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Duff v. Griffie

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

October 17, 2017

JAMES ERNEST DUFF, II PLAINTIFF
v.
CORPORAL GRIFFIE, et. al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court are Plaintiff's Motions to Supplement Complaint (ECF Nos. 27, 33), second Motion to Compel (ECF No. 32), Motions for Extension of Time to File Response to Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 46, 50, 55), Motion for Summary Judgment Questionnaire (ECF No. 52), and Motion for Inclusion (ECF No. 61).

         A. Amend/Supplement Complaint

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on October 7, 2016. (ECF No. 1). The initial Scheduling Order for this Case was entered on February 15, 2017. (ECF No. 22). On May 8, 2017 he filed a Motion to Supplement his Complaint. (ECF No. 27). In this Motion, Plaintiff sought permission to add Corporal Tefft, and other unnamed employees of the Miller County Detention Center as Defendants. Plaintiff did not specify how these parties were involved in the actions or inactions leading to his case. On July 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed a second Motion to Supplement Complaint, filing a new Complaint form. (ECF No. 33). Defendants filed an Objection to Plaintiff's second Motion to Supplement on July 25, 2017. (ECF No. 35). In their Objection, Defendants state the request to add parties was untimely, and Plaintiff's would be prejudiced by the addition of new parties at this late date. (ECF No. 35). Plaintiff responded to the Objection on August 3, 2017. (ECF No. 37), stating Defendants' objections were unjustified.

         Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs amended pleadings. Rule 15(a) provides in pertinent part:

(1) Amending as a Matter of Course. A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within: (A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.
(2) Other Amendments. In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a).

         Although leave to amend is to be freely granted under Rule 15(a), the Court has discretion whether or not to grant leave to amend. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330-32 (1971). Factors to consider in determining whether leave to amend should be granted include but are not limited to (1) whether the motion was filed in bad faith or with dilatory motive; (2) whether the motion was filed with undue delay; (3) whether leave to amend would be unduly prejudicial to the opposing parties; and (4) whether the proposed amendment would be futile. See Bell v. Allstate Life Ins. Co., 160 F.3d 452, 454 (8th Cir. 1998) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)); Williams v. Little Rock Mun. Water Works, 21 F.3d 218, 224 (8th Cir. 1994).

         Here, Plaintiff's first Motion to Amend was timely, as it was filed before May 16, 2017, the deadline set by the Court's initial scheduling order. However, the Motion was futile, as he did not affirmatively link the conduct of each new Defendant with the specific injury he suffered. Plaintiff's second Motion to Supplement was untimely, as it was filed after the scheduling order deadline on July 11, 2017. This filing occurred past the deadline set in the scheduling order, and within a few weeks of the Summary Judgment deadline of August 14, 2017. Thus, the addition of new parties would have been unduly prejudicial to Defendants. Plaintiff's Motions to Supplement (ECF Nos. 27, 33) are therefore DENIED.

         B. Motion to Compel

         Plaintiff filed a lengthy second Motion to Compel on July 5, 2017. (ECF No. 32). The Motion to Compel included as exhibits an unexplained Christian Bible brochure entitled “Time is Short, ” and copies of discovery requests to Defendants. Despite a total of eighty-two pages in the submission, it is not clear what discovery Plaintiff alleges to have asked for and not received. Defendants responded on July 21, 2017. (ECF No. 34). In their Response, they state they have responded to two sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Production from Plaintiff. They further state that Plaintiff “has not previously communicated to Defendants he was dissatisfied with Defendants' discovery responses or attempted to resolve this discovery issue” prior to filing this Motion to Compel. (ECF No. 34 at 1).

         Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff must first submit his discovery request to Defendant(s) and allow Defendant(s) thirty (30) days to respond to such requests. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33-34. If Defendant(s) fail to respond to any discovery requests within the thirty (30) day period, Plaintiff must then confer or attempt to confer with the Defendant(s) in a good faith effort to obtain the requested information before seeking court intervention. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B) and Local Rule 7.2(g). Plaintiff was previously advised of these rules in the Prisoner Litigation Guide and again on May 15, 2017, when his first Motion to Compel was denied, but still failed to show he made any effort to confer with Defendant(s) before filing this Motion to Compel. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (ECF No. 32) is therefore DENIED.

         C. Motions Regarding ...


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