United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
NANNETTE JOLIVETTE BROWN
ORDER AND REASONS
VAN MEERVELD, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint filed by
plaintiff Jacob Daniel Lee. (Rec. Doc. 51). For the following
reasons, the Motion is DENIED.
filed this lawsuit more than two and-a-half years ago on
November 3, 2016, alleging that he was attacked by police
officers on November 4, 2015; that a 1986 Nissan Maxima was
illegally seized on November 5, 2015; that on November 6,
2015, he was wrongfully arrested and held for 76 days, and
that a bill of information was not filed until 67 days after
his arrest. (Rec. Doc. 1). He named Jefferson Parish
Sheriff's Office deputies Chase Denoux, Devin Dominic,
Mark Monson, and Shane Rivolo as defendants. Id. Mr.
Lee was, and is, proceeding pro se.
defendants appeared, the scheduling order was issued on June
27, 2017. It did not set a deadline for amending pleadings,
but noted that “[p]leadings have been completed.”
filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary
judgment, on February 6, 2018. They averred that Mr. Lee
violently resisted arrest on November 5, 2015, when he was
apprehended as a suspect in narcotics, firearm, and burglary
activity. They averred that Mr. Lee was arrested on November
6, 2015, for illegal possession of LSD, marijuana, and
oxycodone; illegal possession of a firearm; battery on a
police officer; resisting arrest by force or violence;
possession of a firearm while in possession of narcotics; and
possession of stolen goods. Defendants further averred that
Mr. Lee pleaded guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor
resisting arrest on May 22, 2017. The court dismissed Mr.
Lee's false arrest and excessive force claims as barred
by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), finding
that both claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of
his arrest and conviction for resisting arrest when he had
not shown the conviction was reversed on direct appeal,
expunged, or declared invalid. Construing Mr. Lee's
pleadings liberally, the court denied the defendants'
motion as to Mr. Lee's possible due process claim arising
out of the 67-day period of incarceration before the bill of
information was filed, but noted that Mr. Lee had failed to
name a party responsible for this delay as a defendant. The
court granted Mr. Lee leave to amend his complaint to address
the deficiencies, noting that Mr. Lee's failure to do so
would result in dismissal upon defendants' motion.
Because the defendants had not addressed it, the court also
denied their motion as to Mr. Lee's claim for illegal
search and seizure of the vehicle, noting that supplemental
briefing would be required regarding the potential
application of qualified immunity.
filed an amended complaint on June 13, 2018, and again on
July 12, 2018. He added additional factual allegations
concerning his alleged false arrest, the alleged use of
excessive force, the search and seizure of the vehicle, and
added allegations that the police officers and prison
officials violated his rights while he was incarcerated and
that excessive bail had been imposed. He did not name any new
parties. A new scheduling order was issued setting trial for
January 14, 2019. On December 12, 2018, defendants filed a
motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment.
The defendants also moved to continue the trial, which was
granted, and on February 1, 2019, the district court issued a
new scheduling order setting trial to begin on July 8, 2019.
Mr. Lee filed an untimely opposition to defendants'
motion to dismiss on February 21, 2019.
6, 2019, Mr. Lee filed the present motion for leave to amend.
On June 14, 2019, the district court granted the
defendants' pending motion to dismiss Mr. Lee's
existing complaint. The court reiterated that Mr. Lee's
unlawful arrest and excessive force claims were barred by
Heck. Applying the doctrine of qualified immunity,
the court dismissed Mr. Lee's claim for illegal search
and seizure of the Nissan Maxima. The court also dismissed
Mr. Lee's claim for due process violations because Mr.
