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1104.02000 – Motions

PERB favors a liberal right to amend pleadings, so that parties are not deprived of the opportunity to have their issues heard on the merits due to legal technicalities. (Eastern Municipal Water District (2020) PERB Decision No. 2715-M, p. 8 (EMWD).) A party may amend a complaint during a hearing unless the amendment “would result in undue prejudice to other parties.” (Ibid.; Contra Costa Community College District (2019) PERB Decision No. 2669, p. 8.) Notably, “prejudice typically means that a party has been prevented from preparing or presenting evidence or argument. It does not typically mean that an amendment improves one party’s pleadings and thereby presents an additional obstacle to the opposing party; were that the case, nearly every proposed amendment would be prejudicial.” (EMWD, supra, PERB Decision No. 2715- M, pp. 11-12.) Even if an amended pleading would prejudice the other party, it is appropriate to grant the requested amendment if the ALJ can order accommodations that sufficiently alleviate the prejudice, typically a continuance that allows additional time to prepare the case. (Id. at p. 8.) This standard remains the same even if a charging party moves to amend its complaint after resting its case-in-chief. (EMWD, supra, PERB Decision No. 2715-M, p. 9, citing Contra Costa Community College District, supra, PERB Decision No. 2669, p. 8.) Thus, at any stage, the same core question must be answered: Is there undue prejudice that cannot be sufficiently mitigated by scheduling additional hearing time after an appropriate continuance? (EMWD, supra, PERB Decision No. 2715-M, p. 9.) In some cases, moreover, a proposed amendment may cause so little prejudice that there is no need for a continuance. (Ibid.)