Judge: Linda S. Marks, Case: 01047183, Date: 2022-08-01 Tentative Ruling

Defendant, Court Ventures’, Inc. (CVI) Motion for Leave to Amend Pending Motion for Attorney Fees

A judge, at any time before or after commencement of trial, in the furtherance of justice, and upon such terms as may be proper, may allow the amendment of any pleading or pretrial conference order. Code of Civ. Proc. § 576.

This motion is unique in that CVI moves to amend a motion, not a pleading or order. CVI presents no authority that permits the court to amend a motion but simply concludes, “This same policy of liberality applies to motion filings.” (Motion pp. 7:8.) A motion is not a “pleading.” CCP defines pleading “The term “pleading” means a demurrer, answer, complaint, or cross-complaint.” CCP §§ 422.10, 435. However, CCP 473(a) also mentions a “proceeding” which is so broad, a motion could arguably fall under that broad term.

California courts generally allow great liberality, at all stages of the proceeding, in permitting the amendment of pleadings in order to resolve cases on their merits. IMO Development Corp. v. Dow Corning (1982) 135 Cal. App. 3d 451, 461. It is a “rare case” in which denial of leave to amend can be justified. Douglas v. Superior Court (1989) 215 Cal. App. 3d 155, 158 (citation omitted).

This liberality only applies so long as there is no prejudice to the opposing party. Higgins v. Del Faro (1981) 123 Cal. App. 3d 558, 564. Denial of leave to amend is appropriate where inexcusable delay and probable prejudice to the opposing party is shown. This may happen where a proposed amendment opens up an entirely new field of inquiry without any satisfactory explanation as to why the major change in point of attack had not been made long before trial. Estate of Murphy v. Gulf Ins. Co. (1978) 82 Cal. App. 3d 304, 311.

Here, although it is hard to determine because the proposed amended motion is not attached [as should have been pursuant to CRC 3.1324(a)], it appears CVI does not seek to amend the motion on a legal basis, but to include additional facts/argument to further support their motion for fee. The opposition argues that the arguments CVI seeks to introduce are irrelevant and pointless. The opposition may have a valid point, but given the liberality in amendments and lack of prejudice to the People, granting the motion may be the most expeditious route for the court to take. The motion for attorney’s fees is set for 9/12/22 and the People will have an opportunity to address those arguments at that time.

Tentative Ruling: The motion by Defendant Court Ventures, Inc. for leave to amend its pending motion for attorney’s fees is GRANTED.

Moving Party to give notice.