Smith v. The State of Alabama Department of Human Resources Child Support Enforcement Division
ORDER denying 18 Motion to Amend Complaint as set out. Signed by Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 3/21/2016. (copy to plaintiff) (cmj)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
THADDEUS D. SMITH, SR.,
ALA. DEPT. OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Civil Action No. 15-00629-KD-N
This matter is before the Court on what pro se Plaintiff Smith docketed as his “Second
Motion to Amend Complaint” 1 and styled as “Amended Complaint.” (Doc. 18). “Pro se
pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys and will,
therefore, be liberally construed.” Tannenbaum v. United States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th
Cir.1998). Nonetheless, even pro se litigants must comply with procedural rules and court
orders. See, e.g., Albra v. Advan, Inc., 490 F.3d 826, 829 (11th Cir.2007) (explaining that “we
are to give liberal construction to the pleadings of pro se litigants,” but that “we nevertheless
have required them to conform to procedural rules”) (citation omitted).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), which is applicable to amendment before trial,
(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.
The Court notes that this is Smith’s first attempt to amend his complaint in this action.
(3) Time to Respond. Unless the court orders otherwise, any required response to
an amended pleading must be made within the time remaining to respond to the
original pleading or within 14 days after service of the amended pleading,
whichever is later.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). Defendants have not consented to amendment, and the time frames
contemplated in Rule 15(a)(1)(A) and (B) have expired. Thus, Plaintiff is not entitled to amend
his complaint as a matter of right and must seek the Court’s leave to do so. Accordingly, the
Court construes Doc. 18 as a motion to amend the complaint.
S.D. Ala. CivLR 15, which pertains to Amended and Supplemental Pleadings2, states:
(a) Any amendment to a pleading, whether filed as a matter of course or upon
a motion to amend, must reproduce the entire pleading as amended and may
not incorporate any prior pleading by reference.
(b) A motion to amend a pleading must state specifically what changes are
sought by the proposed amendments. The proposed amended pleading must be
filed as an attachment to the motion to amend.
(c) If the Court grants the motion to amend, the party must promptly file the
amended pleading. If a responsive pleading is required, any party that has
appeared in the action and was served with the proposed amended pleading
must serve an answer or other responsive pleading within fourteen (14) days
after the Court grants the motion to amend. The time for a party that has not
appeared in the action to serve an answer or other responsive pleading begins to
run when that party is properly served with the amended pleading.
First, the Court notes that Plaintiff failed to comply with S.D. Ala. CivLR 15(a) and (b).
These grounds alone are sufficient for the Court’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to amend the
However, the Court notes, Plaintiff’s original complaint was brought against the “State of
Alabama Department of Human Resources Child Support Enforcement Division.” (Doc. 1 at 1).
Plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint appears to seek to eliminate the State of Alabama
Department of Human Resources Child Support Enforcement Division and replace it with a
The Court’s local rules may be accessed online via http://www.alsd.uscourts.gov/court-info/local-rules-and-orders.
Defendant identified as “The City of Mobile County Department of Human Resources Child
Support Enforcement Division.” A city entity of this nature does not exist. Pursuant to Alabama
Code § 38-2-8, the Alabama Department of Human Resources is a state agency with county
departments. See also Ross v. State of Ala., 893 F. Supp. 1545, 1550 (M.D. Ala. 1995)(“By
statute, the Houston County DHR is a division of the State Department of Human Resources and
operates under its direction.”). Thus, even if Plaintiff had complied with the Local Rules, the
amendment would be futile. Accordingly, the motion to amend the complaint is DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED this 21st day of March 2016.
/s/ Kristi K. DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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