United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER RE: MOTION TO AMEND (DOC. NO. 70)
C. HALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
defendants have moved to amend their answer to add collateral
estoppel as an affirmative defense. See Motion to
Amend Answer (“MTA”) (Doc. No. 70); Corrected
Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Amend (“Mem”) (Doc. No.
71-1). The plaintiff, Vance Solman (“Solman”)
opposes the amendment, arguing that the proposed amendment is
futile and, alternatively, that Solman will be unfairly
prejudiced by the defendants' inexcusable delay.
See Pls.' Mem. in Opp. to Defs.' Mot. to
Amend Answer (“Opposition”) (Doc. No. 75). For
the following reason, the court finds neither of these
arguments persuasive. Therefore, the defendants' Motion
to Amend is GRANTED.
to amend are to be freely granted “when justice so
requires.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
“In the absence of any apparent or declared reason-such
as 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 the allowance of the amendment,
futility of the amendment, etc.-the leave should, as the
rules require, be ‘freely given.'” Foman
v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). “The rule in
the Second Circuit has been to allow a party to amend its
pleadings in the absence of prejudice or bad faith.”
Independence Ins. Serv. Corp. v. Hartford Fin. Services
Grp., Inc., 04cv1512(JCH), 2005 WL 1038991, at *4 (D.
Conn. May 3, 2005). Courts evaluating what constitutes
prejudice generally consider whether the proposed amendment
would “(i) require the opponent to expend significant
additional resources to conduct discovery and prepare for
trial; (ii) significantly delay the resolution of the
dispute; or (iii) prevent the plaintiff from bringing a
timely action in another jurisdiction.” Monahan v.
New York City Dept. of Corrections, 214 F.3d 275, 284
(2d Cir. 2000).
first argues that allowing the defendants to amend the answer
to include the defense of collateral estoppel would be futile
because it does not apply in an informal prison disciplinary
proceeding. See Opp. at 7-13. Solman argues that
collateral estoppel cannot apply to Solman's guilty plea
before the disciplinary body because a prison disciplinary
hearing does not have adequate procedural protections.
See Mem. at 10. Citing the requirements of
collateral estoppel, Solman argues that the defendants could
not demonstrate that the disciplinary hearing had sufficient
procedural protection to warrant giving its resolution
preclusive effect. See id. at 9-10 (citing Colon
v. Couglin, 58 F.3d 865, 869 (2d Cir. 1995)). However,
the case that Solman cites does not involve a guilty plea at
the disciplinary hearing. See Colon, 58 F.3d at 868
(describing how the inmate maintained his innocence in his
hearing). The defendants cite multiple cases wherein courts
in this circuit have prevented inmates from challenging
guilty pleas in disciplinary hearings. See
Mem. at 5 (citing Coleman v. Sutton, 530 F.Supp.2d
451, 453 (W.D.N.Y.. 2008); Sosa v. Cleaver, No.
3:03-cv-1707(DJS), 2005 WL 1205119, at *9 (D. Conn. May 18,
2005). These cases indicate that the defendants proposed
amendment would not necessarily be futile, as district courts
in this circuit have prevented individuals who pled guilty in
prison disciplinary proceedings from challenging those pleas.
See Sosa, 2005 WL 1205119 at *9.
also fails to show that the defendants' proposed
amendment would cause him any prejudice. Solman argues that
if this defense is allowed, he will need to depose new
witnesses, seek new interrogatories, and propound new
interrogatories. See Mem. at 15. The court is not
persuaded that allowing the defendants to plead the defense
of collateral estoppel will necessitate further discovery.
Additionally, the defendants made similar arguments in their
withdrawn Motion for Summary Judgment, which put Solman on
notice of the defendants' theory such that he was able to
pursue discovery accordingly. See Opp. at 4
(referencing that the defendant's Reply in Support of the
Motion for Summary Judgment explained that because Solman
pled guilty, he had admitted to his guilt and cannot
challenge its propriety now). However, to the extent the
plaintiff requires limited additional discovery, he may move
for it without substantially affecting the case schedule.
the proposed amendment is not clearly futile, nor does it
prejudice the plaintiff, justice is best served by allowing
the amendment. Therefore, the defendants' Motion to Amend
foregoing reasons, the defendants' Motion to Amend is
GRANTED. The defendants are directed to file
their Amended Answer on the docket.
 The court terminated the original
Motion to Amend as moot in light of granting the motion to
file a corrected memorandum of law, however the defendants
never refiled a corrected version of the Motion. See
Order (Doc. No. 77). The court will construe the memorandum
filed at docket ...