CASH v. ALLEGHENY COUNTY SHERIFF OFF. et al
ORDER denying Plaintiff's Motion to Amend 73 . Signed by Magistrate Judge Patricia L. Dodge on 2/16/2021. (ahm)
Case 2:19-cv-01553-PLD Document 82 Filed 02/16/21 Page 1 of 3
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CHRISTOPHER L. CASH,
OFFICER SCOTT BOBAK and ANDREW
Civil Action No. 19-1553
Plaintiff Christopher L. Cash filed a Motion for Leave to Amend (ECF No. 73) in which
he sought to further amend his Amended Complaint. Because Plaintiff did not include his
proposed amended complaint, the Court denied his motion without prejudice and instructed him
to renew his motion and attach the proposed amendment. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Proposed
Second Amended Complaint (ECF No. 80). While he did not file a motion seeking leave to amend
as instructed, the Court will construe his proposed amendment and the prior Motion for Leave to
Amend as his present motion.
Plaintiff asserted a claim for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights in his original
Complaint, filed in December 2019, as well as in an Amended Complaint that was filed in January
2020. He later filed an “Addendum” on April 16, 2020 (ECF No. 32) in which he alleged that his
Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the same conduct alleged in the Amended Complaint.
The Court advised him that this document is not part of the Amended Complaint and that if he
intended to file a second amended complaint, he must do so by motion (ECF No. 33). Plaintiff
then filed a second “Addendum” on April 22, 2020 (ECF No. 34) and was again advised of the
necessity of filing a motion that included the proposed amended complaint (ECF No. 35). Plaintiff
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took no action at that time, either by moving to amend, requesting additional time or explaining
why he was unable to file a motion.
It was not until November 2020, and well over a month after Defendants moved for
summary judgment, that Plaintiff moved for additional time to seek to amend his complaint (ECF
No. 61). His motion did not include a proposed amended complaint. In an order issued on
November 9, 2020, the Court denied his motion but granted him an extension of time to respond
to the summary judgment motions (ECF No. 62).
In his most recent motion (ECF No. 73), Plaintiff asserts that he and a person who is
assisting him were delayed by issues related to COVID-19. He also states that in seeking
amendment, he does not wish to add new claims or parties, but only to “cure the complaint and
clarify facts.” In his previous addenda, Plaintiff claimed that his Fourth Amendment rights were
violated by Defendants’ traffic stop. The proposed Second Amended Complaint (ECF No. 80)
adds a claim for unreasonable search and seizure as well as some additional facts. Many of these
facts are also set forth in the Declaration (ECF No. 76) filed by Plaintiff in opposition to
Defendants’ motions for summary judgment.
While Plaintiff’s motion is untimely, he has provided an explanation regarding why he was
previously unable to seek leave to amend. He also states that he is not adding a new claim but
seeking to correct defects raised by Defendants. As both Defendants correctly note in their motions
for summary judgment, Plaintiff’s claim of excessive force in connection with an arrest or
investigatory stop must be analyzed as an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth
Amendment, not the Eighth Amendment. See Rivas v. City of Passaic, 365 F.3d 181, 189 (3d
Cir.2004). While his proposed amended complaint includes both claims, they are one and the same
given his status at the time.
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Under the notice pleading standard of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Plaintiff is only required to set forth a short and plain statement of his claim and the relief he is
seeking. He has already done so in the previous Amended Complaint and its exhibits. Plaintiff has
also filed a Declaration in opposition to Defendants’ motions for summary judgment in support of
his position. These facts are in the record and, as appropriate, will be considered with respect to
the pending motions for summary judgment. Therefore, further amendment to correct defects or
to clarify facts is unnecessary.
Similarly, while his proposed amendment includes both an excessive force and
unreasonable search and seizure claims, Plaintiff previously asserted an excessive force claim
which, under prevailing law and the facts of record, is properly analyzed as an unreasonable search
and seizure claim under the Fourth Amendment. Both Defendants have construed his claim as an
unreasonable search and seizure claim under the Fourth Amendment in their motions for summary
judgment. Therefore, Plaintiff’s interests are protected and amendment is unnecessary.
For these reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend (ECF No. 73) is DENIED.
SO ORDERED this 16th day of February 2021.
/s/ Patricia L. Dodge
PATRICIA L. DODGE
United States Magistrate Judge
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