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El-Shaddai v. Woodford

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SACRAMENTO DIVISION


January 13, 2009

ADONAI EL-SHADDAI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEANNE WOODFORD, DIRECTOR, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, AND D.L. RUNNELS, WARDEN, HIGH DESERT STATE PRISON, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward F. Shea United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND DENYING WITH LEAVE TO RENEW MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Before the Court is pro se state prisoner Plaintiff Adonai ElShaddai's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Ct. Rec. 12) and Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Ct. Rec. 8). After reviewing the submitted material and relevant authority, the Court is fully informed and grants and denies Plaintiff's motions. The reasons for the Court's Order are set forth below.

A. Motion to Amend

Plaintiff seeks to amend his complaint because it incorrectly states the prison policies that his claim is based upon. (Ct. Rec. 12.) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) states, in pertinent part:

(1) Amending As a Matter of Course. A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course . . . before being served with a responsive pleading . . . . . . . .

(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 with justice so requires.

FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a). While the decision to grant or deny a motion to amend is within the discretion of the district court, "Rule 15(a) declares that leave to amend 'shall be freely given when justice so requires'; this mandate is to be heeded." Forman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178 (1962) (citations omitted); see Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. Rose, 893 F.2d 1074, 1079 (9th Cir. 1990) (stating that leave to amend is generally allowed with "extraordinary liberality").

The Court's leave is required because Plaintiff previously amended his complaint once as a matter of course on December 22, 2008. (Ct. Rec. 11.) Based on Plaintiff's representations and the fact that Defendants have not been served, the Court finds good cause exists to grant Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.

The Court notes that Plaintiff took it upon himself to file a Second Amended Complaint. (Ct. Rec. 13.) Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint is deficient because it is unsigned. See FED. R. CIV. P. 11(a) (requiring every pleading to be signed by either the attorney of record or the party personally if the party is unrepresented). Accordingly, Plaintiff shall file a signed Second Amended Complaint no later than sixty (60) days from the date of this Order. The Court cautions Plaintiff that failure to comply with this Order may result in dismissal of this action.

2. Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Plaintiff seeks an injunction directing Defendants to rescind all policies prohibiting first-class mail delivery when the mail does not match the inmate's name. (Ct. Rec. 8 at 4.) After review, the Court finds that Plaintiff's motion is premature. Once Plaintiff submits a signed Second Amended Complaint, the Court will conduct the required merit screening in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(A). If the Court finds Plaintiff's complaint states plausible claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, then it will direct the complaint to be served on Defendants. Plaintiff may then renew his motion once Defendants are formally represented by counsel.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 1. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Ct. Rec. 12) is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall file a signed Second Amended Complaint, which shall operate as a complete substitute for previously submitted complaints, no later than sixty (60) days from the date of this Order.

2. Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Ct. Rec. 8) is DENIED with leave to renew.

IT IS SO ORDERED. The District Court Executive is directed to enter this Order and provide a copy to Plaintiff.

20090113

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