Walters v. Division of Youth Services of the State of Missouri et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint Substituting Defendant DYS for John/Jane Doe (ECF No. 156 ) is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that John/Jane Doe 1-10 are DISMISSED without prejudice. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on July 27, 2015. (BRP)
UNITED ST ATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CODY WALTERS ,
DIVISION OF YOUTH SERVICES OF THE
STA TE OF MISSOURI,
Case No. 4:13-CV-1475-RLW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Third Amended
Complaint Substituting Defendant DYS for John/Jane Doe (ECF No. 156).
previously entered a show cause order noting John/Jane Doe 1-10 had not been served, nor had
there been any entry of appearance on behalf of John/Jane Doe 1-10. (ECF No. 151).
Plaintiffs Response to the Court ' s Recent [Show Cause] Order (ECF No. 155), Plaintiff states
that he seeks to substitute the Division of Youth Services ("DYS") for John/Jane Doe 1.
Defendants previously argued that Plaintiff failed to "preserve a § 1983 municipal custom and
failure to train claim against DYS" and that "Plaintiff did not plead a§ 1983 claim against DYS ."
(ECF No. 142 at 18).
Now, "out of an abundance of caution" (ECF No. 155, 157), Plaintiff
wants to add DYS as a defendant to the § 1983 cause of action. The Court denies Plaintiffs
Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint Substituting Defendant DYS for John/Jane
Doe for several reasons.
First, Plaintiffs Motion is untimely.
Defendants filed a fully-briefed Motion for
Summary Judgment, which is currently pending before the Court. This case is also set for a jury
trial on September 8, 2015.
As noted by Plaintiff, Defendants argue in their Motion for
Summary Judgment that Plaintiff failed to allege a § 1983 action against Defendant DYS.
Plaintiff apparently seeks to correct this "deficiency" after discovery is closed, summary
judgments are fully briefed, and just over a month before trial. Plaintiff claims that there is no
prejudice to Defendants because DYS "has been a named party since Plaintiff filed this cause of
action in July of 2013" and "[t]he allegations against John/Jane Doe 1 have been present since
the onset of this litigation and .come has no surprise to Defendants or their counsel." (ECF No.
157 at 1-2). The Court has broad discretion in determining whether to allow a plaintiff to file an
amended complaint. Schenk v. Chavis, 259 F. App'x 905 , 907 (8th Cir. 2008). Further, the
Court does not believe that Plaintiff has demonstrated good cause for filing an amended
complaint at this late date. See Fed.R.Civ.P . 16(b)(4). Rather, Plaintiff indicates that the only
reason he is seeking amendment now is because he failed to recognize the need to amend the
complaint at an earlier date. The Court believes that Defendants will be prejudiced because they
have a fully briefed motion for summary judgment pending before the Court that is premised, at
least in part, on Plaintiff's failure to allege a § 1983 claim against DYS. See Moses. com Sec. , Inc.
v. Comprehensive Software Sys. , Inc., 406 F.3d 1052, 1066 (8th Cir. 2005) (affirming the denial
of a motion for leave to file a third amended complaint where the district court had already twice
granted leave to amend and an additional amendment would cause "undue delay and prejudice to
Second, the Court believes that amendment of Plaintiff' s claims would be futile . Plaintiff
seeks to preserve § 1983 "municipal custom and failure to train claims" against DYS . (ECF No.
157 at 2). Plaintiff identifies DYS as "an agency of the State of Missouri which, at all relevant
times, owned, maintained, controlled and/or operated the W.E. Sears Youth Center ("Youth
Center") and the Hillsboro Treatment Center." (Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 83,
see also proposed Third Amended Complaint, ECF No. 155-1,
). A municipality or other
local government may be liable under § 1983 "if the governmental body itself ' subjects' a person
to a deprivation of rights or 'causes' a person 'to be subjected' to such deprivation." Connick v.
Thompson, 131 S. Ct. 1350, 1359, 179 L. Ed. 2d 417 (2011). However, "[t]he State of Missouri
is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment since it did not consent to this suit."
Tramble-Bey v. Skiba, 25 F. App'x 486, 487 (8th Cir. 2002) (dismissing § 1983 action against the
State of Missouri); Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100, 104 S. Ct.
900, 908, 79 L. Ed. 2d 67 (1984) ("in the absence of consent a suit in which the State or one of
its agencies or departments is named as the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh
Amendment"). Thus, even if the Court were to allow Plaintiff to amend his pleadings, Plaintiff
cannot state a § 1983 claim against DYS for violation of a municipal custom because DYS is not
a municipality but a state entity immune from suit. Russell v. Hennepin Cnty., 420 F.3d 841, 846
(8th Cir. 2005) ("A municipality may be liable under § 1983 when an official municipal policy
or custom caused a violation of a plaintiffs substantive due process rights."); Hayes v. Faulkner
County, 388 F.3d 669, 674 (8th Cir. 2004); see also City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 389-
91 (1989) (requiring that a plaintiff establish a municipal policy or custom that caused a
deprivation of his constitutional rights) . Likewise, a failure to train action cannot be brought
against DYS because such an action can only be brought against a local government entity, not
DYS. City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989) (a local government may be subject to
§ 1983 liability for "inadequate training of its employees").
The Court denies Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Third Amended Complaint
Substituting Defendant DYS for John/Jane Doe (ECF No. 156) because it is untimely and futile
in that DYS is not a proper defendant for § 1983 "municipal custom and failure to train claims."
The Court also will dismiss John/Jane Does because they have not been properly named or
served within the time permitted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Third Amended
Complaint Substituting Defendant DYS for John/Jane Doe (ECF No. 156) is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that John/Jane Doe 1-10 are DISMISSED without
Dated thimih day of July, 2015.
RONNIE L. WHITE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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