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Tippins v. Caruso

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

March 3, 2015

JOHNNY TIPPINS, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK CARUSO, et al., Defendants.

Stephen J. Murphy, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT (DE 16)

Anthony P. Patti, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

This matter is before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff Johnny Tippins’ Motion to Amend Complaint. (DE 16.) For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff’s Motion is GRANTED pursuant to the limitations outlined below.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding without the assistance of counsel, filed his Complaint and Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees on March 4, 2014, bringing claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (DE 1, 2.) Plaintiff alleges that state prison officials, two local mayors, and the Velsicol Chemical Corporation (“Velsicol”) violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by forcing him to drink contaminated water during his incarceration. Initially, Plaintiff sought $100 million in damages for the alleged constitutional violations.

On May 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed his first Motion to Amend Complaint, in which he itemized and revised the amount of alleged damages to around $70 million. (DE 7.) On July 1, 2014, the Court screened Plaintiff’s Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b) and ordered that Plaintiff’s § 1983 claims against Velsicol be dismissed because, unlike the other state Defendants, the private company was not a state actor and therefore not amenable to suit under § 1983. (DE 9.) The same day, the Court granted Plaintiff’s first Motion to Amend Complaint. (Id.)

On July 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed his second Motion to Amend Complaint. (DE 10.) In his second Motion, Plaintiff attempted to argue that his claims against Velsicol should not have been dismissed because Velsicol is a state actor and therefore amenable to suit under § 1983. Because Plaintiff’s Motion contained primarily legal arguments, the Court construed it as a Motion for Reconsideration of its July 1, 2014 Order and denied the Motion. (DE 15.) The Court reasoned that, despite the additional information Plaintiff provided, Velsicol did not undertake any relevant actions under the color of state law.

Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Amend Complaint on January 23, 2015. (DE 16.) In his Motion, Plaintiff seeks to add facts related to the chemical he alleges was in the drinking water system of St. Louis, Michigan causing him to experience stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, and hyperthyroidism. (DE 15 at 2.)

He was imprisoned in a correctional facility in that locality between 2004 and 2007. (Id.) He asks the Court to amend or supplement his Complaint with the additional information. (DE 16.) To date, none of the Defendants remaining in this action have been served.

II. STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), a party may amend its pleadings at this stage of the proceedings only after obtaining leave of court. The Rule provides that the Court should freely give leave for a party to amend its pleading “when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “Nevertheless, leave to amend ‘should be denied if the amendment is brought in bad faith, for dilatory purposes, results in undue delay or prejudice to the opposing party, or would be futile.”’ Carson v. U.S. Office of Special Counsel, 663 F.3d 487, 495 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Crawford v. Roane, 53 F.3d 750, 753 (6th Cir. 1995)).

In addition, the Local Rules of the Eastern District of Michigan require a party moving to amend a pleading to “attach the proposed amended pleading to the motion.” E.D. Mich. LR 15.1. Any amendment to a pleading must “reproduce the entire pleading as amended, and may not incorporate any prior pleading by reference.” Id.

III. ANALYSIS

The Court concludes that, under the liberal amendment standard outlined in Rule 15(a)(2), Plaintiff is entitled to amend his Complaint. There is no indication that the amendment was brought in bad faith or for dilatory purposes. Nor could it be considered prejudicial to the remaining Defendants, because they have not yet been served or made an appearance in this case. Accordingly, to the extent ...


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