Dunn et al v. Thomas et al
PHASE 2 OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT: it is ORDERED as follows: (1) The motion for leave to amend plaintiffs' complaint (doc. no. 549 ) filed by plaintiff Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) is granted. (2) If defenda nts conclude that additional discovery--limited to the question whether ADAP is entitled to assert associational standing--is necessary, they are to file a request that discovery be reopened, specifying what discovery they seek, within five days of the date this order is issued. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 8/5/2016. (kh, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION
JOSHUA DUNN, et al.,
JEFFERSON S. DUNN, in his
official capacity as
the Alabama Department of
Corrections, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
PHASE 2 OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT
lawsuit are dozens of state prisoners and the Alabama
Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP).
Commissioner, and its Associate Commissioner of Health
In Phase 2 of this case, with which this
opinion is concerned, plaintiffs assert the following
mental-health treatment in Alabama prison facilities,
They rely with respect to these claims
on the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (as enforced
Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134), and § 504
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794).
Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal
question) and § 1343 (civil rights).
This case is currently before the court on ADAP’s
permitted for the reasons discussed below.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that
after a party has amended its pleading once as a matter
Here, plaintiffs’ complaint has already been amended,
and defendants oppose the motion for leave to amend it
Leave of court is therefore required.
Rule 15(a) states that leave to amend “shall be
freely given when justice so requires.”
liberal amendment policy prescribed by Rule 15 does not
mean that leave will be granted in all cases.
in determining whether ‘justice  requires’ that leave
to amend be granted, district courts may consider such
motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to
allowance of the amendment, futility of the amendment,
Jeter v. Montgomery Cty., 480 F. Supp. 2d 1293,
1297 (M.D. Ala. 2007) (Thompson, J.) (quoting Foman v.
Pharms., Inc. v. Elan Corp., 421 F.3d 1227, 1236 (11th
Defendants identify two grounds for denying ADAP
leave to amend: (1) ADAP’s delay in seeking to amend,
and (2) their related contention that “[a]llowing the
amendment after the fact discovery deadline has passed
places the State at a disadvantage.”
no. 583) at 2.
Defs.’ Obj. (doc.
However, defendants have not shown that
they will suffer significant (indeed, any) prejudice on
Although this litigation was commenced two years
ago, and the complaint has thrice been amended, the
amendment is not unreasonable.
The motion was filed
prior to the deadline this court set for amendments to
pleadings; defendants were therefore on notice that a
further amendment might still occur.
In addition, the
motion was filed over a month prior to the deadline for
dispositive and class-certification motions, and more
than three months prior to the trial of the phase of
this case that remains in active litigation. *
The first phase of this case has preliminarily
been settled; assuming the settlement is finally
approved, this amendment to the complaint will have no
effect with respect to the claims resolved in that
Were the court to reject the settlement
and reinstate the litigation of the first phase,
defendants would of course be afforded an opportunity
to contest ADAP’s associational standing with respect
to the revived claims.
clarification of the legal basis for ADAP’s standing,
and involves no substantive change to the allegations
in the complaint.
Defendants have long been on notice
that ADAP intended to assert third-party standing; this
“organizational standing,” based on the contention that
“the ADOC policies and practices challenged ... serve
efforts and its ability to accomplish the statutory
purposes for which it was created,” Second Am. Compl.
(doc. no. 89-1) at 25 (citing Havens Realty Corp. v.
Coleman, 455 U.S. 363, 379 (1982)) (filed on Feb. 2,
2015), ADAP also asserts “associational standing ... on
behalf of its constituents who include any current or
future prisoner in the physical custody of ADOC who has
a disability [including mental illness],” Fourth Am.
Compl. (doc. no. 549-1) at 24 (citing Doe v. Stincer,
175 F.3d 879, 886 (11th Cir. 1999)); see also id. at
constituents, and has received communications from its
facilities regarding Defendant ADOC’s practices”).
timing of ADAP’s motion that defendants identified in
their opposition brief was the inability to conduct
Defs.’ Obj. (doc. no. 583) at 2.
Fourth Am. Compl. (doc. no. 549-1) at 131.
There is, therefore, no need for additional discovery
To the extent that defendants wish to challenge
whether ADAP functions like the protection and advocacy
associational standing in Doe v. Stincer, 175 F.3d 879
(11th Cir. 1999), the parties agreed during a telephone
conference held on the record on August 2, 2016, that
minimal if any additional discovery would be needed to
structure and processes, and ADAP agreed during this
additional discovery very rapidly.
Because the court
significant value to the court and to the parties in
adjudicating this case.
As the court has previously
“‘protect and advocate the rights of  individuals
[with mental illness and other disabilities] through
Constitution and Federal and State statutes.’”
Dunn, -- F. Supp. 3d --, 2016 WL 324990, at *12 (M.D.
Ala. Jan. 27, 2016) (Thompson, J.) (quoting 42 U.S.C.
important to the fair and efficient adjudication of a
case of this scope and complexity, allegedly involving
Alabamians ADAP serves.
This amendment will ensure
that the basis for ADAP’s standing as a plaintiff is
asserted (and--to the extent defendants challenge it-contested) squarely.
In light of the absence of any significant reason
not to grant ADAP leave to amend, and the benefits of
justice requires that leave be granted.
* * *
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) is
discovery--limited to the question whether ADAP
request that discovery be reopened, specifying
what discovery they seek, within five days of
the date this order is issued.
plaintiffs’ fourth amended complaint (doc. no. 549-1).
DONE, this the 5th day of August, 2016.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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