United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
KAROLINE MEHALCHICK, Magistrate Judge.
Pending before this Court are various motions filed by pro se Plaintiff Stephen Aguiar. Specifically, Plaintiff has filed a motion for entry of default judgment (Doc. 29), a motion to file a second amended complaint (Doc. 37), a motion to strike his response to Defendants' answer (Doc. 38), a motion to strike (Doc. 49) defendants' summary judgment motion (Doc. 45), a motion to compel (Doc. 40) and a "renewed" motion to compel (Doc. 48). For the reasons provided herein, Plaintiff's motion for entry of default judgment (Doc. 29) and motion to file a second amended complaint (Doc. 37) are DENIED. Plaintiff's motion to strike (Doc. 38), motions to compel (Doc. 40; 48), and motion to strike defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 49) are GRANTED.
I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff Stephen Aguiar ("Aguiar"), a prisoner currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Virginia, filed the instant Bivens  action on June 13, 2013 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (Doc. 1). Aguiar filed an amended complaint on June 18, 2013. (Doc. 5). On October 1, 2013, the case was transferred to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 12). The incidents that give rise to the complaint occurred while Aguiar was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Allenwood, Pennsylvania ("FCI-Allenwood"). In his amended complaint, Aguiar alleges that the Bureau of Prison ("BOP") staff at FCI-Allenwood violated his constitutional rights by improperly imposing disciplinary sanctions on him and directing Facebook employees to disable his Facebook account as a result of his allegedly improper use of the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System ("TRULINCS"), a computer system that monitors inmates' electronic messages. (Doc. 1). Specifically, he names as Defendants Warden M. Recktenwald, Associate Warden Jeff Butler, Captain C. Bergen, Lieutenant Jim Lyons, Margie Cook, and current BOP employees, as well as "John Doe" at Facebook. (Doc. 1).
Defendants did not file a response to Aguiar's amended complaint by the Court imposed October 22, 2013 deadline. (Doc. 9). As a result of Defendant's failure to respond, this Court issued a show cause order on January 3, 2014 directing the Defendants to show cause as to why they had not done so. (Doc. 15). On January 24, 2014, Aguiar filed a Motion for Default Judgment. On March 6, 2014, the Defendants responded to the Court's show cause order, requesting that this Court deny Aguiar's motion for default judgment, as the named defendants were not aware of this case due to improper service issues arising from the transfer of Aguiar's case from the District of Columbia to the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 21). On March 17, 2014, this Court issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that Defendants be granted thirty (30) days to file a response to Aguiar's amended complaint. (Doc. 23). An Order was entered on April 24, 2014, adopting the Report and Recommendation in full and referring the case back to this Court for pretrial management. (Doc. 25). On April 30, 2014, this Court entered an Order setting the answer deadline for May 24, 2014. (Doc. 28). Defendants filed an answer to Aguiar's amended complaint on May 27, 2014. (Doc. 31).
Presently before the Court are six (6) motions filed by Aguiar. In particular, Aguiar has filed a motion for default judgment on the basis that Defendants did not respond to his amended complaint. (Doc. 29). Aguiar has filed a motion to strike his response to Defendants' answer filed on May 27, 2014. (Doc. 38). Aguiar has filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint in order to add "Facebook Incorporated" and the "Federal Bureau of Prisons" as defendants as well as assert new theories of liability. (Doc. 37). Defendants have filed a brief in opposition to Aguiar's motion seeking leave to file a second amended complaint. (Doc. 41). Aguiar has filed two motions to compel dated July 24, 2014 (Doc. 4) and September 9, 2014 (Doc. 48), of which the Defendants have objected to in a corresponding brief in opposition (Doc. 41) and reply brief (Doc. 52). Finally, Aguiar has filed a motion to strike Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 49). Defendants have filed a brief in opposition to Aguiar's motion to strike. (Doc. 51). As these motions are ripe for disposition, this Court addresses each motion in turn.
A. MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT AND MOTION TO STRIKE
Aguiar filed a motion for default judgment on May 7, 2014 (Doc. 29), asserting that Defendants failed to file an answer to his amended complaint in accordance with this Court's Report and Recommendation and corresponding Order. At the outset, this Court notes that Aguiar's motion for default judgment was premature, as Defendants were given until May 24, 2014 to file a response. (Doc. 28). This Court also notes that while Defendants filed their answer on May 27, 2014, three days after the May 24th deadline, it is still deemed timely filed. Specifically, pursuant to Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court may extend the last day for filing "to the first accessible day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday." Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(a)(3). May 24, 2014 was the Saturday before Memorial Day, a legal holiday. As such, Defendants had until May 27, 2014 to file their answer. Because Defendants timely filed their answer on May 27, 2014, (Doc. 31), this Court will deny Aguiar's motion for default judgment (Doc. 29).
Upon the filing of Defendants' answer, Aguiar filed a "Reply to Defendants' Answer" (Doc. 32). Subsequently, Aguiar filed a motion to strike this response to Defendants' answer (Doc. 38), dated May 27, 2014. The Court will grant this unopposed motion.
B. MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
Aguiar has filed a motion (Doc. 37), requesting that this Court to grant him leave to file a second amended complaint, in which he seeks to add Facebook Incorporated and the BOP as defendants. (Doc. 37). In addition to his Bivens claim, Aguiar's amended complaint also asserts additional claims that the BOP violated his rights under the Privacy Act by disclosing information contained in his record to Facebook; that Facebook Incorporated, Facebook employees and BOP employees conspired to disable Aguiar's Facebook account; that the BOP intentionally interfered with the contractual relationship between Aguiar and Facebook; and that Facebook breached its contract with Aguiar by disabling his account. (Doc. 37).
Pursuant to Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court "should freely give leave [to amend a complaint] when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). While this "embodies a liberal approach to amendment, " the right to amend is not absolute. Dole v. Arco Chemical Co., 921 F.2d 484, 486 (3d Cir. 1990). "Among the grounds that could justify a denial of leave to amend are undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, prejudice, and futility." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1434 (3d Cir. 1997)(citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962))(citations omitted). An amendment to a complaint is deemed "futile" if it would fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Glassman, 90 F.3d at 623 (citations omitted). In assessing futility, the court applies the same standard of legal sufficiency ...