United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
A. SITARSKI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
the Caption and Complaint (ECF No. 46) and Defendants'
Response in Opposition thereto (ECF No. 47). For the following
reasons, Plaintiff's Motion will be DENIED.
procedural posture of this case is well-known to the parties,
so the Court provides only a brief recitation of the
background pertinent to the instant motion.
18, 2016, Dante Jackson (“Plaintiff”) initiated
the instant action against the City of Philadelphia, Warden
Karen Bryant, Officer Tanisha Watkins, and Corizon, Inc. with
the filing a pro se Complaint. (Compl., ECF No.
1-1). He raised claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging,
inter alia, that while he was incarcerated at the
Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center
(“PICC”), the City's failure to train and
supervise “its wardens” caused Plaintiff to be
“left in a foreseeable dangerous situation, ” and
that after he suffered injuries at the hands of another
inmate, Corizon, Inc.'s “negligent and
careless” behavior caused him to sustain
“permanent complication of the mobility with left
hand.” (Compl. ¶¶ 16-17, ECF No. 1-1).
October 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a pro se motion to
amend his complaint. (Mot. to Am. Compl., ECF No. 13). He
sought, inter alia, to add Sergeant William Hubert,
Officer Hakeem Wilson, Officer Mooney, Officer Rosa, Officer
Frazier, Officer D. Johnson, and Officer O'Neil as
defendants, and to assert additional facts. (Id.).
The District Court granted this request, and ordered that
Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint be docketed as a
Second Amended Complaint. (Order, ECF No. 15). On December 8,
2016, the Second Amended Complaint was docketed, and
summonses were issued against each defendant named therein.
(Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 16). The summons against Officer
O'Neil was returned unexecuted on May 11, 2017, because
“the Law Dep[artment] has no record of employee -
cannot accept.” (ECF No. 23).
10, 2017, Defendants City of Philadelphia, Warden Byrant, and
Officers Frazier, Wilson, and Watkins filed a Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. (ECF No. 20). On June
9, 2017, Corizon, Inc. filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure
to State a Claim. (Mot. of Def. Corizon Inc. to Dismiss
Pl.'s Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 26).
26, 2017, Plaintiff filed a counseled Third Amended
Complaint, without leave of Court. (Third Am. Compl., ECF No.
27; see Order 1, ECF No. 35). The following
defendants were named therein: Corizon Health Inc.;
Lieutenant Murray; Sergeant William Hober, who was
“previously identified as ‘Defendant Sergeant
William Hubert'”; Officer Tanisha Watkins; Officer
Hakeem Wilson; Officer Stephen Frazier; Officer Thomas
O'Neal; Officer D. Johnson; Officer Mooney; Officer Eddie
Rosa; Defendant(s) John/Jane Joes 1-10. (Third Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 4-14, ECF No. 27). On July 10, 2017,
Defendants' various Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint and Third Amended Complaint -
docketed at ECF Nos. 20, 26, and 27 - were dismissed as moot.
(Order, ECF No. 29). On August 11, 2017, the District Court
granted Petitioner leave to file the Third Amended Complaint,
and ordered the Clerk to amend the caption to reflect the
changes to the named defendants. (Order, ECF No. 35).
Defendants have filed various motions to dismiss
Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, which remain
pending. (See Defs.' Mem. of Law 5,
ECF No. 47).
January 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Leave
to Amend the Caption and Complaint (ECF No. 46), seeking to
name Officer Michael O'Neill Jr. as a defendant in place
of the incorrectly-named Officer Thomas O'Neal, and to
file a Fourth Amended Complaint. Plaintiff also asks for an
additional thirty (30) days to serve Defendant O'Neill.
Defendants Murray, Johnson, Rosa, Wilson, Mooney, Frazier,
Watkins, O'Neal, and Hober (hereinafter “Defendant
Officers” or “named Defendants”) filed a
Response, opposing Plaintiff's Motion. (Defs.' Resp.
in Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Am. Caption and Compl., ECF No.
47 [hereinafter “Resp. in Opp.”]).
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) states that, after an answer
has been filed, “a party may amend its pleading only
with . . . the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a).
“The court should freely give leave when justice so
requires, ” and the Third Circuit has held that
“motions to amend pleadings should be liberally
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); Long v.
Wilson, 393 F.3d 390, 400 (3d Cir. 2004). However, leave
to amend under Rule 15 may be denied in cases of: (1) undue
delay; (2) bad faith or dilatory motive; (3) undue prejudice;
or (4) futility of amendment. Cureton v. Nat'l
Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 252 F.3d 267, 273 (3d
Cir. 2001) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
(1962)). Given the liberal standard of Rule 15(a), the party
opposing amendment bears the burden of showing undue delay,
bad faith, prejudice, or futility. E.E.O.C. v. Hussey
Copper Ltd., No. 08-809, 2009 WL 918298, at *1 (W.D. Pa.
Apr. 2, 2009); Chancellor v. Pottsgrove Sch. Dist.,
501 F.Supp.2d 695, 700 (E.D. Pa. 2007). The decision to grant
or deny a motion for leave to amend is within the sound
discretion of the district court. Cureton, 252 F.3d
seeks leave to amend the Complaint “to amend the
caption and complaint to replace the misnamed Officer
O'Neal with the correct Officer O'Neill.”
(Pl.'s Mem. of Law 8, ECF No. 46). The named Defendants
oppose Plaintiff's Motion, arguing, inter alia,
that amendment would be futile because “the statute of
limitations has run and Plaintiff is unable to demonstrate
the requirements of relation back in Fed.R.Civ.P. 15.”
(Defs.' Mem. of Law 3-4, ECF No. 47). For the reasons
explained in more detail below, the Court agrees with
Defendant, and denies Plaintiff's Motion.
brought under § 1983 are subject to the state's
statute of limitations for personal injury actions, which in
Pennsylvania, is two years. Garvin v. City of
Philadelphia, 354 F.3d 215, 220 (3d Cir. 2003);
Harry v. City of Philadelphia, No. 03-661, 2004 WL
1387319, at *10 (E.D. Pa. June 18, 2004) (citing Sameric
Corp. of Delaware, Inc. v. City of Philadelphia, 142
F.3d 582, 599-600 (3d Cir. 1998); 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §
5524). “[T]he limitations period begins to run from the
time when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the
injury which is ...