finally
determine the entire controversy... by adjusting all the
rights involved in it.” CP Nat'l. Corp. v.
Bonneville Power Admin., 928 F.2d 905, 912 (9th Cir.
contends that the Additional Defendants are not necessary
under the Supreme Court's decision in Temple v.
Synthes Corp., Ltd., 498 U.S. 5, 7 (1990). Dkt. # 29 at
7. In Temple, a medical device products liability
suit, the Court determined that the plaintiff's physician
and the hospital were not “necessary” parties
under Rule 19(a). Temple, at 5-6. However, because
the standard under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e) is less
restrictive than Rule 19's standard, Temple does
not preclude a finding that joinder of the medical providers
and Swedish is necessary for just adjudication consistent
with the purposes of section 1447(e). “Although courts
consider whether a party would meet [Rule] 19's standard
for a necessary party, amendment under § 1447(e) is a
less restrictive standard than for joinder under [Rule]
19.” IBC Aviation Servs., Inc. v. Compania Mexicana
de Aviacion, S.A. de C.V., 125 F.Supp.2d 1008, 1011-12
(N.D. Cal. 2000).
also argues that he will be precluded from obtaining complete
relief if HOC ultimately decides to assign blame to the
Additional Defendants. Dkt. # 25 at 7. HOC claims that
Plaintiff's concerns are meritless and that it has
“no basis for asserting any wrongdoing” by
Swedish or Drs. Chapman or Alonso. Dkt. # 29 at 5. The Court
appreciates that HOC, at this time, has no intent to pursue
claims against the Additional Defendants. However, this
action is relatively new - discovery is not complete - and
the Court cannot assume that HOC's position will not
change. It would be manifestly unfair to allow HOC to point
to the physicians' or the hospital's negligence to
reduce its potential liability but prevent Plaintiff from
asserting medical negligence claims in ...