Quigley v. City of Huntington WV et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND granting Plaintiff's 28 MOTION for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint; directing that the second amended complaint is considered filed as of today's date; further directing the Cle rk of Court to issue summonses for defendants Williamson,Koher, Smith, and Talbert and provide the summonses and copies of the second amended complaint to the United States Marshals Service; directing the UnitedStates Marshals Service to serve the aforementioned defendants with theappropriate summons and complaint pursuant to Rule 4, Fed. R. Civ. P. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cheryl A. Eifert on 9/12/2017. (cc: Plaintiff; counsel of record; any unrepresented party) (jsa)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
HARRY LAWRENCE QUIGLEY,
Case No. 3:17-cv-01906
CITY OF HUNTINGTON WV;
SHANE BILLS (in both his official and
JOSEPH CICCARELLI in both his official and
JOEY KOHER in both his official and
JASON SMITH in both his official and
personal capacity); and
JAMES TALBERT in both his official and
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File Second Amended
Complaint. (ECF No. 28). Defendants have filed a response in opposition to the motion,
and Plaintiff has filed a reply memorandum. (ECF Nos. 30, 31). Accordingly, the issues
are fully briefed, and the Court finds no need for oral argument.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides that a party may amend its
pleading with leave of court, and leave should be freely given “when justice so requires.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). “Under Rule 15, a court should deny a motion to amend ‘only
where it would be prejudicial, there has been bad faith, or the amendment would be
futile.’” Pearson v. McFadden, No. CV 9:14-3943-TMC, 2017 WL 3485645, at *9 (D.S.C.
Aug. 15, 2017) (quoting Nourison Rug Corp. v. Parvizian, 535 F.3d 295, 298 (4th Cir.
2008)); also Equal Rights Ctr. v. Niles Bolton Assocs., 602 F.3d 597, 603 (4th Cir. 2010)
(“A district court may deny a motion to amend when the amendment would be prejudicial
to the opposing party, the moving party has acted in bad faith, or the amendment would
be futile.”). “If the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a
proper subject of relief, he ought to be afforded an opportunity to test his claim on the
merits. … [T]he grant or denial of an opportunity to amend is within the discretion of the
District Court, but outright refusal to grant the leave without any justifying reason
appearing for the denial is not an exercise of discretion; it is merely abuse of that
discretion and inconsistent with the spirit of the Federal Rules.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S.
178, 182 (1962).
In this case, as Plaintiff points out, the defendants will not be prejudiced by an
amendment given that discovery is still in its early stages. The purpose of the amended
complaint, in large part, is to add additional defendants and dismiss a claim for special
damages that is now moot. As Plaintiff only recently learned the names of the additional
defendants and his claim for special damages only recently became moot, bad faith is not
present in Plaintiff’s request for leave to amend. Moreover, based upon the defendants’
contention that Plaintiff did not state sufficient factual allegations against them in the
first amended complaint, Plaintiff attempts in the second amended complaint to correct
and clarify his causes of action. These are all appropriate reasons for seeking an
amendment. Finally, Plaintiff’s proposed amendment is not futile. “A proposed
amendment is considered futile where it ‘fails to state a claim under the applicable rules
and accompanying standards.’” Phillips v. Brock & Scott, PLLC, No. CV PX 16-3899, 2017
WL 3226866, at *6 (D. Md. July 28, 2017) (quoting Katyle v. Penn Nat. Gaming Inc.,
637 F.3d 462, 471 (4th Cir. 2011)). The court is required to hold a pro se plaintiff to less
stringent standards than a plaintiff represented by counsel and must construe pro se
complaints liberally. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Applying those
principles to Plaintiff’s proposed amended complaint, the undersigned finds that Plaintiff
has included sufficient factual allegations regarding the newly added defendants to state
a potential claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Therefore, Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File a
Second Amended Complaint is GRANTED. The second amended complaint is
considered filed as of today’s date.
The Clerk of Court is ORDERED to issue summonses for defendants Williamson,
Koher, Smith, and Talbert (all of whom are represented to be law enforcement officers
employed by the Huntington Police Department) and provide the summonses and copies
of the second amended complaint to the United States Marshals Service. The United
States Marshals Service is ORDERED to serve the aforementioned defendants with the
appropriate summons and complaint pursuant to Rule 4, Fed. R. Civ. P. The United States
Marshals Service shall promptly file the returns of service.
The Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Order to Plaintiff, counsel of record,
and any unrepresented party.
ENTERED: September 12, 2017
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