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Fernandez v. California Department of Correction & Rehabilitation

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 9, 2014

BRANDON ALEXANDER FERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION & REHABILITATION, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

KENDALL J. NEWMAN, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the court is plaintiff's motion to amend the second amended complaint. ECF No. 60. Defendant opposed the motion to amend on March 19, 2014 (ECF No. 61), and plaintiff filed a reply on March 27, 2014 (ECF No. 62). After considering the arguments as set forth in the briefing submitted and for the reasons discussed below, the court recommends that plaintiff's motion to amend be denied.[1]

I. Background

On April 27, 2011, plaintiff filed his original complaint against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), Matthew Cate, former Director of the CDCR, and R.E. Barnes, former Warden of California Correctional Center in Susanville, California ("CCC-Susanville"). ECF No. 1. On June 27, 2011, the court dismissed plaintiff's complaint as insufficient to state an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his medical needs. ECF No. 5. Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint. Id.

On July 13, 2011, plaintiff filed his first amended complaint naming Matthew Cate, R.E. Barnes and Andrew Pomazal, CCC-Suanville's Chief Medical Officer, as defendants. ECF No. 8. On January 3, 2012, the court found service appropriate for all three defendants. ECF No. 9.

On April 9, 2012, defendants Cate, Barnes and Pomazal filed a motion to dismiss. ECF No. 16. On January 24, 2013, the court entered findings and recommendations recommending dismissing plaintiff's first amended complaint against defendants Barnes and Cate. ECF No. 26 at 4-5. The court also recommended dismissal of plaintiff's request for monetary damages against any of the named defendants.[2] Id. at 5. On March 28, 2013, the district judge adopted the findings and recommendations in full, except that plaintiff was granted final leave to amend his allegations against defendants Barnes and Cate. ECF No. 33.

On April 17, 2013, plaintiff, through counsel, filed his second amended complaint. ECF No. 34. Defendants answered the second amended complaint on May 1, 2013 (ECF No. 35), and the court issued a discovery and scheduling order on May 6, 2013 (ECF No. 36).[3] On May 29, 2013, defendants Barnes and Cate moved the court to dismiss plaintiff's second amended complaint for failure to state a cognizable claim against them. ECF No. 37. Following a hearing, the court entered findings and recommendations recommending that the motion to dismiss be granted. ECF No. 45. On September 3, 2013, the findings and recommendations were adopted by the district judge assigned to this action. ECF No. 48. As a result, plaintiff's action proceeded solely against defendant Pomazal.

On December 9, 2013, non-party CDCR filed a motion to quash subpoenas issued by plaintiff which sought the production of, inter alia, 602 inmate appeals forms related to the processing of medical forms. ECF No. 52. Plaintiff argued that the forms were relevant to his second amended complaint against defendant Pomazal because his "legal theory rests on establishing that the procedures instigated to process 7362 forms were so flawed that it created a significant delay in his receiving medical care." Opposition, ECF No. 56, at 4. On February 27, 2014, the court issued an order granting the motion to quash. In that regard, the court found that the documents plaintiff sought were not relevant to the subject matter of this action. The court reasoned, in part, as follows:

Contrary to plaintiff's position, the court finds that the second amended complaint does not allege that defendant Pomazal "failed to administer an efficient medical system" or established "procedures instigated to process 7362 forms." Opposition at 3, 4. The second amended complaint alleges that defendant Barnes, "by not overseeing a competent medical staff or implementing a medical scheduling system that guaranteed inmates receive medical care in a timely manner, failed to provide a facility that could provide adequate medical care to its inmates." Second Amended Complaint ¶ 35. However, the claims against defendant Barnes were dismissed by the court. ECF Nos. 45, 48. With regard to defendant Pomazal, plaintiff merely claims that he is responsible for the authorization and scheduling of inmate heath care request forms "[u]nder the program implemented by Defendant Barnes." [Second Amended Complaint] ¶¶ 36-37. Here, plaintiff's claims against defendant Pomazal rest on whether defendant Pomazal was indifferent to his serious medical needs and whether he failed to timely authorize plaintiff's medical examination.

Id. at 6.

On March 6, 2014, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend the second amended complaint "to address the concerns as stated in the order quashing the subpoenas" and "clarify the factual basis for his supervisory liability claim against" defendant Pomazal. ECF No. 60. On March 19, 2014, defendant opposed the motion (ECF No. 61), and on March 27, 2014, plaintiff replied thereto (ECF No. 62).

II. Legal Standard for Motion to Amend

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a party may amend his or her pleading "once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). "It is the law of this circuit that a plaintiff waives all claims alleged in a dismissed complaint which are not realleged in an amended complaint." Forsyth v. Humana, Inc. , 114 F.3d 1467 (9th Cir. 1997). Thus, an amended or supplemental complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay , 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once an amended pleading is filed, the original pleading no longer serves any function in the case. Id .; see also E.D. Local Rule 220.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) is to be applied liberally in favor of amendments and, in general, leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. See Janicki Logging Co. v. Mateer , 42 F.3d 561, 566 (9th Cir. 1994) (not an abuse of discretion to deny amendment where desired amendment would cause undue delay and prejudice opposing parties). However, because a pretrial scheduling order has been filed in this action, resolution of this motion to amend is governed by Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc. , 975 F.2d 604, 607-08 (9th Cir. 1992). "Once the district court filed a pretrial scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16... that rule's standards controlled." Id . Rule 16(b) provides that "[a] schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent." Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4).

Here, on May 6, 2013, the court issued its first scheduling order. ECF No. 36 (ordering that all pretrial motions shall be filed on or before November 15, 2013). Therefore, the court considers the present motion under the Rule 16 standard for amendment and secondarily under the standard of Rule ...


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