United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO
AMEND AND DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the denial of class certification, Plaintiffs individually
filed the instant complaint on December 6, 2018. Plaintiffs
sue Defendant City of Detroit and various City of Detroit
police officers for constitutional violations stemming from
what Plaintiffs allege was an illegal search of their lawful
marijuana grow facility and residence on March 20, 2014.
Currently pending before the court is Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss the complaint in its entirety and Plaintiffs'
Motion to Amend the complaint. Defendants' argue that the
complaint contains insufficient factual details to sustain
the claims alleged and requests legally prohibited damages.
Plaintiffs respond that their proposed amended complaint will
remedy all of the pleading deficiencies targeted by
Defendants' motion. The court has reviewed the briefing
and concludes that a hearing is not necessary. See
E.D. Mich. 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons explained below, the
court will grant Plaintiffs' motion to amend and will
deny as moot Defendants' motion to dismiss.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) authorizes the amendment of
pleadings as a matter of right within 21 days of service.
When, as here, a party seeks to amend a pleading outside of
the time to amend as a matter of right, “the court
should freely give leave when justice so requires.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “Denial may be appropriate,
however, where there is ‘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 the amendment, etc.'”
Morse v. McWhorter, 290 F.3d 795, 800 (6th Cir.
2002) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
(1962)). The ultimate decision to grant or deny leave to
amend a pleading is left to the sound discretion of the
district court. See Robinson v. Michigan Consol. Gas Co.,
Inc., 918 F.2d 579, 591 (6th Cir. 1990).
argue that amendment will cure all of the issues raised in
Defendants' 12(b)(6) motion and that Defendants will not
be prejudiced by amendment. Additionally, Plaintiffs maintain
that their request for amendment is made in good
faith-Plaintiffs highlight Defendants' failure to raise
the issue of pleading defects until after the parties
submitted a joint discovery plan and emphasize their
promptness in requesting amendment after the filing of
do not claim that they will be prejudiced by amendment.
Instead, Defendants' opposition to Plaintiffs' motion
is based almost entirely on Defendants' assertion that
Plaintiffs intentionally omitted important factual details
from the original complaint. The omission of such details,
Defendants argue, is inexcusable because the attorneys
representing Plaintiffs are the same attorneys who previously
filed the failed class action precipitating the instant
complaint. Defendants contend that Plaintiffs drafted a
“vague, bare-bones complaint in order to conceal
[their] theories and gain a tactical advantage.” (ECF
No. 39, PageID.541.)
court is not persuaded that Plaintiffs' decision to omit
from the original complaint factual allegations now presented
in the proposed amended complaint amounts to gamesmanship or
bad faith, especially considering that the class action
complaint was sustained on similar factual allegations and
not subject to 12(b)(6) challenge by Defendants. Plaintiffs
have promptly requested amendment following Defendants'
first challenge to the sufficiency of the complaint and,
based on Defendants' failure to present any argument to
the contrary, the court finds that amendment will not cause
any undue prejudice to Defendants given the early stage of
discovery in this case. The court is satisfied that the
liberal standard announced in Rule 15 supports granting
Plaintiffs' request for amendment. See Morse,
290 F.3d at 800 (“Rule 15 plainly embodies a liberal
also argue that amendment is futile as to claims brought by
Plaintiff Valentino because the proposed amended complaint
contains no allegations that “defendant officers did
anything to Valentino.” (ECF No. 39, PageID.544.) The
court disagrees. The proposed amended complaint states that
Valentino resided at the property which Defendants illegally
searched. Such allegations are sufficient to give rise to a
Fourth Amendment claim because as a resident of the property,
Valentino would have a “‘legitimate expectation
of privacy' in the place searched. ” United
States v. Garcia, 496 F.3d 495, 503 n.3 (6th Cir. 2007)
(quoting United States v. King, 55 F.3d 1193, 1195
(6th Cir. 1995)); see also Minnesota v. Olson, 495
U.S. 91, 96-97 (1990) (holding that a temporary, overnight
guest had a reasonable expectation of privacy and, therefore,
Fourth Amendment standing to challenge a warrantless search
of his host's home); see generally O'Connor v.
Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987) (applying the
“reasonable expectation of privacy” standard to a
civil action for Fourth Amendment violations). Defendants
need not physically interact with or harm Plaintiffs to cause
an actionable constitutional violation. In the proposed
amended complaint, Plaintiffs allege that they suffered
“emotional distress, humiliation, anguish,
embarrassment, and loss of their valuable property” as
a result of the violations alleged. (ECF No. 36-6,
PageID.430.) Such injuries can sustain a claim for the
violation of Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights. See
Shamaeizadeh v. Cunigan, 338 F.3d 535, 546 (6th Cir.
2003) (citing Memphis Cmty. Sch. Dist. v. Stachura,
477 U.S. 299, 307 (1986)) (“[A] § 1983 plaintiff
can seek damages for pain, suffering, embarrassment, and
on the liberal pleading standard articulated in Rule 15(a)
and the facts described above, the court is persuaded that
amendment is appropriate. The court will grant
Plaintiffs' motion and will allow Plaintiffs' to file
an amended complaint. The filing of the amended complaint
will moot Defendants' pending motion to dismiss.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion to
File an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 36) is GRANTED and is to
be filed within seven (7) days.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF
No. 32) is DENIED AS MOOT.
hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was
mailed to counsel of record on this date, October 15, ...