Sawyer v. Collins et al
ORDER granting 32 Motion to Amend Complaint. Sawyer to file amended complaint on or before 7/24/12. Signed by Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 7/13/2012. (cmj)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JOHNNIE MAE SAWYER, as
Daughter and Administrator of the Estate of )
ARTHUR WATERS, deceased,
) CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:12-0020-KD-M
SYLVIA COLLINS, BOBBY SANDERS,
and JAMES HOOD,
This action is before the Court on the motion for leave to amend complaint filed by
plaintiff Johnnie Mae Sawyer as the Administrator of the Estate of Arthur Waters, deceased (doc.
32) and the response filed by defendants Sylvia Collins, Bobby Sanders, and James Hood (doc.
35). Upon consideration and for the reasons set forth herein, the motion is GRANTED and
Sawyer shall file her amended complaint on or before July 24, 2012.
Sawyer moves the Court for leave to amend her complaint to add common law
negligence claims against two defendants, to clarify the existing allegations of fact, and to assert
previously unknown factual allegations. Sawyer argues that she sought leave to amend as soon as
she received the additional information, that no scheduling order has been entered, and therefore
no party will be prejudiced nor will the amendment hamper the Court’s administration.
Defendants do not oppose Sawyer’s motion.
The Federal Rules state, in relevant part, that Aa party may amend its pleading only with
the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave@ and that the Acourt should freely give
leave when justice so requires.@ Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 15(a)(2). Defendants do not oppose the
motion. However, offering no opposition may not be the same as giving “written consent.”
Therefore, the Court will determine whether justice requires that leave to amend be given.
“A district court may, in the exercise of its inherent power to manage the conduct of
litigation before it, deny such leave where there is substantial ground for doing so, such as
‘undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure
deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue
of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of amendment.’” Reese v. Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253,
1263 (11th Cir. 2008) (brackets in original) (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Weaver, 169 F.3d
1310, 1319 (11th Cir.1999) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9
L.Ed.2d 222 (1962)).
In Foman, the Supreme Court explained that leave should be given “[i]f the underlying
facts or circumstances relied upon by the plaintiff may be a proper subject for relief.” Foman,
371 U.S. at 182. Therefore, “there must be a substantial reason to deny a motion to amend.”
Laurie v. Ala. Ct. of Crim.App., 256 F.3d 1266, 1274 (11th Cir.2001); Thomas v. Town of Davie,
847 F.2d 771, 773 (11th Cir.1988) (citation omitted) (“[U]nless there is a substantial reason to
deny leave to amend, the discretion of the district court is not broad enough to permit denial.@)
Moreover, the federal rules favor allowing amendments. Dussouy v. Gulf Coast Investment Co.,
660 F.2d 594, 597 (5th Cir. 1981) (AThe policy of the federal rules is to permit liberal amendment
to facilitate determination of claims on the merits and to prevent litigation from becoming a
technical exercise in the fine points of pleading.@).
At present, Sawyer’s complaint alleges violation of the constitutional right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment and is brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1982. Sawyer alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to the serious
medical needs of the decedent Arthur Waters. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the basis
of qualified immunity but have not yet answered the complaint. The preliminary scheduling
order has not been entered and thus the Rule 16(b) Scheduling Order has not been entered.
Therefore, Sawyer’s motion for leave to amend has been filed before any deadline for
amendment of pleadings.
Also, since the Rule 16(b) Scheduling Order has not been entered, the parties will have
sufficient time to conduct discovery regarding the issues raised in the amendments to the
complaint such that there is no undue prejudice to the defendants. Discovery may Adisclose more
precisely the basis of both claim and defense@ and Adefine more narrowly the disputed facts and
issues.@ Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 48, 78 S.Ct. 99 (1957). Overall, the docket does not
indicate that Sawyer has engaged in any undue delay or bad faith, exhibited a dilatory motive, or
repeatedly failed to cure deficiencies. Defendants have not raised any argument that amending
the complaint would be futile. Accordingly, the Court finds that there is no substantial reason to
deny leave to amend and therefore, the motion for leave to amend is due to be granted.
DONE this the 13th day of July, 2012.
s/ Kristi K. DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?