United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to File Amended Complaint
(R. Doc. 20) filed on June 11, 2018. The motion is opposed.
(R. Doc. 21).
before the Court is Plaintiff's Request for Leave of
Court to File First Amended Civil Rights Complaint (R. Doc.
23) filed on July 6, 2018. The motion is opposed. (R. Doc.
24). Plaintiff has filed a Reply. (R. Doc. 24).
Miley (“Plaintiff”) initiated this civil rights
action in state court, naming as the sole defendants
“Deputy Doe” and Jason Ard, in his official
capacity as Sheriff of Livingston Parish. (R. Doc. 1-2 at
4-6, “Petition”). Plaintiff alleges that he was
arrested by Deputy Doe for simple battery on August 10, 2016,
repeatedly told Deputy Doe that “the wrong guy”
had been arrested, and was sent to jail for three days.
(Petition ¶¶ 3-5). Plaintiff alleges that he was
then released on bond and, prior to his arraignment, filed
motions indicating that he was “not the right
Christopher Miller.” (Petition ¶ 6). Plaintiff
alleges that he “was falsely arrested and imprisoned by
the Defendants because the Defendants failed to properly
investigate this matter” and they were reckless in the
investigation of this crime, leading to wrongly accusing an
innocent man of a crime when they knew or should have known
that Plaintiff was not the suspect.” (Petition
¶¶ 8- 9). Plaintiff further alleges that on the
first day of trial the States' eyewitness, upon seeing
Plaintiff, stated that the State had “the wrong man,
” and, as a result, the state prosecutor dismissed all
charges against Plaintiff on March 14, 2017. (Petition ¶
12). The instant action was filed on or about March 5, 2018.
(R. Doc. 1-2).
on the foregoing, Plaintiff alleges that the
“Defendant's actions amount to willful indifference
to the Plaintiff's federally protected rights to be free
from unreasonable seizures of his person under [42 U.S.C.
§ 1983].” (Petition ¶ 13). Plaintiff asserts
that the foregoing “acts also amount to violation of
federal and state law for false arrest and false
imprisonment. (Petition ¶ 14). Plaintiff seeks to
recover various damages, including general damages for
“deprivation of his Fourth Amendment rights” and
“Damage to his reputation, including causing worldwide
publication of his arrest for battery.” (Petition
March 29, 2018, Sheriff Ard removed the action on the basis
that the Court has federal question jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's federal claims asserted under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (R. Doc. 1).
April 23, 2018, Sheriff Ard filed a motion to dismiss,
asserting that Plaintiff's claims for false arrest and
false imprisonment have prescribed. (R. Doc. 5). In
opposition to the motion to dismiss, Plaintiff sought leave
to amend the pleadings to allege a due process claim under
the Fourteenth Amendment, a malicious prosecution claim, and
to identify Deputy Doe. (R. Doc. 9).
30, 2018, the undersigned held a telephone status conference
and stayed discovery in light of the pending motion to
dismiss. (R. Doc. 14).
11, 2018, the district judge held a telephone status in which
Plaintiff conceded that his false imprisonment and false
arrest claims had prescribed, and the district judge ordered
Plaintiff to file a motion for leave to file an amended
complaint as requested in his opposition to the motion to
dismiss. (R. Doc. 19). That same day, Plaintiff filed his
“Motion to File Amended Complaint” in which he
represented that the district judge granted leave to file an
amended complaint. (R. Doc. 20). In opposition, Sheriff Ard
argued that the district judge did not grant leave to amend,
and instead ordered Plaintiff to file a motion seeking leave
to amend. (R. Doc. 21 at 1). Sheriff Ard also opposed the
motion on the basis that Plaintiff's original claims are
prescribed, the new claims cannot related back to those
prescribed claims, and the new claims are otherwise futile
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. (R. Doc. 21).
6, 2018, the district judge referred the foregoing motion to
the undersigned, specifically noting that the Court
“did not grant Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint
in the June 11, 2018 status conference” and rather
“allowed Plaintiff to file a motion asking for leave to
amend the complaint, which could be taken up and decided
after briefing.” (R. Doc. 22). That same day, Plaintiff
filed his Request for Leave of Court to File First Amended
Civil Rights Complaint, which did not add any substantive
arguments in support of amendment. (R. Doc. 23). In
opposition, Sheriff Ard referred back to the arguments raised
in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to File Amended
Complaint. (R. Doc. 24). Plaintiff then filed a Reply in
which he argues, for the first time, that his original
petition also contained causes of action for malicious
prosecution and defamation. (R. Doc. 27 at 1). Among other
things, Plaintiff argues that the claims asserted in his
proposed amended complaint relate back to his
“defamation” claim under Rule 15(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and that he should
otherwise be granted leave to identify Deputy Doe. (R. Doc.
27 at 2-5).
Law and Analysis
Rule 15(a)(2), after the period for amending as a matter of
course elapses, “a party may amend its pleading only
with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave” and a “court should freely
give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). The rule “evinces a bias in favor of granting
leave to amend.” Martin's Herend Imports, Inc.
v. Diamond & Gem Trading U.S.A. Co., 195 F.3d 765,
770 (5th Cir. 1999) (quoting Dussouy v. Gulf Coast Inv.
Corp., 660 F.2d 594, 597 (5th Cir. 1981)). Although
leave to amend should not be automatically granted,
“[a] district court must possess a substantial reason
to deny a request for leave to amend[.]” Jones v.
Robinson Prop. Grp., L.P., 427 F.3d 987, 994 (5th Cir.
2005) (quotations omitted). The Court may consider several
factors when determining whether to grant leave to amend,
including “undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on
the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies
by amendments ...