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Dyche v. Bonney

March 13, 2006

CHARLES DYCHE, PLAINTIFF
v.
LINDA BONNEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Sylvia H. Rambo

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint. (See Docs. 47, 48.) The parties have briefed the issues, and the matter is ripe for disposition.*fn1 For the following reasons, the court will deny Plaintiff's motion.

I. Background

The factual background of this case is well-known to both parties. The relevant procedural background is as follows. Plaintiff Charles Dyche filed a complaint on August 18, 2005, asserting violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by Defendant Linda Bonney and two John Doe Defendants. Plaintiff's complaint survived a motion to dismiss. After conducting discovery, Plaintiff filed his first motion to amend the complaint, seeking to assert breach of contract claims against all Defendants and to add the Pennsylvania State Police ("the PSP"), Barbara Christie,*fn2 and Jeffrey Miller*fn3 as Defendants. On November 22, 2005, the court granted Plaintiff's first motion to amend in part and allowed Plaintiff to add Barbara Christie and Jeffrey Miller as Defendants. However, the court denied the motion in part, holding that Plaintiff could not add the PSP as a Defendant, assert a § 1983 claim against Ms. Christie for a denial of due process or denial of Plaintiff's right of association, or assert breach of contract claims as to any Defendant. Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's November 22, 2005 order, which the court denied on December 21, 2005.

Plaintiff now seeks leave to file a second amended complaint. Plaintiff attempts for the second time to assert claims based upon the alleged existence of an employment contract between the PSP and Plaintiff. Specifically, Plaintiff wishes to add contract-based estoppel and fourteenth amendment claims, as well as a request for punitive damages based on such claims. Plaintiff also seeks to add claims under Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("the PHRA" or "PHRA").

II. Legal Standard -- Motion to Amend

Once a responsive pleading has been served, "a party may amend the party's pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). Whether to grant or deny the motion is within the district court's discretion. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 182 (1962). A court may deny a motion for leave to amend if

"(1) the moving party has demonstrated undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motives;

(2) the amendment would be futile; or (3) the amendment would prejudice the other party." Fraser v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 352 F.3d 107, 116 (3d Cir. 2003). Mere delay will not warrant the denial of a motion for leave to amend "absent a concomitant showing of undue prejudice or bad faith." Zygmuntowicz v. Hospitality Invs., Inc., 151 F.R.D. 53, 55 (E.D. Pa. 1993). "Amendment of the complaint is futile if the amendment would not cure the deficiency in the original complaint or if the amended complaint cannot withstand a motion to dismiss." Massarsky v. General Motors Corp., 706 F.2d 111, 125 (3d Cir. 1983).

III. Discussion

A. Contract Related Claims

Plaintiff fails to establish the existence of a contract between the PSP and Plaintiff or otherwise establish a property interest in continued employment. In order to establish a deprivation of a property interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, Plaintiff must demonstrate a legitimate claim of entitlement to employment "created expressly by state statute or regulation or arising from government policy or a mutually explicit understanding between" the employer and employee. Carter v. City of Philadelphia, 989 F.2d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 1993).

Plaintiff primarily relies upon Section 205(f) of Pennsylvania's Administrative Code to establish a property interest. Section 205(f) provides:

All new cadets and troopers shall serve a probationary period of eighteen months from the date of original enlistment during which time they may be dismissed by the commissioner for violations of rules and regulations, incompetency, and inefficiency without ...


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