Sheehan v. Noble County Sheriff's Department et al
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 60 MOTION to Extend Amended Complaint Deadline by Plaintiff Harold Bruce Sheehan, II. Signed by Magistrate Judge Susan L Collins on 1/14/16. (cc: Harold Bruce Sheehan II). (cer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
HAROLD BRUCE SHEEHAN, II,
NOBLE COUNTY SHERIFF’S
DEPARTMENT, et al.,
) CAUSE NO. 1:14-cv-00324-WCL-SLC
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Harold Bruce Sheehan, II, a pro se prisoner, filed a motion asking to enlarge the
deadline for filing an amended complaint so that he can add additional defendants who are
currently unknown. (DE 60). This case is proceeding on claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
that the Defendants used excessive force against him and denied him medical treatment on
October 16, 2013. Indiana’s two-year limitations period for personal injury suits applies to §
1983 claims. Behavioral Inst. of Ind., LLC v. Hobart City of Common Council, 406 F.3d 926,
929 (7th Cir. 2005). Therefore, the deadline for filing a complaint raising claims arising out of
those events was October 16, 2015, unless the amended complaint relates back to the original
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1)(C)(ii) requires that an added defendant “knew
or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake
concerning the proper party’s identity.” “[T]he mistake requirement is independent from
whether the purported substitute party knew that action would be brought against him.” King v.
One Unknown Fed. Corr. Officer, 201 F.3d 910, 914 (7th Cir. 2000). “[I]n the absence of a
mistake in the identification of the proper party, it is irrelevant . . . whether or not the purported
substitute party knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against
him.” Wood v. Worachek, 618 F.2d 1225, 1230 (7th Cir. 1980).
“It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to determine the proper party to sue and to do so before
the statute of limitations expires. A plaintiff’s ignorance or misunderstanding about who is
liable for his injury is not a ‘mistake’ as to the defendant’s ‘identity.’” Hall v. Norfolk S. Ry.
Co., 469 F.3d 590, 596 (7th Cir. 2006). “[P]laintiffs cannot, after the statute of limitations
period, name as defendants individuals that were unidentified at the time of the original pleading.
Not knowing a defendant’s name is not a mistake under Rule 15.” Jackson v. Kotter, 541 F.3d
688, 696 (7th Cir. 2008). Therefore it would be futile to permit Sheehan to amend his complaint
to add additional defendants.
For these reasons, the motion (DE 60) to enlarge the deadline for filing an amended
complaint is DENIED.
Entered this 14th day of January 2016.
/s/ Susan Collins
United States Magistrate Judge
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