SNEED, Circuit Judge:
Ernest J. Jackson, Pearl T. Jackson, Oahu Interiors, Inc., Oahu Industries, Inc. (collectively "OI"), A & B Equipment Co., Inc. ("A & B Equipment"), and West Maui Lumber Corp. appeal in their action against Bank of Hawaii ("Bank"), Denis Kam, and Allen Miyakado. Appellants sued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c) (1988), alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c). The district court denied appellants' motion for leave to amend the complaint and granted appellees' motion for summary judgment. We affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW
In January 1977, OI received a $7.9 million construction contract to perform dry-wall construction work on the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada. The Bank issued a $550,000 line of credit to OI for the project, secured by the contract proceeds, accounts receivable, OI's retentions, inventory, equipment, furniture, fixtures, and the Jacksons' personal guarantees and their stock in OI and A & B Equipment.
Between April and August of 1977, Jackson allegedly learned that MGM would not cover cost overruns for the project and believed that MGM was making unreasonable performance demands. He then allegedly notified Miyakado, an officer at the Bank, that he intended to abandon the project. Miyakado persuaded Jackson to finish the job. Instead of an estimated profit of $1 million, Jackson and OI allegedly incurred cost overruns of $2 million.
By 1980, OI was financially unable to complete its pending bonded projects. The Bank, which controlled significant loans by appellants, solicited and received further security from the Jacksons on their personal residence and other real property. Faced with large debts to the Bank and their bonding company, appellants signed two workout agreements in May 1982 that purported to outline plans to resolve their indebtedness to the Bank.
After unsuccessful litigation against MGM, appellants filed suit against appellees in Hawaii state court in September 1986, and in federal court in January 1987. In the federal court action, appellants repeated their state court claims and added claims under RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), and the National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 84(a)(2) (1988). The district court dismissed all but the RICO claim on May 4,
Jurisdiction in the district court being proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, we have jurisdiction over the appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. The notice of appeal, filed August 24, 1988, is timely as of the entry date of the final judgment, September 2, 1988, under Fed.R.App.P. 4(a).
This appeal raises two issues: (1) whether the district court properly denied the appellants' motion for leave to file an amended complaint; and (2) whether the district court properly granted the appellees' motion for summary judgment. We analyze each in turn.
A. Appellants' Motion for Leave to Amend.
We review for abuse of discretion a district court's denial of a motion for leave to amend a complaint. "Unless this court has a definite and firm conviction that the district court committed a clear error of judgment, it will not disturb the district court's decision." California Architectural Bldg. Prods., Inc. v. Franciscan Ceramics, Inc., 818 F.2d 1466, 1472 (9th Cir.1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1006, 108 S.Ct. 698, 98 L.Ed.2d 650 (1988). Gabrielson v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 785 F.2d 762, 765 (9th Cir.1986).
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), after twenty days from the date when the initial complaint was served, "a party may amend [its] pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires." Although the rule should be interpreted with "extreme liberality," United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir.1981), leave to amend is not to be granted automatically. A trial court may deny such a motion if permitting an amendment would prejudice the opposing party, produce an undue delay in the litigation, or result in futility for lack of merit. See Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962) (listing these factors among others to be considered). Prejudice to the opposing party is the most important factor. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330-31, 91 S.Ct. 795, 802-03, 28 L.Ed.2d 77 (1971) (trial court "required" to take potential prejudice into account in deciding Rule 15(a) motion); 6 C. Wright, A. Miller & M. Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 1487 (1990).
1. Undue Prejudice to the Bank.
Appellees contend that permitting appellants to file an amended complaint will lead to three types of prejudice: the nullification of prior discovery, the burden of necessary future discovery, and the relitigation of a suit brought by its insurer regarding the liability of the two parties on appellants' claims.
Appellees also assert that they would be prejudiced by having to relitigate the insurance case brought by the Bank's insurer to determine whether it must indemnify the Bank in the appellants' lawsuit. Appellees contend that this case has been "extensively litigated," with several trial dates set, on the basis of the original complaint brought by Jackson and the other appellants. We conclude that appellees would be prejudiced because the proposed amended complaint, by adding claims under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962(a) and (b), alters the circumstances that determine the insurer's obligations to the Bank.
2. Undue Delay.
A second factor in determining whether the district court properly denied the motion for leave to amend is whether appellants unduly delayed in filing their motion. See, e.g., Parker v. Joe Lujan Enters., Inc., 848 F.2d 118, 121 (9th Cir.1988) (affirming district court's denial of motion to amend in part on ground of undue delay).
Relevant to evaluating the delay issue is whether the moving party knew or should have known the facts and theories raised by the amendment in the original pleading. E.g., E.E.O.C. v. Boeing Co., 843 F.2d 1213, 1222 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 109 S.Ct. 222, 102 L.Ed.2d 212 (1988); Jordan v. County of Los Angeles, 669 F.2d 1311, 1324 (9th Cir.), vacated on other grounds, 459 U.S. 810, 103 S.Ct. 35, 74 L.Ed.2d 48 (1982). Although appellants argue that the evidence of the Bank's representations, promises, and nondisclosures were not "fully flushed out" until September or October of 1987, they cite no facts or theories gleaned from the additional discovery period to support this contention.
