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Williams v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

March 22, 2019

DaJuan Torrell Williams, Plaintiff,
Charles L. Ryan, Unknown Anderson, G. Osler, S. Mangan, Unknown Antolin, Unknown Williams, Unknown Barnes, Defendants.


          Camille D. Bibles United Slates Magistrate Judge.


         Before the Court is Plaintiff's motion (ECF No. 84) for leave to amend his complaint. Because a magistrate judge cannot decide a “matter dispositive of a claim or defense or a prisoner petition challenging the conditions of confinement, ” Rule 72(b)(1), the undersigned recommends as follows.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a prisoner civil rights complaint and an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on June 13, 2017. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis was granted and the complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim with leave to amend. (ECF No. 9). Plaintiff lodged an amended complaint on October 25, 2017. (ECF No. 13). In his amended complaint Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his First Amendment rights in their application of Department Order 914.07, which prohibits prison inmates from possessing “sexually explicit material or content that is detrimental to the safe, secure, and orderly operation of the facility.” (ECF No. 13 at 5). Plaintiff asserts the named Defendants withheld and confiscated specific books, magazines, and other reading material from him, based on their determination that these specific items were prohibited by Department Order 914.07. Plaintiff alleges these specific items do not fall within the ambit of the order, and prohibiting him from possessing these specific items violates his First Amendment rights.

         In an order issued February 12, 2018, the Court ordered Defendant Ryan to answer Counts One and Two; ordered Defendants Barner, Anderson, and Osler to answer Count Three; ordered Defendant Mangan to answer Counts Four and Five; ordered Defendants Mangan and Williams to answer Count Six; ordered Defendant Antolin to answer Count Seven; and dismissed Count Eight. (ECF No. 17). All of the Defendants were served and answered the Amended Complaint. In a scheduling order docketed May 8, 2018, the Court ordered all discovery be completed by August 8, 2018, and that dispositive motions be filed by October 7, 2018. (ECF No. 27). The deadline for filing dispositive motions was later extended to February 2, 2019. (ECF No. 80). Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which as docketed October 11, 2018. (ECF No. 65). Plaintiff responded to the motion for summary judgment on February 11, 2019. (ECF No. 86).

         Plaintiff filed the pending motion on February 7, 2019. Plaintiff seeks leave to add six additional defendants and the allegation that 43 additional specific items of reading material have been wrongfully withheld or confiscated based on the challenged Department Order. (ECF No. 84 at 2). Because Plaintiff has docketed two prior complaints, Plaintiff is not entitled to amend his complaint without leave of the Court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). Defendants oppose the motion to amend (ECF No. 91).

         II. Standard for granting or denying a motion to amend

         Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a plaintiff should be given leave to amend his complaint when justice so requires. Granting or denying leave to amend is a matter committed to the Court's discretion. Hartmann v. California Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., 707 F.3d 1114, 1129 (9th Cir. 2013). In exercising this discretion with regard to a motion to amend filed after a responsive pleading, the Court should consider, inter alia, the prejudice to the opposing party, whether granting the motion will result in undue delay, and whether the plaintiff has previously amended his complaint. Western Shoshone Nat'l Council v. Molini, 951 F.2d 200, 204 (9th Cir. 1991). Granting leave to amend causes substantial prejudice if it alters the litigation, creates additional discovery, or causes an extreme delay. See Roberts v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, 661 F.2d 796, 798 (9th Cir. 1981) (affirming the district court's denial of a motion to amend when the amendment was “raised at the eleventh hour, after discovery was virtually complete and the Board's motion for summary judgment was pending before the court.”).

         III. Analysis

         Discovery in this matter is completed, and Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment which, if granted, would result in the denial of relief on all of Plaintiff's claims. Given that Plaintiff seeks to add additional defendants based on new facts the Court should exercise its discretion to deny the leave to amend. See Jackson v. Bank of Haw., 902 F.2d 1385, 1387 (9th Cir. 1990) (noting that “[p]rejudice to the opposing party is the most important factor” in determining whether to grant leave to amend); Ansari v. Plummer, 43 F.3d 1478, 1994 WL 692925 (9th Cir. 1994); Duggins v. Steak ‘N Shake, Inc., 195 F.3d 828, 834 (6th Cir.1999) (upholding denial of leave to amend based on undue delay and undue prejudice to the defendant where the plaintiff sought amendment after the close of discovery). Allowing Plaintiff to add additional claims and defendants to this suit at this time, which would require further discovery, prejudice the existing and newly added defendants, and delay the proceedings, is not in the interests of justice in this matter. See Zivkovic v. Southern California Edison Co., 302 F.3d 1080, 1087 (9th Cir. 2002). Should Plaintiff wish to proceed against the proposed additional defendants he may do so by initiating a separate action.

         IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's motion at ECF No. 84, seeking leave to amend his complaint, be denied.

         This recommendation is not an order that is immediately appealable to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Any notice of appeal pursuant to Rule 4(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure should not be filed until entry of the District Court's judgment. The parties shall have fourteen days from the date of service of a copy of this recommendation within which to file specific written objections with the Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 6, 72. Thereafter, the parties have fourteen days within which to file a response to the objections. Failure to file timely objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation may result in the acceptance of the Report and Recommendation by the District Court without further review. See United States v. Reyna-Tapia,328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003). Failure to file timely objections to any factual ...

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