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PRATT v. ROWLAND

June 28, 1991

ELMER PRATT, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES ROWLAND, Director of Corrections, California Department of Corrections; DANIEL B. VASQUEZ, Warden of San Quentin Prison; ROBERT BORG, Warden of Folsom Prison; ROBERT PATTERSON, Executive Officer of the State of California Board of Prison Terms; DAVID BROWN, Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms; RUDOLPH CASTRO, Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms; EDMUND TONG, Commissioner of the Board of Prison Terms; CAPTAIN SPANGLER, Correctional Officer at San Quentin Prison; TERRY YEARWOOD, Chief of Classification Services, California Department of Corrections; and UNKNOWN NAMED AGENTS OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEIGEL

 STANLEY A. WEIGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 On September 29, 1989, this Court issued a preliminary injunction, ordering that plaintiff be returned to San Quentin on the grounds that the transfer appeared to have been retaliatory and that plaintiff would face physical danger if he remained at Folsom. On October 2, 1989, shortly after plaintiff's return to San Quentin, defendants decided to transfer him to Tehachapi Prison. The Court denied plaintiff's motion to amend the preliminary injunction to enjoin this second transfer, finding that plaintiff's confinement at Tehachapi did not present the same unique threat to his safety as had his confinement at Folsom.

 The Court dismissed portions of the original complaint in an Order dated February 21, 1990. The Court's Order left only defendants Daniel B. Vasquez, Robert Borg, and Terry Yearwood as defendants to the original action.

 Plaintiff now seeks to file a supplemental complaint which would include the original allegations with a few minor modifications and add allegations continuing where the original complaint left off -- that is, after his transfer to Tehachapi. Plaintiff has submitted a proposed First Amended Complaint for the Court's consideration. In it, he names eight defendants in addition to the three remaining from the original action. *fn1" The supplemental complaint alleges that Pratt's purported retaliatory mistreatment by defendants has continued and intensified since his transfer to Tehachapi.

 The proposed complaint alleges numerous examples of this mistreatment. For example, Pratt declares that he has been subject to numerous, false disciplinary citations and contends that these false charges are designed to increase his prison-point calculation and justify his continued classification as a "maximum security" prisoner. On April 1, 1991, Pratt was accused of drug trafficking and drug possession on the word of a confidential informant and was subsequently placed in administrative segregation. Tehachapi prison officials later found plaintiff guilty of those charges in a prison disciplinary hearing. Pratt contends that the filing of the charges against him and the subsequent disciplinary proceedings are further examples of unlawful retaliation by prison officials for his exercise of his First Amendment rights. These new, allegedly false charges against Pratt have come at a time when Pratt was in the midst of preparing a new petition for habeas corpus in state court and when he is due his first parole hearing in two years. Pratt also alleges that the disciplinary proceedings violated his due process rights, as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. *fn2"

 The three defendants remaining in the original action, Vasquez, Borg, and Yearwood, oppose the filing of this supplemental complaint. In the event, however, that the Court grants plaintiff leave to amend, they move (1) to dismiss the action for improper venue; (2) to transfer the action because venue would be more convenient in the Eastern District; and (3) to dismiss some causes of action for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff requests that the Court set dates for a hearing on his motion for preliminary injunction and for defendants' response to that motion.

 I. Plaintiff's Motion to File a Supplemental Complaint

 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(d), plaintiff requests leave of the Court to file his supplemental complaint. *fn3" The request is well-taken. Rule 15(d) is intended to give district courts broad discretion in allowing supplemental pleadings. As a tool of judicial economy and convenience, application of the rule is favored. Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 473 (9th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 813, 107 L. Ed. 2d 28, 110 S. Ct. 61 (1989). In fact, supplemental pleadings are deemed so useful in facilitating efficient judicial administration that the Ninth Circuit has recommended that they be allowed "as a matter of course." Id. (quoting New Amsterdam Casualty Co. v. Waller, 323 F.2d 20, 28-29 (4th Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 376 U.S. 963, 11 L. Ed. 2d 981, 84 S. Ct. 1124 (1964)).

 Defendants argue that the Court should disallow the supplemental complaint because it adds entirely new claims and parties relating to the events which took place at Tehachapi. This is of no importance. Allegations contained in supplemental pleadings need not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence as the allegations contained in the original complaint. Keith, 858 F.2d at 474. They need bear only "some relationship" to the subject of the original action. Id. This minimal test is met here. The proposed First Amended Complaint merely seeks to demonstrate that prison officials have continued their long history of purported retaliatory actions against Pratt. The proposed complaint alleges a continuing pattern and practice of politically-motivated mistreatment of plaintiff, including false charges in his file, transfers, and discipline -- all calculated to punish plaintiff for exercising his First Amendment activities, diminish his parole opportunities, and interfere with his right of access to the courts.

 Moreover, Rule 15(d) also allows new parties to be added to the complaint. Id. at 474. Defendants contend that the new defendants would be prejudiced by their addition since they are unfamiliar with the original action. Their lack of familiarity with the action is immaterial. There is no requirement that new parties added in supplemental complaint be aware of the existence of the original complaint. The result would be no different if plaintiff were to file an entirely new action naming these defendants. Yet the delay caused by requiring plaintiff to file a new action would severely prejudice him, considering his continued segregated confinement while he awaits a hearing on his motion for preliminary injunction. Hence the Court grants plaintiff leave to file the proposed First Amended Complaint.

 II. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss/Transfer for Improper Venue

 In the event the Court permits the filing of the First Amended Complaint, defendants Vasquez, Borg, and Yearwood move to dismiss the amended complaint for improper venue. The Court need not decide whether venue is proper because these three defendants have waived their right to object to venue and lack standing to raise the issue ...


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