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Stockton v. Wetzel

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 17, 2018

RONALD STOCKTON, Plaintiff
v.
JOHN WETZEL, ET AL., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          RICHARD P. CONABOY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. For the reasons expressed below, Plaintiff s motion will be denied.

         II. Standard of Review

         The filing of an amended complaint is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 (a):

(1) Amending as a Matter of Course. A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within:
(A) 21 days after serving it, or
(B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.
(2) Other Amendments. In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). See also Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962)) (providing that an amendment must be permitted in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, unfair prejudice, or futility of the amendment). The grant or denial of leave to amend is committed to the "sound discretion of the district court." Cureton v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 252 F.3d 267, 272 (3d Cir. 2001).

         III. Relevant Procedural and Factual Background

         On April 4, 2016, Ronald Stockton filed this civil rights action against various Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) employees relative to a use-of-force incident that occurred on September 30, 2013. (Doc. 1, Compl.) After the Court directed service of the Complaint, but before the named Defendants waived service, Stockton filed a "supplemental complaint" naming additional defendants and raising new claims. (Doc. 15, Supp. Compl.) The Court then instructed Stockton to file an all-inclusive amended complaint. (Doc. 25). On August 15, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, complete with over twenty-five pages of exhibits. (Doc. 33, Am. Compl.)

         On July 18, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in part the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' (DOC) motion to dismiss Stockton's Amended Complaint. (Doc. 48). The surviving claims relate to events that transpired at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield (SCI-Smithfield) Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) on December 20, 2013. (Id.) Stockton alleges the Defendants (Lt. Bard, Sgt. Miller, CO Willinksy, CO Harpster, CO Wilson, CO Barndt and CO Parks) improperly opened his RHU cell door for the explicit purpose of assaulting him. Defendants' claim when CO Parks accidently opened Stockton's cell door, Stockton exited his cell and then refused repeated direct orders to return to his cell. Staff physically restrained Stockton and placed him in his cell. Stockton claims staff used excessive force to subdue him. He alleges Nurse Houck failed to provide him with any medical care for injuries. (Id.)

         After Defendants filed an Answer to the remaining claims, the Court issued a scheduling order; the discovery period ended on February 15, 2018, with dispositive motions filed thirty days later. (Doc. 50). While the parties sought an enlargement of the dispositive motions deadline, neither party sought to enlarge the discovery period. See Doc. 63 and 72. In June 2018, the Court stayed the ...


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