United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER RE: (1) PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
AMEND COMPLAINT; (2) COURT'S SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION;
AND (3) CLOSING CASE (DOC. NOS. 34, 38, 39, 44)
lawsuit is about an inmate, Jason Morris, who was murdered by
his cellmate while incarcerated at California's Wasco
State Prison, where Defendant John Sutton was the warden.
Jason's wife, Plaintiff Jennifer Morris
(“Plaintiff), filed this lawsuit, alleging that (1)
Sutton negligently failed to protect Jason from being
murdered by his cellmate and (2) several unnamed
“Doe” defendants - who are presumably prison
workers at Wasco State Prison - violated Jason's federal
rights while acting under color of state law.
on these allegations, Plaintiff has pleaded the following
four claims for relief: (1) a claim against several unnamed
Doe defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
violating Jason's and Plaintiffs rights under federal
law; (2) a claim against several unnamed Doe defendants
pursuant to California's Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, Cal.
Civ. Code § 52.1(b), for violating Jason's and
Plaintiffs rights under California and federal law; (3) a
negligence claim against Defendant Sutton and several unnamed
Doe defendants for negligently failing to protect Jason from
being murdered by his cellmate; and (4) a wrongful death
claim against Defendant Sutton and several unnamed Doe
this lawsuit, the Court has exercised original “federal
question” jurisdiction over the § 1983 claim
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining California state law claims
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
in this lawsuit is now closed and the deadline to amend the
pleadings has expired. Currently pending before the Court are
two motions: namely, Plaintiffs motion for leave to amend her
complaint, Doc. No. 34, and Defendant Sutton's motion for
summary judgment, Doc. No. 38. There is also a third
important issue before the Court, which is whether the Court
will continue to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Plaintiffs California state law claims. The Court's
adjudication of these motions and issues is as follows.
Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend the
Plaintiffs motion for leave to amend her complaint, Plaintiff
informs the Court that she now knows the identities and names
of three of the Doe defendants - namely, D. Standiford, A.
Ball, and D. Silva-Escobar, all of whom were prison workers
responsible for placing Jason in the prison cell where he was
murdered by his cellmate. Plaintiff asks the Court for leave
to amend her complaint so that she can identify and name the
three prison workers as defendants in the complaint.
sixteen-page findings-and-recommendation, the Magistrate
Judge analyzed Plaintiffs motion and ultimately concluded
that the motion should be denied because Plaintiff failed to
satisfy the good cause standard of Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 and the
multi-factor standard of Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. See Doc.
No. 39. Plaintiff did not file any written objections to the
Magistrate Judge's findings-and-recommendation.
Court accepts in full the Magistrate Judge's
findings-and-recommendation because it is neither clearly
erroneous nor contrary to law. Accordingly, the Court will
deny Plaintiffs motion for leave to amend her complaint. As
Plaintiffs operative complaint currently stands, this means
that the § 1983 claim is not pleaded against any named
Plaintiff's failure to state a § 1983
denied Plaintiffs motion for leave to amend her complaint, it
is now clear to the Court that the § 1983 claim fails to
state a claim as a matter of law. This is because, as noted
supra, the § 1983 claim is not pleaded against
any named defendants. This makes the claim facially
implausible at this post-discovery and post-amendment phase,
see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(“A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded
factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.”) (emphasis added); see also
Cripe v. Unknown Party, 2017 WL 5194873, at *2 (S.D.
Ill. Nov. 9, 2017) (dismissing a § 1983 claim because
the claim was not pleaded against a named defendant), and
violates the summons requirements and purpose of Fed.R.Civ.P.
4. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 (requiring a summons to
“be directed to the defendant”). The shelf-life
of Plaintiff s Doe designations has expired: the designations
were permitted as a placeholder for named defendants only
during the discovery phase, not at trial. Gillespie v.
Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637 (9th Cir. 1980); see also
Green v. Doe, 260 Fed.Appx. 717, 719 (5th Cir. 2007);
Estate of Rosenberg by Rosenberg v. Crandell 56 F.3d
35, 37 (8th Cir. 1995); Schiff v. Kennedy, 691 F.2d
196, 198 (4th Cir. 1982).
the Court will dismiss the § 1983 claim, and the Court
will do so with prejudice because Plaintiff was afforded the
opportunity during discovery to identify the Doe defendants
and then timely amend the complaint to name the defendants,
but Plaintiff failed to do so, as discussed supra.
Supplemental jurisdiction over California ...