United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge.
Court has received a Partial Recommended Disposition
submitted by United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray
(Dkt. No. 42). Plaintiff Montrell Dashone Ventry filed
objections (Dkt. No. 45). After careful review of the Partial
Recommended Disposition and Mr. Ventry's objections, as
well as a de novo review of the record, the Court
declines to adopt the Recommended Partial Disposition as this
Court's findings (Dkt. No. 42).
15, 2019, this Court adopted Judge Ray's previous
Recommended Partial Disposition over Mr. Ventry's
objections and dismissed without prejudice Mr. Ventry's
claims against defendants Rory Griffin and Correct Care (Dkt.
No. 33). On May 22, 2019, Judge Ray entered an Order which,
inter alia, directed Mr. Ventry to file, within 30
days of the date of the Order, a response to remaining
defendants Director Wendy Kelley and Warden William
Straughn's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 34, at 3). Judge
Ray directed Mr. Ventry to “provide a clear
statement as to whether he is suing [d]efendants in
their official capacity, in their individual/personal
capacity, or in both capacities.” (Id.)
(emphasis in original). Because Judge Ray's Order was
entered on May 22, 2019, the original deadline for Mr.
Ventry's response was June 21, 2019. Mr. Ventry
requested, and Judge Ray granted, an extension of time to
file a response (Dkt. Nos. 39, 41). Mr. Ventry then had until
July 15, 2019, to file his response (Dkt. No. 41). Mr. Ventry
did not file a response by July 15, 2019, and on July 19,
2019, Judge Ray submitted a Partial Recommended Disposition
recommending that Director Kelley and Warden Straughn's
motion to dismiss be granted and that Mr. Ventry's claims
against them be dismissed without prejudice (Dkt. No. 42).
22, 2019, Mr. Ventry filed a motion to amend complaint to
state that, while he brought suit in his original complaint
against Director Kelley and Warden Straughn in their official
capacities, he now brings this action against Director Kelley
and Warden Straughn in their personal capacities as well
(Dkt. No. 44). Attached to the motion to amend complaint is
the amended complaint (Dkt. No. 44-1). On August 2, 2019, Mr.
Ventry filed objections to Judge Ray's Partial
Recommended Disposition (Dkt. No. 45).
Objections And Amended Complaint
Ventry objects to Judge Ray's Partial Recommended
Disposition on the ground that he did amend his complaint to
state clearly that he brings this action against defendants
Director Kelley and Warden Straughn in their personal
capacities as well as in their official capacities (Dkt. No.
45, at 2). Mr. Ventry argues that his amended complaint
eliminates the basis of Director Kelley and Warden
Straughn's motion to dismiss (Id., at 3). He
argues that he mailed the amended complaint to the United
States District Court and to Director Kelley and Warden
Straughn within the time given to him to respond
Court notes that, although Mr. Ventry's motion to amend
complaint and amended complaint were not filed with the Court
until July 22, 2019, Mr. Ventry's amended complaint
reflects that a copy of it was mailed on July 15, 2019, which
was his deadline to respond to Judge Ray's directive to
clarify in what capacity he was suing Director Kelley and
Warden Straughn (Dkt. No. 44-1, at 3). The Court also notes
that Judge Ray previously determined in an Order that, for
screening purposes only, Mr. Ventry had pled viable 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 inadequate medical care claims against Director
Kelley and Warden Straughn (Dkt. No. 11, at 4). This Court
adopted in its entirety as its findings Judge Ray's Order
(Dkt. No. 33). For these reasons, and because of the mandate
of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 that the Court
“should freely give leave when justice so requires,
” the Court grants Mr. Ventry's motion to amend
complaint (Dkt. No. 44) and directs Mr. Ventry to file the
amended complaint within 14 days from the entry of this
Order. See Ailshire v. Darnell, 508 F.2d 526, 528
(8th Cir. 1974) (directing the district court to afford pro
se plaintiff an opportunity to amend his pleading in the
light of Rule 15's mandate that leave to amend shall be
freely given, the liberal construction ordinarily afforded
pro se civil rights complaints, and the fact that the
plaintiff's reasoning was “not totally without
legal support”); see also United States v.
Harrison, 469 F.3d 1216, 1217 (8th Cir. 2006)
(“Under the prison mailbox rule, a pro se pleading is
deemed filed upon deposit in the prison mail system prior to
the expiration of the filing deadline.”); Sulik v.
Taney Cty., 316 F.3d 813, 814-15 (8th Cir. 2003),
overruled on other grounds, 393 F.3d 765 (8th Cir.
2005) (determining that the prison mailbox rule provides
that, if an inmate confined in an institution files a
complaint, the complaint is timely if it is deposited in the
institution's internal mail system on or before the last
day for filing).
these reasons, the Court declines to adopt the Recommended
Partial Disposition as this Court's findings (Dkt. No.
42). The Court grants Mr. Ventry's motion to amend
complaint (Dkt. No. 44). The Court directs Mr. Ventry to file
the amended complaint within 14 days from the entry of this