Staake v. Barrela et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 89 ; granting in part and denying in part 72 Motion for Leave to File by Chief Judge M. Christina Armijo. (vv)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
FNU BARRELA, et al.,
ORDER ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
Defendants filed timely objections (Doc. 90) to Magistrate Judge William P. Lynch’s
Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition (“PFRD”) (Doc. 89), which recommended
granting-in-part and denying-in-part pro se plaintiff Mark Staake’s Motion for Leave to File an
Amended, Supplemental Complaint (Doc. 72).
In the PFRD, Judge Lynch provided the case background (see Doc. 89 at 1); noted that
Staake, in his original complaint, announced that he would seek to add additional defendants
when he learned their names through discovery (see id. at 1-2); noted that the proposed amended
complaint, in fact, relied on discovery to “add six allegedly culpable medical providers as
defendants” (id. at 1); noted that the proposed amended complaint “is more detailed” because it
“includes pinpoint citations to the Martinez report” (id. at 2); identified Rule 15(a)(2) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as the applicable legal standard (id. at 2-3); noted that
Defendants advance two arguments in their response to deny leave to amend: “undue delay and
futility of amendment” (id. at 3); found the undue delay argument unpersuasive because Staake
“notified [Defendants] and the Court in his original complaint that he anticipated adding
additional defendants” (id. at 4); and likewise found the futility of amendment argument
unpersuasive as to five of the six additional defendants because “Staake’s claims . . . are
supported by specific factual allegations and do not appear ‘obviously’ futile” (id. at 5)
Defendants “respectfully object to this last determination.” (Doc. 90 at 3.) They argue
that Judge Lynch improperly focused on the specificity of Staake’s claims, rather than whether
the “relevant records of the Martinez report” demonstrated that the claims were futile. (Id. at 4.)
Defendants appear to agree with Judge Lynch on the law regarding futility of amendment
because the statement of law in their objections is essentially the same as the statement of law in
Judge Lynch’s PFRD. (Compare Doc. 89 at 3 with Doc. 90 at 3.)
“Rule 15 . . . was designed to facilitate the amendment of pleadings except where
prejudice to the opposing party would result.” Bylin v. Billings, 568 F.3d 1224, 1229 (10th Cir.
2009) (quoting United States v. Hougham, 364 U.S. 310, 316 (1960)). “Courts typically find
prejudice only when the amendment unfairly affects the defendants ‘in terms of preparing their
defense to the amendment.’” Minter v. Prime Equip. Co., 451 F.3d 1196, 1208 (10th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Patton v. Guyer, 443 F.2d 79, 86 (10th Cir. 1971)). “Most often, this occurs when the
amended claims arise out of a subject matter different from what was set forth in the complaint
and raise significant new factual issues.” Minter, 451 F.3d at 1208.
Defendants’ objection is overruled because they are not prejudiced by Staake’s proposed
amended complaint. Staake notified Defendants that he would seek leave to amend after
discovery commenced, so they had adequate notice. Further, the proposed amended complaint
relies on the Martinez report, which presents a confined set of facts that Defendants are very
familiar with—because they prepared it. Said another way, Defendants’ ability to prepare a
defense is not hampered because they will rely on the same, limited set of facts that were already
applicable to the claims in Staake’s original complaint. See Minter, 451 F.3d at 1208. This
resolution is fair to both parties. See Bylin, 568 F.3d at 1229 (“The district court has wide
discretion to recognize a motion for leave to amend in the interest of a just, fair or early
resolution of litigation”) (quotation omitted).
Staake’s Motion for Leave to File an Amended, Supplemental Complaint (Doc. 72) is
granted-in-part and denied-in-part. The “Verified Amended Supplemental Complaint” attached
to his motion (Doc. 72 at 3-28) is adopted as the operative complaint, except as to Defendant
“RN Isaac Lucero,” who will not be added as a defendant.
In addition, the parties will, from this point forward, correctly spell the names of the new
defendants in subsequent motions and filings. Judge Lynch noted the correct spellings in the last
paragraph of his PFRD. (See Doc. 89 at 5.)
IT IS SO ORDERED.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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