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Giles v. Forncrook

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 9, 2019

OSSIE GILES, Plaintiff,
v.
G. FORNCROOK, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINT; DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' PENDING MOTIONS; AND SETTING BRIEFING SCHEDULE

          YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison (“SQSP”) filed this instant pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He seeks monetary damages.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's supplemental complaint, dkt. 11, which the Court construes as a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint. Also before the Court are Defendants' motion requesting screening of Plaintiff's supplemental complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and waiving their reply. Dkt. 13. Finally, Defendants also filed an administrative motion asking the Court to clarify whether the supplemental complaint is the operative complaint in the instant action and, if so, refraining from filing a dispositive motion until the Court screens the supplemental complaint. Dkt. 14 For the reasons outlined below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint. Because the original complaint it still the operative complaint in this matter, the Court DENIES as moot Defendants' motion to screen Plaintiff's supplemental complaint as well as their aforementioned administrative motion.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Background

         On December 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed his original complaint. Dkt. 1. He named the following Defendants at SQSP: Warden Ron Davis; Associate Warden R. Bloomfield; Captain J. Arnold; Lieutenants B. VanMastrigt, R. Shelton and M. Nelson; Sergeants J. Sangmaster and Madding; Correctional Counselor II A. Maxfield; Chief Disciplinary Officers Y. Samara and G. Forncrook; Correctional Officers F. Jaugan, and J. Cartwright; Office of Appeals Chief M. Voong; and Psychologist R. Pearl. Id. at 2.

         On July 15, 2019, the Court issued its Order of Partial Dismissal and Service upon screening Plaintiff's original complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Dkt. 6. In its July 15, 2019 Order, the Court concluded that, liberally construed, the original complaint stated cognizable First Amendment and Eighth Amendment claims based on actions stemming from November 2017 to December 2017 against Defendants Cartwright and Jaugan for authoring a false Rules Violation Report (“RVR”) and supplemental reports, respectively, and for causing Plaintiff's removal from his housing and placement into administrative segregation (ad-seg) from November 16, 2017 to December 28, 2017. Id. at 3. The Court further found that the complaint stated a cognizable claim against Defendants VanMastrigt, Forncrook, Maxfield, Pearl, Sangmaster, Arnold, Shelton, and Samara for due process violations insofar as he was removed from his housing and placed into ad-seg without evidentiary support, and for a First Amendment violation insofar as they were involved in failing to rectify or correct the false RVR. Id. at 3-4. The Court also found that Plaintiff's allegations against Defendants Broomfield, Nelson, and Voong stated a cognizable First Amendment claim for denial of access to established grievance procedures. Id. at 4. The Court dismissed Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Madding upon concluding it was without merit. Id. It also dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Davis (the SQSP warden) upon concluding that Plaintiff alleged no facts to establish supervisorial liability on Defendant Davis's part. Id. at 5. The Court directed Defendants to file a motion for summary judgment or other dispositive motion by September 13, 2019. Id. at 6.

         On August 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed a supplemental complaint, which as explained above, the Court construes as a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(d). Dkt. 11. The supplemental complaint includes unrelated claims of harassment and retaliation against the following five new Defendants: Correctional Officer V. Michael; Correctional Lieutenants R. M. Ballein and M. Bloise; SQSP Office of Appeals, Appeals Examiner J. Knight; and Office of Appeals Chief T. Ramos. Id. at 2. Plaintiff's new allegations stem from an additional RVR that Plaintiff received in March 2019. Id. at 3.

         On September 12, 2019, Defendants filed an Answer. Dkt. 12.

         As mentioned, on September 17, 2019, Defendants filed a motion requesting the Court screen Plaintiffs supplemental complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and waiving their reply. Dkt. 13. On September 19, 2019, Defendants filed an administrative motion asking the Court to clarify whether the supplemental complaint is the operative complaint in the instant action and, if so, refraining from filing a dispositive motion until the Court screens the supplemental complaint. Dkt. 14.

         B. Plaintiffs Request for Leave to File an Supplemental Complaint

         Plaintiff requests leave to file a supplemental complaint to add unrelated claims against five new Defendants. Dkt. 11. Plaintiff seeks to add new claims that were not in the original complaint. See Id. In fact, Plaintiff acknowledges that the allegations asserted in the supplemental complaint can be categorized as post-complaint, as they involve events occurring after the events complained of in the original complaint. Id. at 3. These allegations are unrelated to the gravamen of Plaintiff s original complaint, which mainly concerns events surrounding the original Defendants' conduct in removing Plaintiff from his housing and placing him in ad seg pending the outcome of an allegedly falsely authored RVR that Plaintiff received in November 2017. Dkt. 1 at 6, 15-18.

         Furthermore, the Court points out that this action was first filed almost a year ago, on December 12, 2018. Dkt. 1. Moreover, Plaintiffs original complaint pertains to a specific set of events which took place in in 2017, and it involves a limited number of Defendants, all of whom have been served. Despite the Court's July 15, 2019 Order of Partial Dismissal and Service, Plaintiff now presents the Court with another lengthy document with additional unrelated claims from 2019, as explained below. See Dkt. 11 Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, Plaintiff may amend as of right at any time prior to the filing of a responsive pleading and thereafter only with leave of court. Leave must be freely granted “when justice so requires.” Janicki Logging Co. v. Mateer,42 F.3d 561, 566 (9th Cir. 1994); cf. Id. (attempt to amend complaint requiring amendment of scheduling order under Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 must be based upon good cause). While mere delay in seeking to amend is not grounds to deny amendment, leave need not be granted where the amendment of the complaint would cause the opposing party undue prejudice, is sought in bad faith, constitutes an exercise in futility, or creates undue delay. Id.; see also Roberts ...


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