United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER DENYING
PLAINTIFF JAMES ARMSTRONG'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
C. KAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons set forth below, the Court AFFIRMS the Order Denying
Plaintiff James Armstrong's Motion for Leave to File
Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 24, issued by Magistrate
Judge Richard L. Puglisi on February 28, 2019.
parties are familiar with the facts and procedural history of
this case, the Court will provide only a brief overview of
the proceedings most relevant to the issues raised by the
Magistrate Judge's Order Denying Plaintiff James
Armstrong's Motion for Leave to File Second Amended
Complaint (the “02/28/2019 Order”).
James Armstrong (“Plaintiff Armstrong”) filed
this action against Defendant Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
(“Defendant Hawaiian Airlines”) and numerous Doe
Defendants in Hawai`i state court on March 9, 2018. ECF No.
1-2. Plaintiff Armstrong filed a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) in Hawai`i state court on July 24, 2018.
ECF No. 1-4. The FAC asserts claims for negligence and
discriminatory practices related to events that took place in
Australia's Brisbane International Airport on March 12,
2016. See id. Defendant Hawaiian Airlines timely
removed the case to federal court on August 21, 2019 on the
basis of federal question jurisdiction. ECF No. 1.
January 18, 2019, Plaintiff Armstrong filed a Motion for
Leave to File Second Amended Complaint
(“Motion”). ECF No. 27. Defendant Hawaiian
Airlines filed a Memorandum in Opposition on February 1,
2019, ECF No. 29, and Plaintiff Armstrong filed a Reply on
February 15, 2019. ECF No. 32.
Motion, Plaintiff Armstrong requested leave to file a Second
Amended Complaint to name Qantas Airways Limited
(“Qantas”), an Australian Company, as a
defendant. See ECF No. 27. Plaintiff Armstrong
alleges that he recently learned through discovery that his
injuries were caused by a Qantas employee. See id.
02/28/2019 Order, the Magistrate Judge noted the parties'
agreement that any claims against Qantas are subject to a
two-year statute of limitations, which has run, and that the
Court could grant Plaintiff Armstrong's request to name
Qantas as a defendant only if the proposed amendment related
back to the original Complaint filed on March 9, 2018.
02/28/2019 Order at 3. The Magistrate Judge analyzed whether
Plaintiff Armstrong satisfied the requirements of Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 15(c), which
governs relation back of amendments, and concluded that
Plaintiff Armstrong failed to meet the second and third
requirements of Rule 15(c). See Id. Because the
proposed amendment to name Qantas as a defendant did not
relate back, the Magistrate Judge ruled that the proposed
amendment was futile and denied Plaintiff Armstrong's
Motion. Id. at 9.
March 14, 2019, Plaintiff Armstrong timely filed Objections
to the 02/28/19 Order. ECF No. 36. Defendant Hawaiian Airlines
filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Objections
(“Opposition”) on March 28, 2019. ECF No. 37.
parties have a threshold dispute as to the standard that the
Court should apply to its review of the Magistrate
Judge's 02/28/2019 Order. Plaintiff Armstrong argues,
without citing any authorities, that the 02/28/2019 Order is
dispositive because it prevents him “from asserting his
claims against the real party in interest.” Objection
at 3. Defendant Hawaiian Airlines argues that the 02/28/2019
Order is nondispositive and cites numerous cases from this
District in support of its argument. Opposition at 9-10.
determine the appropriate standard of review, the Court must
decide whether in this case a denial of a motion to amend a
complaint to add a new defendant is dispositive or
nondispositive of any claim or defense. JJCO, Inc. v.
Isuzu Motors Am., Inc., Civ. No. 08-00419 SOM-LEK, 2009
WL 3818247, at *2 (D. Haw. Nov. 12, 2009).
magistrate judge's jurisdiction to issue an order, rather
than to issue an F&R to the district court, is dependent
on whether the matter before the magistrate judge is
characterized as dispositive or nondispositive of a claim or
defense of a party. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 72. A magistrate judge's
order on a nondispositive matter may be reversed by the
district judge only if the order is “clearly erroneous
or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A);
see Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). By contrast, a magistrate
judge's F&R on a dispositive matter is reviewed de
novo when a party objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B),
(C); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
matters are those “pretrial matter[s] not dispositive
of a party's claim or defense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a).
In contrast, a dispositive matter involves the determination
of the merits of the case or is critical in shaping the
nature of the litigation. Kiep v. Turner, 80 B.R.
521, 523-24 (D. Haw. 1987). The Court must look to the
“effect of the motion” to determine whether it is
dispositive or nondispositive of a ...