United States District Court, D. Oregon
MICHAEL H. SIMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
States Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo issued Findings and
Recommendation in this case on April 15, 2019. ECF 16.
Magistrate Judge Russo recommended that Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss (ECF 12) be denied as moot and
Plaintiffs' Motion for Extension of Time to file an
Amended Complaint (ECF 14) should be granted.
the Federal Magistrates Act (“Act”), the Court
may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). If a party
files objections to a magistrate judge's findings and
recommendations, “the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.” Id.; Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
those portions of a magistrate judge's findings and
recommendations to which neither party has objected, the Act
does not prescribe any standard of review. See Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 152 (1985) (“There is no
indication that Congress, in enacting [the Act], intended to
require a district judge to review a magistrate's report
to which no objections are filed.”); United States.
v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en
banc) (holding that the court must review de novo
magistrate judge's findings and recommendations if
objection is made, “but not otherwise”). Although
in the absence of objections no review is required, the Act
“does not preclude further review by the district
judge sua sponte . . . under a de novo or
any other standard.” Thomas, 474 U.S. at 154.
Indeed, the Advisory Committee Notes to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)
recommend that “[w]hen no timely objection is filed,
” the Court review the magistrate judge's
recommendations for “clear error on the face of the
timely filed an objection (ECF 18), to which Plaintiffs
responded. ECF 19. Defendants object to the portion of
Magistrate Judge Russo's recommendation granting
Plaintiffs motion for an extension of time to file an amended
filed their original complaint on November 1, 2018. On
December 27, 2018, Judge Russo granted Defendants' motion
for a stay of the deadline to answer the complaint in light
of the ongoing lapse in government appropriations. ECF 7. On
February 1, 2019, Judge Russo granted Defendants' motion
for extension of time to answer Plaintiffs' complaint.
ECF 11. Plaintiffs did not oppose either motion. On March 21,
2019 Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint,
arguing that dismissal is warranted because the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act, under which Plaintiffs bring their
claims, does not authorize money damages and because
Plaintiffs lack Article III standing. Rather than filing an
opposition to Defendants' motion, 21 days after the
filing of Defendants' motion Plaintiffs moved for a
60-day extension of time to amend their pleadings as a matter
of course pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 15 and
6. Defendants opposed Plaintiffs' motion.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 permits a party to amend its
pleadings once as a matter of course within 21 days after
service of motion to dismiss filed under Rule 12.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). The Rule also
instructs that “[t]he court should freely give leave
[to amend] when justice so requires.” Id. The
Ninth Circuit has admonished that this policy should be
“applied with extreme liberality.” Owens v.
Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 712 (9th
Cir. 2001). The Supreme Court has instructed courts that:
In the absence of any apparent declared reason-such as undue
delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc. - the leave sought should, as the rules require, be
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1) provides that “[w]hen
an act may or must be done within a specified time, the court
may, for good cause, extend the time.”
do not allege that Plaintiff's motion for an extension of
time to file an amended pleading is rooted in bad faith, a
desire to cause undue delay, or dilatory motive. Nor do
Defendants articulate any undue prejudice that they will
suffer if Plaintiff's motion is granted. Defendants argue
that any amendment would be futile because Plaintiffs cannot
cure the complaint's deficiencies and that Plaintiffs
have not established that good cause exists for a 60-day
extension. The Court finds that Plaintiffs have established
that good cause exists to grant Plaintiff's motion.
Plaintiffs have described the difficulties in effective
communication between counsel and clients due to translation
issues, which causes communication to take longer than it
would normally, and therefore necessitates an extension of
time. Additionally, Plaintiffs have asserted that any
deficiencies in the complaint as it currently stands can be
cured through amendment, but counsel needs more time to
conduct further fact investigation. And finally, the Ninth
Circuit's “policy in favor of deciding cases on the
merits” weighs heavily in favor of allowing Plaintiffs
the opportunity to cure any deficiencies in their complaint.
Jones v. Las Vegas Metro. Police Dep't, 873 F.3d
1123, 1128 (9th Cir. 2017).
Plaintiffs' representations and Defendants' failure
to articulate any undue prejudice that will result, the Court
agrees with Judge Russo's analysis and concludes that
Plaintiffs' requested extension of time to file an
amended complaint should be allowed. Because Plaintiffs will
file an amended complaint, Defendants' pending motion to
dismiss the original complaint is now moot.
Court ADOPTS the Findings and Recommendation (ECF 16).
Plaintiffs' Motion for Extension of Time to File Amended
Complaint (ECF 14) is GRANTED and Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss (ECF 12) is DENIED as MOOT.