United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
LAWRENCE R. STIEFEL, Plaintiff,
CPT. RYCHORWICZ, C/O BARTLETTE, and C/O SCULLIO Defendants.
LAWRENCE R. STIEFEL KD 3617 SCI Coal Township All counsel of
record (via ECF electronic notification)
CYNTHIA REED EDDY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is the “Motion to Amend Amended
Complaint” filed by Plaintiff, Lawrence R. Stiefel (ECF
No. 54), to which Defendants have responded in opposition
(ECF No. 56). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be
initiated this action on June 29, 2016, by the removal of the
complaint to this Court from the Court of Common Pleas of
Butler County, Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 1). On July 7, 2016,
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on July 7, 2016 (ECF No.
3). In response, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. (ECF
No. 23). On August 30, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to
dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 25). Plaintiff filed a
timely brief in opposition. (ECF No. 28).
January 25, 2017, the case was administratively closed due to
Plaintiff being released from Butler County Prison and
failing to provide the Court with his change of address. The
case remained administratively closed until July 10, 2017,
when Plaintiff notified the Court of his new address and
filed a supplement to his brief in opposition to the motion
to dismiss. (ECF Nos. 33 and 34).
January 22, 2018, the Court issued a Report and
Recommendation (ECF No. 38) recommending that Defendants'
motion to dismiss be granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation
(ECF Nos. 39, 40 and 44) and the Defendant filed a response
to those objections on February 22, 2018. (ECF No. 45). On
March 1, 2018, Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti adopted the
report and recommendation as the Opinion of the Court. (ECF
No. 46). Specifically, the motion was granted with respect to
Plaintiff's claim that Butler County Jail's open cell
door policy violated the Fourth Amendment and denied with
respect to Plaintiff's retaliation claims brought against
the individual defendants. Accordingly, the only claims
remaining are allegations of retaliation against the
March 5, 2018, Plaintiff sought leave to file an Amended
Complaint. (ECF No. 48). Because Plaintiff failed to attach a
proposed Amended Complaint, the Court denied the motion
without prejudice, and allowed Plaintiff the opportunity to
refile his motion by March 21, 2017, with the proposed
amended complaint attached.
March 16, 2018, the individual defendants filed their Answer
(ECF No. 51). Because a renewed motion to amend had not been
received by March 21, 2017, the Court on March 26, 2018,
entered a Case Management Order setting deadlines for
discovery and dispositive motions. (ECF No. 53).
following day, on March 27, 2018, the Court received the
pending motion to amend, which attached the proposed amended
complaint as ordered. (ECF No. 54).
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides that a court should
“freely” give leave to amend a pleading
“when justice so requires.” In determining
whether leave to amend might reasonably be denied, courts are
guided by the Foman factors, named for the Supreme
Court's decision in Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S.
178, 182 (1962): undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on
the part of the movant; repeated failure to cure deficiencies
by amendments previously allowed; prejudice to the opposing
party; and futility. The Foman factors are not
exhaustive, allowing a court to base its decision, within
reason, on consideration of additional equities, such as
judicial economy / burden on the court and the prejudice
denying leave to amend would cause to the plaintiff.
Mullin v. Balicki, 875 F.3d 140, 149-50 (3d Cir.
2017). All factors are not created equal, however, as
“prejudice to the non-moving party is the touchstone
for the denial of an amendment.” Arthur v. Maersk,
Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 204 (3d Cir. 2006). With these
principles in mind, the Court will examine the proposed
Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 54-1).
Count I of the proposed Amended Complaint, Plaintiff again
challenges the Butler County Jail policy alleging that the
“open door” policy is a violation of the Fourth
Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Court
previously ruled that such allegation fails to state a claim.
Therefore, Count I of the proposed Amended Complaint is
futile and leave to amend is denied.
Count II of the proposed Amended Complaint, Plaintiff seeks
“injunctive relief barring Plaintiffs confinement in
only Butler County Prison of Pennsylvania. . . .” Since
filing this lawsuit, Plaintiff has been transferred to state
custody and as such is no longer in the Butler County Prison.
In the context of prisoner litigation, it is well established
that a prisoner- plaintiff's transfer to another
institution moots a request for injunctive relief. As it is
clear from the record that Plaintiff was transferred out of
Butler County Jail, the request for injunctive relief is
Count III of the proposed Amended Complaint, Plaintiff
repeats his retaliation claims against the individual
officers. The proposed amendment does not in any way change
the factual allegations of retaliation to necessitate an
these reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiff will not be
prejudiced if his motion to amend is denied. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend his Amended
Complaint is DENIED. The deadlines set forth
in the Case Management ...