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Veeder v. Tri-Cap

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

June 7, 2019

RANDY VEEDER, Plaintiff,



          Patricia T. Morris, United States Magistrate Judge

         I. Recommendation

         Two matters are before the Court. The first is another of Plaintiff Randy Veeder's motions to amend his complaint. (R. 73.) It is his fifth such motion. Because of the long delay in filing it, the resulting prejudice to Defendants, and the futility of certain proposed amendments, I RECOMMEND DENYING the motion. The second matter is Plaintiff's request to extend discovery, which was in part prompted by the thought that his vast additions in his proposed amended complaint would necessitate more discovery. (R. 73.) But because his motion to amend should be denied, and he has not otherwise justified the need for additional discovery, I RECOMMEND DENYING his request.

         II. Report

         A. Background

         On May 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint. Over the course of the next six months, he made four motions to amend his complaint. (Docs. 9, 13, 15, 19). On January 2, 2018, the Court granted his most recent motion to amend, (Docs. 19, 20), and thus his proposed amended complaint supplanted his initial complaint. See (Doc. 25). His other motions to amend were then dismissed as moot. (Doc. 20).[1]

         1. Current Complaint

         I described the current amended complaint in an earlier Report:

Against this host of defendants, Plaintiff levies accusations of numerous civil rights violations, beginning in July 2015 in Midland County. (Doc. 25). There, his parole agent Sandra Eagle and her supervisor, William Raleigh, “forced [Plaintiff] to reside at the Open Door . . . a homeless shelter that is run by a church in Midland.” (Id. at PageID.134). He states that Open Door forced its residents to “wake up and attend prayer every morning, also Tuesday night meeting, religious speaker, coffe[e] house every month, and attend church on Sundays.” (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that “Corrections employee[s were] constantly trying to force the Plaintiff to ‘choose a religion' or force the Plaintiff into some kind of faith-based program or housing.” (Id. at PageID.134-135).
He has similar complaints about the TRI-CAP residential program, where he says his caseworker and other staff “forced [him] to attend a faith based, ” church-run program called “RU” to meet a weekly hours requirement. (Id. at PageID.136). Failure to meet the requirement would allegedly have resulted in a write up, termination from the program, a probation or parole violation, and jail or prison time. (Id.).
While Plaintiff was a resident at TRI-CAP, he alleges, Eagle and probation agent Brian Magipora “forced” him to participate in a program that put him to work in a Saginaw cemetery. (Id. at PageID.135). He describes working outside in winter without proper food or clothing, and also complains that he had to work as a pall bearer and “acknowledge and participate with ceremony from family's church, pastor and prayer.” (Id. at PageID.135-136).
A significant portion of the Amended Complaint revolves around an incident that occurred at TRI-CAP on February 17, 2017, as Plaintiff and others returned from work. (Id. at PageID.137). TRI-CAP staff routinely strip-searched returning residents, but Plaintiff alleges that on this occasion, the search crossed a line into sexual assault. (Id.). He describes how TRI-CAP staff member Lacross instructed the residents to strip and stand with their hands against the wall, and then spread each resident's buttocks to search for contraband in the anal cavity. (Id.). Lacross had never touched Plaintiff's buttocks during a search before, and Plaintiff makes no allegation that any employee has done so since. (Id.). He also alleges that Lacross's supervisor, Burgess, participated in this invasive instruction, and “trained” staff to perform strip searches. (Id. at PageID.138).
When the incident came up during group therapy that night, the residents' therapist informed them that they could call the police and make a complaint. (Id. at PageID.139). Plaintiff and five other residents called 911, and when police arrived, Burgess entered the therapy group and sent the therapist home (another therapist filled in for the rest of the night). (Id.). Burgess remained in the room and sent text messages to Lacross while Plaintiff and other residents made their statements to police, which Plaintiff viewed as intimidation. (Id. at PageID.138).
Plaintiff argues that Burgess violated HIPAA confidentiality by entering their group therapy session and sending the therapist home, as well as by relaying to other residents and staff what the therapist had discussed with residents. (Id. at PageID.139). Further, Plaintiff says he was “humiliated and degraded” for making a statement to police. (Id. at PageID.140).
This specific occasion aside, Plaintiff also complains Burgess “had previously asked Veeder and other residents ‘where are the drugs at[, ] in your ass?' and had his cell phone out and turned on in bathroom at TRI-CAP during strip search.” (Id. at PageID.149). He asserts that Davis, Beaman, Ervin, Cochran, and Nadzan had been made aware of “numerous” complaints about Burgess and took no action. (Id. at PageID.138, 149).
Magipora and Eagle were also aware of Plaintiff's complaints about TRI-CAP and “ignored” his request for a pass to access legal materials or “to talk to a[n] attorney to make a complaint.” (Id. at PageID.140). Magipora informed Plaintiff that if he was uncomfortable being at TRI-CAP, he could move Plaintiff to New Paths, but that Plaintiff would have to start over with no credit for the time he had spent at TRI-CAP. (Id.).
On April 20, 2017, Plaintiff absconded from TRI-CAP and was arrested and sentenced to 30 days in jail. (Id. at PageID.141). He was then ordered to enter a residential program at New Paths, in Flint, Michigan. (Id.).
Plaintiff told his caseworker, Mitchell, that he needed access to legal materials and described his complaints about TRI-CAP, to which Mitchell responded that “he would not be allowed to have any access to any legal materials or . . . a pass for that purpose.” (Id. at PageID.141-142). Other staff at New Paths, including the director, Hutchinson, gave him the same answer. (Id. at PageID.142).
Plaintiff makes several additional allegations of civil rights violations that occurred at New Paths. First, he asserts his due process rights were violated when New Paths staff made him “restart the SUD program” for taking items from an open vending machine without issuing him a write-up or providing a hearing. (Id. at PageID.142, 150). The incident also resulted in probation violation proceedings. (Id.).
Second, Plaintiff argues his First Amendment rights were violated when Mitchell “and staff” terminated him from New Paths for making a Facebook post from his cell phone about the “poor conditions of living” at the facility. (Id. at PageID.143, 151). Additionally, he says that his due process rights were violated because he had no chance to challenge the violation and no notice of or hearing regarding the termination. This is despite the fact, according to Plaintiff, that “[r]esidents at New Paths Inc. are allowed to have cell phones outside in the lockbox, ” and there are “no rules against having internet or social networking.” (Id. at PageID.142).
The alleged constitutional violations described above caused Plaintiff “[e]motional and mental anguish, loss of freedom, anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks . . . [and] humiliation.” (Id. at PageID.145).

(R. 21, at PageID.102-106.)

         2. ...

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