United States District Court, D. Alaska
ORDER RE MOTIONS TO AMEND COMPLAINT
L. GLEASON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court at Docket 61 is Plaintiff Debra Rena Graciani's
Motion to Amend Complaint. Defendants Providence Health &
Services (“Providence”), Kelli Rinas, James
Efird, Brenda Franz, and James Blankenship's
(“individual Defendants”; collectively,
“Defendants”) filed a response in opposition at
Docket 71. Ms. Graciani filed a reply at Docket 77.
before the Court at Docket 78 is Ms. Graciani's Motion to
Permit Amendment of Complaint After Expiration of Deadline to
Amend. Defendants filed a response in opposition at Docket
83. Ms. Graciani filed a reply at Docket 85.
argument was not requested for either of these motions and
was not necessary to the Court's determinations. However,
on May 6, 2019, at an oral argument on other motions then
pending, the instant motion at Docket 61 was also
March 23, 2018, Ms. Graciani filed her Complaint in this
Court, which alleges six claims. Providence is the only named
defendant in Claims I-IV. Claims I-III allege violations of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Claim IV alleges
a deprivation of equal rights under Section
1981. Claim V alleges a conspiracy by the four
individual Defendants to interfere with civil rights under
Section 1985(3). Claim VI seeks punitive
August 1, 2018, the Court issued its scheduling and planning
order, which provided that motions to amend pleadings
“shall be served and filed not later than
30 days after deadline for initial
disclosures.” The deadline for initial
disclosures was August 29, 2018. Therefore, the deadline to
amend was September 28, 2018. No. motion to amend the
Complaint was filed by that date.
October 9, 2018, Providence and the individual Defendants
filed a Motion to Dismiss Claim V of Plaintiff's
Complaint. On October 29, 2018, Ms. Graciani filed
her opposition to that motion. On November 13, 2018,
Defendants filed their reply.
April 8, 2019, the Court granted Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Claim V of Plaintiff's Complaint without
prejudice and with leave to amend. The Court held that Claim
V is subject to a two-year statute of limitations and that
Ms. Graciani's allegations as to Ms. Rinas and Mr. Efird
fell outside that limitations period. The Court further held
that Ms. Graciani had failed to show that Ms. Franz or Mr.
Blankenship's alleged actions met the elements of a
Section 1985(3) claim. As to Providence, the Court held that
Ms. Graciani failed to state a Section 1985(3) claim because
she had pleaded that Providence was merely the principal for
which the individual Defendants had acted as agents.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed Claim V against all
Defendants without prejudice and with leave to
April 19, 2019, Ms. Graciani filed her first motion to amend
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(a). The proposed amended complaint attached
to that motion sought to add numerous factual allegations,
presumably in an effort to address the deficiencies of Claim
V. But the proposed amended complaint attached to that motion
also sought to amend Claim IV, the Section 1981 claim, to add
the individual Defendants and also sought to amend Claim III,
a Title VII claim. At oral argument on May 6, 2019,
the Court expressed the view that Ms. Graciani's motion
to amend was untimely insofar as it sought to amend Claims
III and IV, and amendment of those claims must be sought
through Rule 16(b), rather than pursuant to Rule 15(a).
Graciani did not withdraw her first motion to amend. Instead,
on May 13, 2019, she filed a second motion, titled Motion to
Permit Amendment of Complaint after Expiration of Deadline to
Amend pursuant to Rule 16(b). She attached the same proposed
amended complaint that she had filed with the first
motion. Ms. Graciani's motion pursuant to
Rule 16(b) asserts that her counsel determined that Section
1981 had a four-year statute of limitations after conducting
additional legal research following the issuance of the
Court's order regarding Claim V at Docket
54. On May 15, 2019, Ms. Graciani filed a
Notice of Filing Related Case.
Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(1) requires a district court to
enter a scheduling order governing the pretrial management of
a case. After the order is entered, Rule 16(b)(4) provides
that “[the] schedule may be modified only for good
cause and with the judge's consent.” “Unlike
Rule 15(a)'s liberal amendment policy which focuses on
the bad faith of the party seeking to interpose an amendment
and the prejudice to the opposing party, Rule 16(b)'s
‘good cause' standard primarily considers the
diligence of the party seeking the
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend under Rule 15(a)
Graciani's motion at Docket 61 seeks to amend the
Complaint pursuant to Rule 15(a). But the deadline for Ms.
Graciani to amend under Rule 15(a) expired on September 28,
2018. Ms. Graciani's motion at Docket 61 was filed on
April 19, 2019, more than six months later. Therefore, Ms.
Graciani's motion to amend at Docket 61 will be denied.
Plaintiff's Motion to Permit Amendment under Rule
extent that Ms. Graciani seeks to amend her Complaint to
provide additional factual allegations as to her Section
1985(3) claim in accordance with the parameters of the
Court's order at Docket 54, that proposed amendment was
expressly permitted by the Court's order. But the
proposed amendments of Claim III and Claim IV were not
permitted by the Court's order at Docket 54; they are
untimely and will be considered in light of Rule 16(b)'s
good cause standard.
Graciani recounts the briefing timeline as to Defendants'
motion to dismiss Claim V, and she attempts to relitigate the
merits of Claim V as originally pled. Next, Ms.
Graciani maintains that Section 1981 is subject to a
four-year statute of limitations, and that her proposed
Section 1981 claim against the individual Defendants falls
within that statute of limitations. Ms. Graciani further
maintains that Defendants would not be prejudiced by the
addition of the individual Defendants to her Section 1981
claim,  and that substantial time remains before
trial. As to her diligence in seeking to amend,
Ms. Graciani states in her reply that “[f]ollowing the
Court's Order on the Motion to Dismiss dated April 8,
2019, plaintiff was diligent in asserting an alternate theory
for the individual [Defendants'] liability on April 19,
respond that Ms. Graciani “obviously was aware of the
[Section 1981] cause of action as she asserted the same
against Providence. Her proposed new claim against the
Individual Defendants is not founded upon any newly
discovered - or even newly pled - factual allegations.”
As such, ...