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MacCool v. State

United States District Court, D. Arizona

June 26, 2014

Finn MacCool, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
State of Arizona, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

JAMES A. TEILBORG, Senior District Judge.

Pending before the Court are: (1) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") (Doc. 4); (2) Plaintiffs' Motion to File a Third Amended Complaint ("TAC") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) (Doc. 11); and (3) Plaintiffs' lodged TAC pursuant to LRCiv 15.1(b) (Docs. 18, 18-1). The Court notes that Plaintiffs also filed and later withdrew a Motion to File a TAC pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(B). (Docs. 21, 25). The Court will: (1) grant Plaintiffs' Motion to File a TAC; (2) strike Plaintiffs' lodged TAC; and (3) deny Defendants' Motion to Dismiss as moot for the following reasons.

I. BACKGROUND

Finn MacCool ("Finn") was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 ("DM-2") and hypertension during the time he was an inmate housed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. (Doc. 1-3 at 41). While in New Jersey, Finn's DM-2 and hypertension were "well-controlled." ( Id. ). In June 2011, Finn was transferred to the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections ("ADC") and housed at the Eyman Complex-Browning Unit ("Eyman") from June 2, 2011 until April 15, 2012. ( Id. at 38). Upon Finn's arrival to Eyman, his medication regimen was changed and both insulin therapy and daily monitoring were discontinued. ( Id. at 42).

While housed at Eyman, Finn experienced nausea, headaches, vomiting, and blurry vision. ( Id. ). James Baird, M.D. ("Dr. Baird"), Finn's primary treating physician at Eyman ( Id. at 38), attributed Finn's symptoms to "food poisoning, flu, or migraine headaches." ( Id. at 42). On August 20, 2011, an optometrist examined Finn and recommended that Dr. Baird "get control' of Finn's blood pressure and blood sugar and get a retina consult ASAP.'" ( Id. ). Dr. Baird did not institute tighter monitoring of Finn's blood sugar or blood pressure and Finn's "blood pressure and blood sugar remained poorly controlled." ( Id. ). In the following eight months, Finn's health deteriorated. ( See Id. at 42-43).

On April 15, 2012, Finn was transferred to ADC's Lewis Complex-Buckley Unit ("Lewis") where he remained until September 4, 2012. ( Id. at 37-38). Upon Finn's transfer to Lewis, he was "essentially wheelchair bound and legally blind." ( Id. at 44). At Lewis, a Defendant referred to in Plaintiffs' SAC as "CO-III Lamb" "refused multiple inmate letters and Health Needs Requests from Finn for accommodation under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)." ( Id. ). CO-III Lamb denied Finn's request for an ADA porter because "he could have his cellie' write for him" and told Finn that he did not need a physician-ordered wheelchair because "he could find a spare wheelchair and get other inmates to push him or help him walk." ( Id. ). Finn relied on other inmates to get to and from meals and, between April and July of 2012, "he was found on multiple occasions in his cell near comatose state, unable to walk and unconscious." ( Id. ). On September 4, 2012, Finn was rushed to Tempe St. Luke's Hospital for end-stage renal disease and a heart attack. ( Id. ). Finn has not returned to Lewis and, instead, has remained in Tucson-Rincon's Health Unit or in hospitals in Phoenix and Tucson. ( Id. ).

During the time Finn was housed by the ADC, ADC Director Charles Ryan ("Director Ryan") was responsible for the overall operation of both Eyman and Lewis. ( Id. at 38). Also during this time, Dr. Michael Adu-Tutu ("Dr. Adu-Tutu") was the Health Services Division Director of the ADC and "was responsible for overseeing all health care services of [the ADC] and for coordinating medical and mental health services for all inmates, including Finn." ( Id. ). Both Ryan and Adu-Tutu knew of failures in care and "needs of inmate[s] like [Finn] suffering from chronic diseases, specifically diabetes and hypertension." ( Id. at 43).

On August 9, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against Defendants in Maricopa County Superior Court ("Superior Court"). ( See Doc. 1-2). Between August 2012 and April 2014, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint (Doc. 1-3 at 1) and, later, the Superior Court granted Plaintiffs' Motion to File a SAC ( Id. at 13). Plaintiffs' SAC was filed on October 1, 2013 ( Id. at 37) and served to Defendants by April 3, 2014 (Doc. 1-4 at 22-51). Additionally, during this time period, the Superior Court granted Plaintiffs' motions for extension of time to serve process on Defendants. (Docs. 1-2 at 22, 1-3 at 21, 1-4 at 4). On April 16, 2014, Defendants removed the case to this Court. (Doc. 1).

On May 19, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to File a TAC (Doc. 11) and, a lodged TAC (Doc. 18) pursuant to LRCiv 15.1(b). Plaintiffs' lodged TAC asserts factual allegations in support of four causes of action: (1) medical malpractice against the State of Arizona as Dr. Baird's employer; (2) negligence and gross negligence against the State of Arizona based on the actions and inactions of Director Ryan and Dr. Adu-Tutu; (3) violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Dr. Baird, Dr. Adu-Tutu, Director Ryan, and CO-III Lamb; and (4) violations of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12102 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("RA"), 29 U.S.C. § 705(20)(B) against CO-III Lamb and Dr. Baird, both individually and officially, as well as the State of Arizona. (Doc. 18-1 at 12-17).

II. MOTION TO FILE A THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

A. LEGAL STANDARD

A party may amend a pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it or within 21 days of service of, among others, a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). In all other circumstances, a party must seek leave to amend from the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). "The court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Id. In determining whether to grant a motion to amend, a court should consider five factors: "(1) bad faith; (2) undue delay; (3) prejudice to the opposing party; (4) futility of amendment; and (5) whether the plaintiff has previously amended his complaint." Nunes v. Ashcroft, 375 F.3d 805, 808 (9th Cir. 2004). The most important of these factors is prejudice to the opposing party. U.S. v. Pend Oreille Public Utility Dist., No. 1, 926 F.2d 1502, 1511 (9th Cir. 1991). "Significantly, [t]he party opposing amendments bears the burden of showing prejudice, ' futility, or one of the other permissible reasons for denying a motion to amend." Farina v. Compuware Corp., 256 F.Supp.2d 1033, 1060 (D. Ariz. 2003) (quoting DCD Programs, Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 187 (9th Cir. 1987)).

B. ANALYSIS

Defendants argue that the Court should not grant Plaintiffs' Motion to File a TAC because of: (1) prior amendments; (2) undue delay; and (3) futility. (Doc. 19 at 2). Defendants have not argued that Plaintiffs acted in bad faith in requesting to amend their SAC. ( Id. ). Nor have Defendants argued they will be prejudiced if the Court allows Plaintiffs to amend their Complaint ( id. ), which is the most important factor to the Court's analysis, Pend Oreille, 926 F.2d at 1511. Because it is Defendants' burden to show why the Court should not grant Plaintiffs' Motion to File a TAC, the Court will only examine whether granting Plaintiffs' Motion to File a TAC is prohibited by: (1) prior amendments; (2) undue delay; or (3) futility.

1. Prior Amendments

Defendants' first argument is that the Court should deny Plaintiffs' Motion to File a TAC because of previous amendments to the Complaint and ...


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