United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action, filed by pro se Plaintiff Warrant Easley
(“Easley”), is proceeding on an amended complaint
filed on July 26, 2017 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Doc. No. 11.) Easley is currently incarcerated at the State
Correctional Institution at Smithfield, in Huntingdon,
Pennsylvania (“SCI-Smithfield”). The allegations
that give rise to this action occurred while Easley was
incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at
Frackville, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Frackville”).
(Id.) Easley asserts a variety of federal civil
rights claims against 17 Defendants, all of whom appear to be
connected with SCI-Frackville and the Pennsylvania Department
of Corrections (“DOC”). Currently pending before
the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss Easley's
amended complaint (Doc. Nos. 23, 24), and Easley's motion
for leave to file a second amended complaint (Doc. No. 45).
26, 2017, Easley filed his original complaint asserting civil
rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against 18
Defendants based on events alleged to have occurred while
Easley was incarcerated at SCI-Frackville. (Doc. No. 1.) Upon
conducting its statutorily-mandated screening review of the
complaint prior to service of process, the Court dismissed
several claims and Defendants without prejudice and directed
Easley to file an amended complaint. (Doc. Nos. 8, 9).
filed an amended complaint on July 26, 2017. (Doc. No. 11.)
The amended complaint, totaling 232 paragraphs, purports to
allege a variety of legal claims against 17 Defendants for
violations of various federal civil rights, including
violations of Easley's First and Eighth Amendment rights
through deliberate indifference, denial of medical care,
failure to protect, retaliation, access to courts,
condition-of-confinement, and excessive force. (Doc. No. 11.)
After accepting service of Easley's amended complaint,
Defendants filed motions to dismiss on October 23, 2017 (Doc.
Nos. 23, 24), and briefs in support thereof on December 6,
2017 (Doc. No. 34-38) and December 20, 2017 (Doc. No. 40). On
December 27, 2017, the Court granted Easley an extension of
time to file a brief in opposition to Defendants' motions
to dismiss. (Doc. No. 44.) On January 22, 2018, rather than
file a brief in opposition, Easley filed a motion for leave
to file a second amended complaint and attached the proposed
second amended complaint. (Doc. Nos. 45, 47.)
proposed second amended complaint totals 352 paragraphs and
seeks to add an additional 7 Defendants to the 17 Defendants
already named in the amended complaint. (Doc. No. 47.) It
appears that Easley's proposed second amended complaint,
in addition to adding 7 new Defendants, raises the same
alleged civil rights violations as his amended complaint, but
further elaborates on his averments. (Id.)
Defendants filed a brief in opposition to Easley's motion
for leave to file a second amended complaint on February 20,
2018, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20. (Doc.
No. 51.) Easley filed a reply brief on March 8, 2018. (Doc.
No. 52.) This matter having been fully briefed, is ripe for
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, a party may amend its
pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days of serving
it, or 21 days after the service of a responsive pleading or
motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). In all other circumstances, a party
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's
written consent or with leave of court. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Rule 15 embodies a liberal approach to amendment
and specifies that “leave shall be freely given when
justice so requires.” Dole v. Arco Chemical
Co., 921 F.2d 484, 486-87 (3d Cir. 1990); Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(1)(2). “An applicant seeking leave to amend a
pleading has the burden of showing that justice requires the
amendment.” Katzenmoyer v. City of
Reading, 158 F.Supp.2d 491, 497 (E.D. Pa. 2001);
see Garvin v. City of Phila., 354 F.3d 215, 222 (3d
Cir. 2003) (explaining that a plaintiff must show that the
elements of Rule 15(c) are met to change the party or the
naming of the party against whom claims are asserted).
policy favoring liberal amendment of pleadings is not,
however, unbounded.” Dole, 921 F.2d at 487.
Factors which may weigh against amendment include
“undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part
of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment,
futility of amendment, etc.” Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). 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. See Massarsky v. General
Motors Corp., 706 F.2d 111, 125 (3d Cir. 1983),
cert. denied 464 U.S. 937 (1983).
Rule of Civil Procedure 20, titled Permissive Joinder of
Parties, in pertinent part, reads:
(a) Persons Who May Join and Be Joined. * * * * * * * * *
(2) Defendants. Persons . . . may be joined in one action as
(A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly,
severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising
out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series ...