United States District Court, D. Connecticut
DAVID A. ABRAMS, No. 241224, a/k/a ABRAHAMS, Plaintiff,
CORRECTIONS OFFICER WATERS AND CAPT. NUNEZ, sued in their individual capacities; CORRECTIONS OFFICER PHILLIPS; DISCIPLINARY REPORT INVESTIGATOR KELLY; CAPT. JOHN WATSON; WARDEN SCOTT ERFE; MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR JOHN DOE; and MAILROOM HANDLER CORRECTIONS OFFICER RAMIREZ, sued in their individual and official capacity, Defendants.
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S SECOND MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT [DOC. 51]
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff, David A. Abrams, an inmate currently
incarcerated at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in
Suffield, Connecticut, has brought this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against various prison
officials employed at Cheshire Correctional Institution
("Cheshire C.I."), where he was previously housed.
Following the Court's “Initial Review Order”
(entered 2/2/2018) and the Court's “Ruling”
granting Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an Amended
Complaint (entered 6/8/2018), the defendants remaining in the
action include: Corrections Officer Phillips, Captain Nunez,
and Captain John Watson (herein
“Defendants”). The claims which the Court ruled may
proceed as plausible claims are: (1) the Eighth Amendment
excessive force claim against Phillips, (2) the Eighth
Amendment failure to protect claim against Nunez, (3) the
Eighth Amendment hazardous conditions of confinement claim
against Watson, and (4) the state law claims for assault,
battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress
Plaintiff's Second Request to Amend
pending before the Court is Plaintiff's second motion to
amend his complaint, Doc. 51. Through this motion, Plaintiff
seeks to add new claims - for cruel and unusual punishment
and deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs -
and two new defendants, Corrections Officers Rivera and
Johnson. Plaintiff alleges these proposed claims arose after
corrections officers intervened to end an altercation between
Plaintiff and his cell mate, John Brown, whom Plaintiff
alleges attacked him on August 4, 2017. Specifically,
Plaintiff requests to add: (1) deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs by Officers Rivera and Johnson, who
when waiting with Plaintiff in the examination room at UCONN
Medical Center in August 2017 failed to do more than provide
Plaintiff with “cold[, ] damp paper towels for him to
apply” to portions of his body that he claims were
burning from mace; and (2) failure to allow Plaintiff to
shower until nine hours passed “after being mased
[sic].” Doc. 51, at 4 (¶¶ 119-23).
Standard to Amend Complaint
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, a plaintiff may amend
his complaint once as a matter of course within twenty-one
days after service of the complaint; or within twenty-one
days after service of a responsive pleading or twenty-one
days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f),
whichever is earlier. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
15(a)(1)(A) and (B). In all other cases, the plaintiff may
amend his complaint only with the opposing party's
written consent or the Court's leave. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). In the present case, Abrams has filed his
second motion for leave to amend so may not amend
his complaint as a matter of right. Absent opposing
parties' written consent, which he does not have,
Plaintiff may only amend “with the court's leave,
” which shall be “freely give[n] . . . when
justice so requires.” Id.
to grant leave to amend ultimately lies within the
court's discretion, taking into account factors set forth
by the United States Supreme Court in Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Under Foman,
“[i]n 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 allowance of the amendment,
futility of the amendment, etc.-the leave sought [to amend]
should, as the rules require, be ‘freely given.'
” 371 U.S. at 182.
addition, with respect to pro se litigants, it is
well-established that “[p]ro se submissions are
reviewed with special solicitude, and ‘must be
construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.' ” Matheson v.
Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co., 706 Fed.Appx. 24, 26
(2d Cir. 2017) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of
Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006) (per curiam)).
A proposed amended complaint by a pro se litigant
will thus be construed liberally, assuming the truth of the
allegations and interpreting them to raise the strongest
arguments they may suggest. Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d
636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007).
Undue Prejudice and Undue Delay to Amend
careful review of Plaintiff's motion, the Court finds
that leave to amend in the present circumstances would result
in undue prejudice to the Defendants. In determining what
constitutes prejudice, the Court considers whether the
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.” Block v.
First Blood Assocs., 988 F.2d 344, 350 (2d Cir. 1993).
“The longer the period of unexplained delay, the less
will be required of the nonmoving party in terms of a showing
of prejudice.” Evans v. Syracuse City Sch.
Dist., 704 F.2d 44, 47 (2d Cir. 1983) (citation
case at bar, discovery should have proceeded to the point of
completion so that adding new claims and new defendants at
this point would inflict “undue prejudice” on the
current defendants, who would have to incur additional time
and expense to investigate the new claims. Also, the addition
of the new defendants and new claims would cause ...