United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES
Johnston, United States Magistrate Judge
November 16, 2017, Plaintiff Laurence Stewart filed a Motion
to Amend his Complaint (Doc. 60) and a Motion to Serve
Amended Complaint and Direct Defendants to Answer (Doc.
The motions should be denied.
of background, this Court issued a Scheduling Order on May
19, 2017 requiring that all motions to amend the pleadings be
filed on or before August 7, 2017. (Doc. 37 at 7.) That Order
specifically provided that, “[n]o amendments will be
allowed after this date without a showing of good cause and
with leave of Court.” (Doc. 37 at 7 citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4) (“A schedule may be modified only for good
cause and with the judge's consent.”)).
motion to amend, Mr. Stewart first seeks to rename Chief of
Security Stewart as a Defendant. Mr. Stewart named Chief
Stewart as a Defendant in his original complaint. He then
sought to amend his Complaint to dismiss Chief Stewart. (Doc.
44 at 1-2.) That motion was granted and Chief Stewart was
dismissed on July 29, 2017. (Doc. 52.)
Stewart also seeks to add Warden Douglas Fender as a
Defendant. Warden Fender was the Assistant Warden at the time
that Mr. Stewart's allegations arose and he was mentioned
in the original Complaint. (Doc. 2 at 12.)
Stewart seeks to add these Defendants based upon facts which
he previously alleged and therefore he contends that both
Defendants have been put on notice and should not be
prejudiced. He also argues that he had no way of knowing the
details of their involvement until now, through discovery.
Defendants (Defendants Berkebile, Arnold, Spiegle, and
Weaver) object to Mr. Stewart's amendment on the grounds
that it is untimely, that Mr. Stewart has not shown good
cause for his late amendment, and that it would prejudice the
newly named Defendants since discovery has been completed in
this matter. (Doc. 62.)
a motion to amend is subject to Rule 15(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides that “[t]he
court should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so
requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). However,
“[o]nce the district court had filed a pretrial
scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
16 which established a timetable for amending pleadings that
rule's standards controlled.” Johnson v.
Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th
Cir. 1992); see In re W. States Wholesale Natural Gas
Antitrust Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 737 (9th Cir. 2013).
16(b) requires a party seeking leave to amend to demonstrate
“good cause.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b). “Rule
16(b)'s ‘good cause' standard primarily
considers the diligence of the party seeking
amendment.” Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609.
“If that party was not diligent, the inquiry should
end.” Id. “Although the existence or
degree of prejudice to the party opposing the modification
might supply additional reasons to deny a motion, the focus
of the inquiry is upon the moving party's reasons for
seeking modification.” Id.
cause is found, the court must then evaluate the request to
amend in light of Rule 15(a)'s liberal standard.
Id. at 608. Leave to amend should be granted unless
amendment: (1) would cause prejudice to the opposing party,
(2) is sought in bad faith, (3) creates undue delay, (4) or
is futile. Chudacoff v. Univ. Med. Ctr. of S. Nev.,
649 F.3d 1143, 1153 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
the Court agrees with the CCA Defendants that an amendment to
the pleadings is not proper at this stage of the litigation.
Mr. Stewart has not shown diligence and therefore cannot
establish good cause, the amendment would cause prejudice to
the opposing parties, and it would create undue delay.
Stewart was aware of these individuals involvements in this
case as he indicated in his original Complaint filed October
6, 2015, that Chief of Security Stewart and the Assistant
Warden (now Warden Fender) likely made some decisions
throughout this incident. (Doc. 2 at 12.) Despite his
awareness of their involvement, there is no evidence that he
made any attempt to conduct discovery or otherwise make a
determination on the specifics of that involvement. He makes
no showing that he was diligent in investigating the actions
of these individuals Mr. Stewart argues that he had no way of
knowing the details of these Defendants' involvement
until now, through the use of discovery, but he does not
explain when or how he first became aware of the
“details of these defendants involvement.” He
does not explain how or when he was advised that Chief of
Security Stewart “approved the decision made by Spiegle
and Arnold” and that Warden Fender upheld Weaver's
decision finding him guilty of the disciplinary write-up. Mr.
Stewart failed to show good cause for filing his amendment so
late in this litigation.
addition, the Court agrees that to allow such an amendment at
this late stage in the proceedings would prejudice Mr.
Stewart and Warden Fender. Discovery was to be completed by
December 11, 2017 and dispositive motions are due January 5,
2018. (Amended Scheduling Order, Doc. 57 at 2.) These
individuals have not taken part in the discovery and ...