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William Victor v. David Varano

June 21, 2012

WILLIAM VICTOR, PLAINTIFF
v.
DAVID VARANO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Magistrate Judge Carlson)

(Judge Nealon)

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

William Victor, an inmate in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, commenced the above-captioned action on May 11, 2011. (Doc. 1) Victor amended the complaint on July 12, 2011. (Doc. 23) Subsequently, Victor sought permission to submit a motion to file a second amended complaint by February 13, 2012. The Court granted that request, but Victor never submitted the motion he had asked permission to file.

Instead, two months later, on April 11, 2012, Victor returned to the Court to request that he be provided with a copy of his previously filed amended complaint, replacement copies of the written discovery documents the Defendants had produced, and that he be given an additional 60 days to file a motion to amend the complaint. (Doc. 95) Victor also requests that discovery be continued for 90 days, and that the Court prevent Defendants from taking his deposition until after he has prepared and filed his second amended complaint. (Id.)

Upon consideration, on April 12, 2012, we entered an order granting Victor's request in part without the Court unnecessarily delaying this action through further briefing. (Doc. 97) In that order, we directed the Clerk of Court to furnish Victor with a copy of his amended complaint, and we directed Defendants to provide Victor with another copy of written discovery responses that were previously produced. We also granted Victor's request that his deposition in this case be scheduled after he has submitted a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, together with a copy of the proposed complaint.

However, because we concluded that Victor had by that time been given a substantial opportunity to litigate this matter over the prior year, including multiple extensions of deadlines, we found it inappropriate to grant an additional two months for Victor to prepare a second amended complaint. Instead, we directed Victor to file a motion for leave to submit a second amended complaint, together with a copy of the proposed second amended complaint, by Friday, May 4, 2012. (Id.)

In our order we further included a detailed recitation of the halting procedural history that had plagued this litigation, and we explicitly placed Victor on notice that no further extensions of time, or additional delays, would be permitted absent a compelling showing of good cause.

On April 24, 2012, Victor filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint pursuant to Rule 15(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 98) In the motion, Victor sought leave "to add defendants in this matter as well as new claims that occurred after the amended complaint was filed . . . ." (Id.) The motion represented that Victor had submitted a legal brief that would provide support for the motion. (Id.) That brief, a spare, two-page document, suggested that Victor was claiming civil rights violations "that occurred after he filed the amended complaint involving some of these same and different defendants," and provided in material part only as follows:

Plaintiff does not wish to delay this matter any more than necessary and yet argues it would be prudent to supplement and establish a connection and more than inadvertant [sic] motive for continued retaliation and abuse that occurred at SCI-Coal and a subsequent facility (Mahanoy) on or about Oct. 14, 2011 and Nov. 9, 2011 and respectfully ask this court to grant this motion after review of copy attached and any such further relief necessary. (Doc. 99)

Defendants filed a timely brief opposing the motion, arguing that Victor's request lacked any detail regarding the purported supplemental allegations, or about any connection between the new, vague allegations and the averments in the amended complaint. (Doc. 100) In addition, Defendants argue that if Victor is permitted to supplement his complaint in this fashion, at this stage of the litigation, it would result in unnecessary delay. (Id.) Defendants observe that Victor has provided no justification for seeking to supplement his amended complaint in this manner, and they suggest that Victor be required to initiate a new civil action he believes he has a valid claim of retaliation against new individuals. (Id.)

Upon consideration, we conclude that Victor has provided insufficient explanation regarding his proposed supplemental allegations, or the substantial delay in bringing these allegations. Victor's overly general description of additional instances of alleged retaliation are simply insufficient to permit the Court or Defendants to evaluate whether they are properly the subject of a supplemental complaint. We have twice previously endeavored to provide Victor with some guidance in response to his request to supplement or further amend his complaint in this action, (Docs. 65, 97), but our efforts have failed to yield a motion justifying such relief. Although we are mindful of the liberal standards applicable to motions for leave to amend or supplement pleadings under Rules 15(a) and 15(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, we are constrained to find that Victor's request for leave fails to meet or surpass even these modest thresholds. Accordingly, the motion will be denied.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Ths is a civil rights action brought by William Victor, a state prisoner who is proceeding pro se. Victor, an inmate previously incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township ("SCI-Coal Township"), and who is now held in the Special Management Unit at SCI-Camp Hill, commenced this action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 on May 11, 2011, which initially named more than 20 corrections officials at SCI-Coal Township as Defendants. (Doc. 1) On June 27, 2011, Victor was granted leave to file an amended complaint on or before July 15, 2011. (Doc. 17) Victor filed an amended complaint on July 12, 2011, (Doc. 23),which also named twenty Defendants and contained an array of claims, including allegations of medical neglect, use of excessive force, retaliatory discipline, and ...


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