Nor have the appellants otherwise justified their delay in moving to file an amended complaint. See, e.g., Parker, 848 F.2d at 121; Kates v. Crocker Nat'l Bank, 776 F.2d 1396, 1398 (9th Cir.1985). Appellants informed the court of their intention to file an amended complaint in March 1987, in May 1987, and in February 1988, but they delayed offering their amended complaint until May 1988. Even accepting appellants' arguments that they did not have all of the requisite facts until August 1987, did not fully analyze them until October 1987, and added new attorneys to represent them, the delay in filing an amended complaint from October 1987 to May 1988 is otherwise inexplicable and unjustified.
B. Appellees' Motion for Summary Judgment.
A grant of summary judgment is reviewed de novo. California Architectural Bldg. Prods., 818 F.2d at 1468. The non-moving party may not oppose summary judgment by allegations but must show specific trial-worthy facts. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir.1987). A mere disagreement about a material issue of fact is not in itself sufficient to preclude an award of summary judgment. "[I]f the factual context makes the non-moving party's claim implausible, that party must come forward with more persuasive evidence than would otherwise be necessary to show that there is a genuine issue for trial." California Architectural Bldg. Prods., 818 F.2d at 1468 (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)). If the appellants cannot elicit material evidence through further discovery, summary judgment is appropriate. Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409, 412 (9th Cir.1988).
The district court granted summary judgment "based on the statute of limitations."
1. Date of Commencement of Limitations Period.
Appellants first argue that Agency Holding is irrelevant because they filed the original complaint in January 1987, within four years of the second predicate act which they claim was not May 1982. The parties, not surprisingly, sharply dispute when this second "act" occurred. Appellants here maintain that the second predicate act was their discovery of the Bank's misconduct, which was in October 1983.
Appellants' only proof is that the alleged second predicate act occurred in May 1982 when the parties entered into the workout agreements.
2. Retroactive Application of Agency Holding.
We must now decide whether to apply Agency Holding retroactively. Appellants argue that it should so apply only when it favors permitting the plaintiffs' claim. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Ammann, 828 F.2d 4, 5 (9th Cir.1987) (applying Agency Holding's four-year limitation period where district court barred plaintiffs' claim under three-year limitations period); Davis v. A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., 823 F.2d 105, 108 (5th Cir.1987) (per curiam) (one year); Tellis v. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co., 826 F.2d 477, 478 (7th Cir.1986) (four years). But see Lund v. Shearson/Lehman/Am. Express, 852 F.2d 182, 183 (6th Cir.1988) (holding that plaintiffs' claim is time-barred because of retroactive effect of Agency Holding).
In this case, appellants argue that Hawaii's six-year statute of limitations was applicable prior to the Court's Agency Holding decision. Cases cited by both parties indicate that Judge Pence,
The Supreme Court has articulated the criteria for determining the retroactivity of a statute of limitations in Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97, 92 S.Ct. 349, 30 L.Ed.2d 296 (1971). The Court held that a new statute of limitations should not be applied retroactively if: (1) the decision establishes a new principle of law either by overruling clear past precedent or constitutes a case of first impression; (2) the purpose and effect of the new rule would be defeated; or (3) equity counsels against such application because of hardship. Id. at 106-07, 92 S.Ct. at 355-56.
The first criterion is the most important. It is "the threshold test for determining whether or not a decision should be applied nonretroactively." United States v. Johnson, 457 U.S. 537, 550 n. 12, 102 S.Ct. 2579, 2587 n. 12, 73 L.Ed.2d 202 (1982). "If this threshold requirement is not shown, the rule will be applied retrospectively without further consideration." Lund v. Shearson/Lehman/Am. Express, Inc., 852 F.2d 182, 183 (6th Cir.1988) (applying Agency Holding retroactively) (citations omitted).
Lund persuasively demonstrates that Agency Holding does not "represent a clear break from past precedent," given the wide split among the circuits in their application of a statute of limitations for RICO. 852 F.2d at 184. We accept the view that there was no clear past precedent generally for the statute of limitations under RICO prior to Agency Holding. Id.
Appellants nevertheless attempt to persuade us to the contrary on the grounds that the Hawaii federal district courts had erected such a clear precedent. We remain unpersuaded. A careful reading of McCarthy belies appellants' contention that it "established" the six-year rule for RICO. In McCarthy, Judge Pence treads carefully through the case law relevant to federal "borrowing" of state statutes of limitations. 629 F.Supp. at 1106-07. Given how quickly the RICO rule changed and the uncertainty Judge Pence expressed in McCarthy about how his fellow Hawaii federal district judges would treat the
We, therefore, affirm the district court's decision to grant the Bank's motion for summary judgment because the statute of limitations barred appellants' original complaint.
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the district court's rulings that denied appellants' motion for leave to file an amended complaint and granted appellees' motion for summary judgment.