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Simon v. Gee

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

November 7, 2017

ELIZABETH SIMON
v.
REBEKAH GEE, et al.

          DRELL JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by pro se Plaintiff Elizabeth Simon (“Simon”). The named defendants are Karen Medlock (“Medlock”) (District V Forensic Coordinator), Michelle Duncan (“Duncan”) (Director of Community Forensic Service and Medlock's supervisor), and Rebekah Gee (“Gee”), Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Simon contends she was maliciously prosecuted and falsely arrested by Defendants. Simon seeks punitive and compensatory damages in excess of $75, 000. Simon is not presently incarcerated.

         Simon contends she is an insanity acquittee, found not guilty by reason of insanity on September 29, 2003. Simon was given a “Conditional Release and Probation Supervision” form to sign. Simon alleges she signed it without the assistance of counsel and when she was not on medication (Doc. 1). Simon was supervised by Kenneth Cooley initially, then Mike Cole, then by Karen Medlock beginning in 2011.

         Simon contends she and Medlock never got along and admits she told Medlock she should be fired. As a result, Medlock recommended to the Court that, since Simon was in psychosis, she needed to be placed in jail (Doc. 1). Simon contends that Medlock can only authorize her hospitalization and that the recommendation of jail constitutes malicious prosecution. Simon contends Medlock then demanded an immediate meeting with her while Medlock was at work, and had Simon arrested to failing to go to the meeting (Doc. 1).

         I. Plaintiff's first Motion to Amend is denied.

         Simon filed a motion to amend her complaint to add the State of Louisiana as a Defendant (Doc. 18).

         Simon seeks to add the State because she was never placed in any inpatient psychiatric facility after her trial due to a lack of bed space for females (Doc. 18). In response, the State of Louisiana filed a Motion to Dismiss [the Amended Complaint] for Lack of Jurisdiction (Doc. 23).

         Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandates that leave to amend “be freely given when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Determining when justice requires permission to amend rests within the discretion of the trial court.[1]Bisby v. Garza, 2008 WL 465320, at *1 (S.D. Tex. 2008) (citing Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330 (1971); Nilsen v. City of Moss Point, Miss., 621 F.2d 117, 122 (5th Cir.1980)). However, joinder of additional defendants in an action requires permission from the court, and the defendants must be involved in the same transaction or occurrence, with common questions of law or fact, as the originally named defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 20. In exercising its discretion in considering a motion to amend a complaint, the district court may consider, among other factors, undue delay, dilatory motive on the part of the movant, and undue prejudice to the opposing party by allowing the amendment. Bisby, 2008 WL 465320, at *1 (citing Daves v. Payless Cashways, Inc., 661 F.2d 1022, 1024 (5th Cir. 1981)).

         It is within the district court's discretion to deny a motion to amend if it is futile. See Stripling v. Jordan Production Co., L.L.C., 234 F.3d 863, 872-73 (5th Cir. 2000). A proposed amended complaint is “futile” if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. at 873. Therefore, the issue is whether in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and with every doubt resolved in his behalf, the proposed amended complaint states any valid claim for relief. See id. at 873.

         The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution bars suits in federal court by citizens of a state against their own state or a state agency or department. See Richardson v. Southern University, 118 F.3d 450, 452 (5th Cir. 1997), cert. den., 522 U.S. 1078 (1998) (citing Delahoussaye v. City of New Iberia, 937 F.2d 144, 146 (5th Cir. 1991)). As evidenced by its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 23), the State of Louisiana has not consented to this suit. In addition, the Fifth Circuit has held the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services is an arm of the State entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. See Darlak v. Bobear, 814 F.2d 1055 (5th Cir. 1987). Therefore, Simon's proposed amendment to add the State of Louisiana as a defendant would be futile.

         Accordingly, Simon's Motion to Amend to add the State of Louisiana as a Defendant (Doc. 18) is DENIED.

         II. Plaintiff's second Motion to Amend is denied.

         Simon filed a second Motion to Amend the Complaint to ask that she be discharged from monitoring by ...


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