McDonough v. Al's Auto Sales et al
ORDER denying 185 ORDER RE: APPEAL/OBJECTION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE DECISION to District Judge (Written Opinion) Signed by Senior Judge David S. Doty on 2/27/2017. (DLO)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civil No. 13-1889 (DSD/FLN)
Johanna Beth McDonough,
Al’s Auto Sales, et al.,
This matter is before the court upon the appeal by plaintiff
Johanna Beth McDonough of Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel’s
January 27, 2017, order granting in part and denying in part the
motion for leave to amend the complaint (Order).1
After a thorough
review of the Order, and based on the file, record, and proceedings
herein, the court denies the appeal.
This privacy dispute arises out of defendants’ access of the
motor vehicle record of plaintiff Johanna Beth McDonough.
party objects to the magistrate judge’s recitation of the facts or
procedural posture of the case.
The court will therefore proceed
directly to the issues presented.
The Order denied as futile McDonough’s motion to amend the
complaint to name individual defendants previously referred to as
Magistrate Judge Noel granted the motion insofar as
McDonough requested permission to narrow her claims.
determination is not at issue and will not be addressed.
John or Jane Does, concluding that (1) any claims against such
individuals are time-barred, (2) the proposed amended complaint
does not relate back to the original complaint, (3) equitable
tolling does not apply, and (4) the appeal in this matter did not
toll the limitations period. McDonough objects only to the Order’s
Standard of Review
The standard of review applicable to an appeal of a magistrate
judge’s order on nondispositive matters is “extremely deferential.”
Reko v. Creative Promotions, Inc., 70 F. Supp. 2d 1005, 1007 (D.
The court will reverse such an order only if it is
clearly erroneous or contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); D.
Minn. LR 72.2(a)(3).
Motion to Amend
The “court should freely give leave to a party to amend its
pleadings when justice so requires; however, it may properly deny
a party’s motion to amend its complaint when such amendment ...
would be futile.” Popoalii v. Corr. Med. Servs., 512 F.3d 488, 497
(8th Cir. 2008) (internal citation omitted).
An amendment is
futile when it would not survive a motion to dismiss.
In re Senior
Cottages of Am., LLC, 482 F.3d 997, 1001 (8th Cir. 2007).
McDonough acknowledges that the proposed amendments to the
complaint relate to conduct that occurred more than four years
before the date of the proposed amended complaint. In other words,
absent application of the doctrines of relation back or equitable
tolling, the claims are untimely and amendment would be futile.
Relevant here, an amended pleading will relate back to the
date of an original pleading when:
[T]he amendment changes the party or the naming of the
party against whom a claim is asserted ... if, within the
period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and
complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment: (i)
received such notice of the action that it will not be
prejudiced in defending on the merits; and (ii) knew or
should have known that the action would have been brought
against it, but for a mistake concerning the proper
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c)(1)(C). McDonough argues that she has met the
above criteria because inadequate knowledge of a party’s identity as was the case here - constitutes a “mistake” within the meaning
of the rule.
That argument has been rejected by several other
judges in this district in nearly identical cases. See, e.g., Bass
v. Anoka Cty., No. 13-860, 2016 WL 7422639, at *1-2 (D. Minn. Dec.
22, 2016); Taylor v. City of Amboy, No. 14-0722, 2016 WL 5417190,
at *2 (D. Minn. Sept. 27, 2016); Engebretson v. Aitkin Cty., No.
Krekelberg v. Anoka Cty., No. 13–3562, 2016 WL 4443156, at *5 (D.
Minn. Aug. 19, 2016); Potocnik v. Carlson, No. 13-2093, 2016 WL
3919950, at *3-5 (D. Minn. July 15, 2016); Heglund v. Aitkin Cty.,
No. 14–296, 2016 WL 3093381, at *5-6 (D. Minn. June 1, 2016).
the reasons stated in those cases and in the Order, the court
follows suit and denies the appeal on this basis.
McDonough also argues that the magistrate judge erred in
concluding that the doctrine of equitable tolling does not apply in
Her argument has been uniformly rejected
5400363, at *6; Krekelberg, 2016 WL 4443156, at *6; Potocnik, 2016
WL 3919950, at *5.
There is nothing unique in this case that would
warrant a different result.
Therefore, for the reasons stated in
the above cases and the magistrate judge’s well-reasoned Order, the
court denies McDonough’s appeal on this basis as well.
Accordingly, based on the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
plaintiff’s appeal [ECF No. 185] is denied.
Dated: February 27, 2017
s/David S. Doty
David S. Doty, Judge
United States District Court
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