United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
ESTATE OF RAYMOND J. GUZIEWICZ, et al. Plaintiffs,
RENEE P. MAGNOTTA, Defendant.
F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
civil action was initiated by the filing of a pro se
complaint against the defendant, Re nee P. Magnotta
("Magnotta"), on September 8, 2014. (Doc. 1). The
two named plaintiffs in the complaint are (a) the Estate of
Raymond J. Guziewicz (the "Estate") and (b) his
son, Steven J. Guziewicz, appearing both individually and in
his role as administrator for the Estate. Steven Guziewicz
has asserted federal civil rights claims under U.S.C.
§1983 and state law tort claims for malicious
prosecution and abuse of process on behalf of the decedent,
Raymond J. Guziewicz. On his own behalf, Steven Guziewicz has
asserted a single state law tort claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress which was dismissed by the
court on September 20, 2016. (Doc. 47).
the court is the plaintiffs' motion to amend the
complaint (Doc. 30). Attached to the motion is the proposed
amended complaint. (Doc. 30-1). In the proposed amended
complaint, the plaintiffs seek to add Jerome Smith as a
defendant. The amended complaint alleges that Mr. Smith was
defendant Magnotta's immediate supervisor. The motion is
fully briefed and ripe for disposition. (Docs. 26, 27).
to the complaint, on January 27, 2012, arrest warrants were
issued for Raymond J. Guziewicz ("Raymond") and
Steven J. Guziewicz ("Steven") at the request of
Magnotta, an agent of the Office of the Attorney General of
Pennsylvania assigned to the Bureau of Narcotics
Investigation. (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 5, 10). Magnotta is sued
in her individual capacity. (Id. ¶6). On
January 31, 2012, Raymond was arrested by the Scranton City
Police Department on the authority of the arrest warrant. He
was charged with fifty-two felonies and twenty-six
misdemeanors under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and Drug,
Device, and Cosmetic Act. Raymond was incarcerated for four
days until he posted bail on February 3, 2012. On September
6, 2012, all of the charges against Raymond were dismissed by
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because his arrest lacked
probable cause. (Id. ¶18).
spent eighteen months in prison and was sentenced to time
served on December 18, 2013, after pleading guilty to one
felony count of acquiring a controlled substance.
(Id. ¶22). Steven alleged that he was forced to
plead guilty after three potential alibi witnesses had died
before Steven's trial date of September 23, 2013.
(Id.). In addition, it is alleged that Magnotta had
a pattern of arresting Raymond and Steven since 2005 in order
to extract guilty pleas from Steven notwithstanding a lack of
probable cause to support the charges against Raymond.
(Id. ¶¶ 23-24).
is the administrator of Raymond's estate and brings this
action in both his individual capacity and in his role as
administrator of the estate.
plaintiffs move to amend the complaint on the basis that the
proposed defendant, Jerome Smith, was Magnotta's
immediate supervisor at or near the events giving rise to the
action and he knew or should have known of Magnotta's
propensity for filing criminal charges which were not
supported by probable cause.
before us for disposition is the plaintiffs' motion to
stay proceedings (Doc. 37) and motion to clarify (Doc. 49).
For the reasons stated herein we will grant the motion to
amend, and deny, as moot, the motions to stay proceedings and
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) sets out the standard for
granting leave to amend a complaint when, as is the case
here, a responsive pleading has been served: "a party
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave." Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). The Rule clearly states that "[t]he court
should freely give leave when justice so requires." IcL
Nonetheless, the policy favoring liberal amendments is not
"unbounded." Dole v. Arco Chem. Co.. 921
F.2d 484, 487 (3d Cir. 1990). The decision whether to grant
or to deny a motion for leave to amend rests within the sound
discretion of the district court. Foman v. Davis.
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); Waterfront Renaissance Assoc.
v. Philadelphia.701 F.Supp.2d 633, 639 (E.D. Pa. 2010).
A district court may deny leave to amend a complaint where
"it is apparent from the record that (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." Lake v.
Arnold. 232 F.3d 360, 373 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing
Foman. 371 U.S. at 182). The mere passage of time
does not require that a motion to amend a complaint be denied
on grounds of delay. Adams v. Gould. Inc.. 739 F.2d
858, 868 (3d Cir. 1984). In fact, delay alone is an
insufficient ground to deny leave to amend. Cornell &
Co.. Inc. v. Occupational Safety & Health Review
Comm'n.. 573 F.2d 820, 823 (3d Cir. 1978). However,
"at some point, the delay will become 'undue, '
placing an unwarranted burden on the court, or will become
'prejudicial, ' placing an unfair burden on the
opposing party." Adams. 739 F.2d at 868. Delay
may become undue when a movant has had previous opportunities
to amend a complaint. See Lorenz v. CSX Corp.. 1
F.3d 1406, 1414 (3d Cir. 1993) (three-year lapse between
filing of complaint and proposed amendment was
"unreasonable" delay where plaintiff had
"numerous opportunities" to amend); see also
Rolo v. City Investing Co. Liquidating Tr.. 155 F.3d
644, 654-55 (3d Cir. 1998) (rejecting proposed second amended
complaint where plaintiffs were repleading facts that could
have been pled earlier). Here, we find no undue delay on the
part of Steven.
Motion to ...