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Kitchen v. Winn

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 8, 2019

MICHAEL KITCHEN, Plaintiff,
v.
O'BELL T. WINN, WILLIAM FOY, NANNIE CULBERSON, THOMAS HAYNES, KETURAH MORRIS, MARK CHALKER, BRADLEY ODETTE, BOBBY KARL, TONY GLYNN, BRIAN TROMBLEY, and UNKNOWN SUPERVISORS OR GUARDS, Defendants.

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART and DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S JANUARY 25, 2019 MOTION FOR LEAVE OF COURT TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND TO APPOINT U.S. MARSHALS TO SERVE NEW DEFENDANTS (DE 45)

          ANTHONY P. PATTI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. OPINION

         A. Background

         Michael Kitchen (#189265), is currently in the Michigan Department of Corrections' (MDOC's) custody at Michigan Reformatory (RMI). (DE 43.) On May 19, 2017, while incarcerated at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility (LRF), Kitchen filed the instant lawsuit in pro per against ten named defendants, each of whom is identified as being located at the Saginaw Correctional Facility (SRF). (DE 1 ¶¶ 5-7.) In addition, he lists as Defendants “Unknown Supervisors or Guards.” (DE 1 ¶ 8.)

         Each of the ten named defendants is represented by Michigan's Attorney General. Defendants were given until September 27, 2017 by which to file a responsive pleading. (DEs 23, 24.) On May 22, 2018, Judge Steeh entered an order accepting my report and recommendation, granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and dismissing Plaintiff's claims for money damages against Defendants in their official capacities. (DE 33.)

         B. Discovery Motion Practice & Deadline Extensions

          On July 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery and to enforce a subpoena. (DE 35.) Approximately two months later, the Court granted the motion as unopposed. (DE 36.) Shortly thereafter, I entered an order setting the discovery deadline for November 6, 2018 and the dispositive motion cutoff for December 6, 2018. (DE 37.)

         On November 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed another motion to compel discovery, which also sought other forms of relief. (DE 38.) On December 4, 2019, I entered an order providing that discovery was to be completed by Monday, January 7, 2019, and dispositive motions were to be filed no later than Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Thereafter, on January 18, 2019, the Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's second motion to compel discovery, extended the discovery deadline to February 4, 2019, and denied as unnecessary Plaintiff's motion to permit motion for sanctions. (DE 44 at 17-18.) Plaintiff's objections regarding the order were overruled. (DEs 46, 50.)

         In sum, the discovery deadline has twice been extended, and the discovery period has concluded. On February 25, 2019, Defendants filed a motion to amend the December 4, 2018 case management scheduling order. (DE 48.) On February 27, 2019, I granted the motion to the extent it sought an extension of the March 6, 2019 dispositive motion deadline and extended the deadline for filing dispositive motions to June 5, 2019.

         C. Pending Matters

         Judge Steeh has referred this case to me for all pretrial proceedings. Currently before the Court are:

(a) Plaintiff's January 25, 2019 motion for leave of court to amend complaint and to appoint U.S. Marshals to serve new Defendants (DE 45), regarding which a response and a reply have been filed (DEs 47, 49);
(b) Plaintiff's March 11, 2019 third motion to compel discovery and to impose sanctions against Defendant Odette (DE 51), regarding which Defendants have filed a response (DE 54);
(c) Plaintiff's March 13, 2019 motion for summary judgment against all Defendants (DE 52); and,
(d) Defendants' March 18, 2019 motion for enlargement of time to file a response to the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (DE 53).

         The Court will now address Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint, and the remaining matters will be addressed under separate cover in the future.

         D. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 (“Amended and Supplemental Pleadings”)

         Plaintiff brings his motion to amend pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). This rule permits amending a pleading once as a matter of course within “(A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Otherwise, “a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).

         “The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). As the Supreme Court has explained:

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. In the absence of any apparent or declared reason-such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc.-the leave sought should, as the rules require, be ‘freely given.' Of course, the 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) (emphases added).

         E. Comparison of Plaintiff's Operative and Proposed Amended Pleadings

         1. Plaintiff's original complaint named 10 Defendants and ...


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