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Richardson v. Richardson

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

September 20, 2017

CLIFTON JAMES RICHARDSON, SR.
v.
CLIFTON JAMES RICHARDSON, JR., ET AL.

          NOTICE AND ORDER

          ERIN WILDER-DOOMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is Plaintiff's September 11, 2017 Rule 15(a) and (c) 1st Amended Petition for Discovery of the Reciprocal Alimentary Duties of the Defendants (the “Motion”).[1] The court interprets Plaintiff's Motion as requesting leave to file an amended complaint and leave to conduct early discovery. Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint still does not comply with the instructions previously ordered because: (1) it is not a “stand-alone” pleading and instead improperly “renews and reiterates” allegations set forth in his previous pleading; (2) does not specifically identify each defendant and set out the specific factual basis for Plaintiff's claim against that particular defendant (i.e., what Plaintiff is claiming that person did or did not do that either explains the basis of Plaintiff's claim for alimentary support and/or Plaintiff's claim for copyright infringement); (3) with respect to his claim for alimentary support, does not set forth why he is unable to afford specific basic necessities without defendants' help; and (4) with respect to his claim for copyright infringement, does not allege: (i) the specific musical work(s) in which he has a valid copyright; (ii) whether such copyright(s) has been registered; (iii) which defendant he alleges copied the copyrighted work without authorization; and (iv) the facts supporting Plaintiff's claim that the particular defendant copied his copyrighted work without authorization.

         As more fully explained below, Plaintiff's motion to file the amended complaint is DENIED without prejudice to Plaintiff's right to file an amended complaint on or before October 9, 2017 that complies with the instructions previously ordered. Plaintiff's motion for leave to conduct early discovery is DENIED.

         I. Background

         On August 9, 2017, a hearing was held in this matter pursuant to Spears v. McCotter, 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985). The pro se plaintiff, Clifton James Richardson, Sr. (“Plaintiff”) personally appeared during the hearing and the Petition for Discovery of the Reciprocal Alimentary Duties of the Defendants (the “Original Complaint”) was discussed. Per the Original Complaint, it appears Plaintiff seeks to require defendants, Clifton James Richardson, III, Clifton James Richardson, Jr., and Gwendolyn Ellington (collectively, “Defendants”) to provide assistance to him pursuant to La. Civil Code article 237. Additionally, during the August 9, 2017 hearing, Plaintiff explained that he was trying to determine “if they made enough money with my song” and asserted that he had registered copyrights in his musical works that had been purportedly infringed.[2] Plaintiff explained that he was told “by some people” that “they used my music in a concert.”[3] It was not clear during the hearing what person or persons Plaintiff is alleging infringed on his copyright.

         Following additional discussion, Plaintiff made an oral motion to amend his Original Complaint, which the court granted. The court ordered Plaintiff to file a comprehensive Amended Complaint within sixty (60) days of the date of the Order (i.e., by October 9, 2017) containing all of Plaintiff's allegations, as revised, supplemented and/or amended, without reference to any other pleading in the record. The court further ordered that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint would set forth, inter alia: (1) the basic necessities that he seeks to require Defendants to fund pursuant to La. Civil Code article 237 and why he is unable to afford these specific necessities without Defendants' assistance; (2) whether he has a valid copyright(s) and the specific musical work(s) in which he holds such copyright(s); (3) whether such copyright(s) has been registered; (4) the facts that establish unauthorized copying (i.e., copying of the constituent elements of Plaintiff's copyrighted work(s) that are original); and (5) who is alleged to have engaged in unauthorized copying of Plaintiff's works.

         On September 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Rule 15(a) and (c) Amended Petition for Discovery of the Reciprocal Alimentary Duties of the Defendants (the “Motion to File Amended Petition”).[4]The court construed Plaintiff's September 6, 2017 filing as a motion for leave to file an amended complaint and, on September 8, 2017, denied Plaintiff's motion without prejudice because: (1) the proposed amended petition did not include all of Plaintiff's allegations and instead only set out the changes Plaintiff wished to make to his previous pleading; and (2) did not set forth the information required by the August 9, 2017 order.[5]

         II. Plaintiff's September 11, 2017 Filing

         On September 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Rule 15(a) and (c) 1st Amended Petition for Discovery of the Reciprocal Alimentary Duties of the Defendants (the “Motion”).[6] Per the Motion, Plaintiff: (1) states that three defendants, “the Salvation Army, Terrance Richardson, and Southern University's Music Camp or Department” “were accidentally named as Defendants by this Court;”[7] and that Plaintiff wishes to name Harold Wayne Richardson as a defendant;[8] (2) sets forth a list of alleged “basic necessities” to be included in paragraph 6 of his original petition; (3) attaches correspondence sent to the Library of Congress and the Southern District of New York requesting information and/or records; and (4) “renews and reiterates all of the allegations, and all of the prayers, of the Original Petition.”[9] In his Motion, Plaintiff prays: “(1) For Leave of Court to file this 2nd Amended Petition; and (2) For Time to gather this Information to determine if it is pertinent in this case that is filed here in Monroe and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; (3) For permission to gather Depositions from the listed witnesses concerning Shelter Assistance; (4) For permission to gather Depositions from persons who are involved in the cases in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Monroe, Louisiana; and White Plains, New York; if they are in the local area (within 100 miles).”[10]Based on this prayer for relief, the court interprets Plaintiff's Motion as a motion to file an amended complaint and a motion to conduct early discovery.

         a. Motion to Amend Complaint

         Plaintiff's proposed pleading does not comply with this court's previous orders.

         First, Plaintiff may not “renew” or “reiterate” allegations or prayers set forth in the Original Complaint. Instead, ALL of Plaintiff's allegations and prayers must be set forth word-for-word in the proposed amended complaint. This means that Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint should copy word-for-word any allegations or prayers for relief asserted in the Original Complaint that Plaintiff continues to assert and should also include all of the information required by this court's August 9, 2017 order.[11]

         Second, the court notes it does not appear that the Salvation Army, Terrance Richardson, and Southern University's Music Camp or Department were named as defendants in Plaintiff's Original Complaint. The Original Complaint appeared to name (1) Clifton James Richardson, Jr.; (2) Clifton James Richardson, III; and (3) Mrs. Gwendolyn Ellington as defendants. Based on Plaintiff's current Motion, it appears Plaintiff also wishes to name Harold Wayne Richardson as a defendant. Plaintiff's amended complaint must set forth the name of each defendant Plaintiff asserts a claim against and the specific factual basis for Plaintiff's claim against that particular defendant (i.e., what Plaintiff is claiming that person did or did not do that either explains the basis of Plaintiff's claim for alimentary support and/or Plaintiff's claim for copyright infringement).

         Because Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint does not comply with this court's previous orders, Plaintiff's Motion for leave to file the amended complaint is DENIED without prejudice to Plaintiff's right to file an amended complaint on or before October 9, 2017 that fulfills the requirements set forth in the court's August ...


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