Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fargione v. Sweeney

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 23, 2018

JENNIFER L. FARGIONE and JUDY L. PAVELKO, In their own right and as Co-Administrators for the Estate of CAROL L. WILLIAMS, Deceased, Plaintiffs,
EDWARD SWEENEY, et al, Defendants.


          Henry S. Perkin, M.J.

         Before the Court is the Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint which was filed on January 19, 2018. Defendant PrimeCare Medical, Inc. filed a brief in opposition to the motion on January 29, 2018, and on February 5, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a Reply Brief. Plaintiffs' Reply Brief was filed on February 9, 2018 with leave of Court. Having reviewed and considered the contentions of the parties, the Court is prepared to rule on this matter.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         This § 1983 action arises out of the death of Carol L. Williams ("Williams") during her incarceration at the Lehigh County Prison ("LCP"). Plaintiffs, Jennifer Fargione and Judy Pavelo ("Plaintiffs"), commenced this action by filing a Complaint (Doc. 1) on November 14, 2016.[1]Generally, Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the alleged serious medical needs of Williams, leading to her death on November 12, 2014. The Complaint named several John/Jane Doe Defendants and there are allegations against said fictitious Defendants throughout the Complaint.

         On December 20, 2017, the parties engaged in a Rule 16 Conference. During the conference, it was stipulated that Plaintiffs had until January 20, 2018, to file any motion seeking to amend the Complaint to substitute the names of any John/Jane Doe Defendants. It was not, however, stipulated by Defendants that such motion would be unopposed or proper. On January 19, 2018, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion seeking to substitute previously unnamed individuals for the John/Jane Doe Defendants. (Doc. 35.) Specifically, Plaintiffs seek to substitute: (1) Jen Mroz, PA-C, Clinical Director for John/Jane Doe Medical Director; (2) Nicole Heffner, Health Services Administrator for John/Jane Health Services Administrator; (3) Frances Brigidi, RN, for John/Jane Doe Medical Staff #1; and (4) Lt. Dreisbach for the Defendant identified as John/Jane Doe Supervisor #1.[2] Defendant, PrimeCare Medical, Inc. ("PrimeCare"), filed a Brief in Opposition, opposing the substitution of Mroz, Heffner and Brigidi on the basis that Plaintiffs' Motion is untimely.


         Rule 15(a)(2) provides that "[t]he court should freely give leave [for a party to amend its pleading] when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The trial court has discretion to determine whether a request for leave to file an amended pleading should be granted or denied. See Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330, 91 S.Ct. 795, 28 L.Ed.2d 77 (1971); see also Cureton v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 252 F.3d 267, 272 (3d Cir. 2001). As a general matter, the trial court should grant leave to amend "unless equitable considerations render it otherwise unjust." Arthur v. Maersk, Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 204 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962)). Denial of a motion to amend must be grounded in substantial or undue prejudice, bad faith or dilatory motives, truly undue or unexplained delay, repeated failure to cure deficiency by amendments previously allowed or futility of amendment. Heyl & Patterson Int'l, Inc. v. F.D. Rich Housing of V.I, Inc., 663 F.2d 419, 425 (3d Cir. 1981) (citing Foman, 371 U.S. at 182).

         Of the above-listed considerations, "prejudice to the non-moving party is the touchstone for denial of an amendment." Arthur, 434 F.3d at 204 (quoting Cornell & Co. v. Occupational Safety & Health Review Comm'n, 573 F.2d 820, 823 (3d Cir. 1978)). The prejudice inquiry "focus[es] on the hardship to the [non-moving party] if the amendment were permitted." Cureton, 252 F.3d at 273 (citing Adams v. Gould, Inc., 739 F.2d 858, 868 (3d Cir. 1984)). In determining whether prejudice exists, a court can consider whether the proposed amendment "would result in additional discovery, cost, and preparation to defend against new facts or theories." Cureton, 252 F.3d at 273. Additionally,

[c]ourts have found undue prejudice to the non-moving party and denied leave to amend where the amendment would have asserted new claims, where new discovery would have been necessary, where the motion for leave was filed months after the factual basis of the amendment was discovered by the moving party, and where the motion for leave was brought after summary judgment motions were filed.

Cumming v. City of Philadelphia, No. 03-0034, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9030, *11 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 26, 2004). An amendment to a pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading when:

(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out... in the original pleading; or
(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:
(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and (ii) knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake concerning the proper party's identity.

F.R.C.P. 15(c)(1). The time period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint applicable to the instant matter is 90 days. See F.R.C.P. 4(m). The notice element required by subsection (C) may be imputed. "[N]otice may be deemed to have occurred when a party who has some reason to expect his potential involvement as a defendant learns of the commencement of litigation though some informal means." Singletary v. Pa. Dept. of Corrections, 266 F.3d 186, 195 (3rd Cir. 2001). The two principal tests for ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.