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Smith v. Allison

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 7, 2015

LAWRENCE CHRISTOPHER SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
K. ALLISON, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO FILE A SUPPLEMENT TO THE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

I. Findings

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff Lawrence Christopher Smith ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which he filed on October 1, 2010. (Doc. 1.) Initially, Plaintiff proceeded in this action on the following claims as stated in the Third Amended Complaint: (1) retaliation in violation of the First Amendment claim against Defendants Lt. Goss, Lt. Gallagher, and Officer Langler; (2) deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eight Amendment against Defendants PA Byers and Lt. Gallagher; and (3) violation of his rights to due process against Defendant Lt. Goss based on events that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California ("SATF"). (Docs. 31, 42, 47.)

Summary judgment was granted in this case based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust both his deliberate indifference claim against Defendant Gallagher as well as his retaliation claims against Defendants Gallagher and Goss, resulting in dismissal of Defendant Gallagher from this action. (Docs. 69, 114, 126.) Further, a Findings and Recommendation has issued to grant Defendant Byers' motion to dismiss which is awaiting consideration by the District Judge. (Docs. 109, 132.) If the Findings and Recommendation is adopted, Plaintiff will be proceeding only on his claim against Defendant Lt. Goss for violation of his rights to due process. If the Findings and Recommendation is not adopted, he will also proceed on his claim under the Eighth Amendment against Defendant Byers.

Plaintiff now seeks to supplement the 3rdAC. (Doc. 121.) Defendants filed an opposition, to which Plaintiff replied. (Docs. 124, 127.) The motion is deemed submitted. L.R. 230(1).

II. Plaintiff's Motion[1]

Plaintiff moves to be allowed to supplement the 3rdAC to add allegations which occurred subsequent to those complained of in the 3rdAC under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2).[2]

Rule 15(a)(2) addresses amending pleadings and Rule 15(d) addresses supplemental pleading. Rule 15(a)(2) allows a party to amend its pleading "only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave" which should be freely granted when justice requires. Rule 15(d) provides that, on motion and "on just terms, " a party may be allowed "to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented...." Plaintiff seeks to supplement the 3rdAC to add claims against seventeen new defendants he encountered after his transfer from SATF and subsequent to all of the events alleged in the 3rdAC. (Doc. 121, 2:1-5.) A supplemental pleading is used to allege relevant facts which occurred after an operative pleading was filed. See Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467 (9th Cir. 1988). Thus, Plaintiff's motion is properly considered as a motion to supplement under Rule 15(d).

In his proposed supplement ("the Supplement"), Plaintiff provides a few background paragraphs regarding the basis of his claims in the 3rdAC (Doc. 122, 3-5) and then alleges a number of events that subsequently occurred at both Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") and California Correctional Institution ("CCI") in Tehachapi ( id., at 5-10). Plaintiff alleges that he was retaliated at these other facilities because Defendant Goss was promoted in rank to Captain and that the seventeen new persons he desires to add as defendants in this action all knew of and were motivated to retaliate against Plaintiff at Defendant Goss' behest. ( Id. )

A. Legal Standards

"On motion and reasonable notice, the court may, on just terms, permit a party to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d); Eid v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 621 F.3d 858, 874 (9th Cir.2010).

"[S]ome relationship must exist between the newly alleged matters and the subject of the original action, [but] they need not all arise out of the same transaction." Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 474 (9th Cir.1988). However, while leave to file a supplemental pleading is "favored, " Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 473 (9th Cir. 1988), "it cannot be used to introduce a separate, distinct and new cause of action, '" Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona v. Neely, 130 F.3d 400, 402 (9th Cir. 1997), quoting Berssenbrugge v. Luce Mfg. Co., 30 F.Supp. 101, 102 (D.Mo.1939); see also, 6A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller, & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2D § 1509 (1990) (noting that leave to file a supplemental pleading will be denied where "the supplemental pleading could be the subject of a separate action").

District courts have broad discretion under Rule 15(d) in determining whether to permit a supplemental complaint. Keith, 858 F.2d at 473. The factors to consider include: (1) judicial efficiency; (2) the supplemental complaint "should have some relation to the claim set forth in the original [or ...


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