Lee had not named a party responsible for those alleged
violations even after the court's instruction that he do
so. The court further dismissed Mr. Lee's claims related
to alleged constitutional violations while he was
incarcerated because Mr. Lee had failed to bring any
allegations against the named defendants related to his
treatment while he was incarcerated and although he had
alleged that Sheriff Newell Normand was responsible for
conditions of the Jefferson Parish Correctional Facility, he
had not named Sheriff Normand as a defendant.
court now turns to Mr. Lee's proposed pleading. Mr. Lee
seeks to name as additional defendants the Jefferson Parish
District Attorney (“DA”), an unnamed Assistant
District Attorney for the Jefferson Parish District
Attorney's Office (“ADA”), and the Jefferson
Parish sheriff in his official capacity. Mr. Lee asserts a
new claim arising out of an alleged incident on July 10,
2016, when defendants Monson and Denoux pulled Mr. Lee over
for a traffic stop and wrote him a citation for possession of
marijuana. Mr. Lee alleges there was no probable cause for
the officers to pull him over, that they conducted an illegal
search of his vehicle, that they harassed his girlfriend, and
that they told him that he needed to plead guilty to the
charges related to the November 2015 incident. He alleges the
officers were trying to coerce him into pleading guilty. Mr.
Lee realleges his excessive force claim arising out of the
November 4, 2015 incident, and his false arrest and false
imprisonment claims arising out of the November 6, 2015,
arrest. Mr. Lee alleges that the defendants fabricated lies
to “trump up” the charges against him so that his
bail would be excessive. He alleges a claim for slander,
libel, and defamation of character arising out of statements
by Sheriff Normand to the media on November 5, 2015,
allegedly portraying Mr. Lee as an armed, dangerous,
drug-abusing criminal. Mr. Lee also adds a claim for
conspiracy to interfere with civil rights in violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1985 and 1986, all concerning his November 6,
2015, arrest and the issuance of the bill of information
67-days later. Mr. Lee's proposed pleading also contains
additional allegations concerning the conditions during his
oppose the proposed amendment. They argue that the proposed
pleading should not be allowed because of Mr. Lee's undue
delay in filing it. They point out that the incident in
question occurred almost four years ago and that Mr. Lee has
had two prior opportunities to amend. They say Mr. Lee has
stated no reason for his delay or why the new parties and
claims could not have been added earlier. Defendants further
argue that Mr. Lee's amendment would be futile. They say
that all of his claims arising out of his arrest and the
alleged use of excessive force have already been found barred
by Heck. They say this same rule applies to Mr.
Lee's new claims for conspiracy and for excessive bail.
Further, they argue that Mr. Lee's claims against the new
defendants are prescribed. They say that when a new defendant
is added after the limitations period, the claims only relate
back to the original date of filing if the new defendant
received adequate notice of the original lawsuit and where
the new defendant knew that, but for a mistake concerning
identity, the new defendant would have been named originally.
They argue relation back is inapplicable here because there
was no mistake in the identity of the newly added parties.
Standard to Amend Pleadings
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), when the time
period for amending a pleading as a matter of course has
passed, a party may amend its pleadings by consent of the
parties or by leave of court. “The court should freely
give leave when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ.
Proc. 15(a)(2). Thus, the United States Court of Appeals for
the Fifth Circuit instructs that the “district court
must possess a ‘substantial reason' to deny a
request for leave to amend.” Smith v. EMC
Corp., 393 F.3d 590, 595 (5th Cir. 2004). Nonetheless,
“that generous standard is tempered by the necessary
power of a district court to manage a case.”
Yumilicious Franchise, L.L.C. v. Barrie, 819 F.3d
170, 177 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting Schiller v. Physicians
Res. Grp. Inc., 342 F.3d 563, 566 (5th Cir. 2003)). The
court may consider numerous factors when deciding whether to
grant a motion for leave to amend, including “undue
delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failures to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, and futility of the
amendment.” Schiller, 342 F.3d at 566.
Fifth Circuit has also explained that courts “more
carefully scrutinize a party's attempt to raise new
theories of recovery by amendment when the opposing party has
filed a motion for summary judgment.” Parish v.
Frazier, 195 F.3d 761, 764 (5th Cir. 1999). In
Parish, for example, the district court denied leave
to amend where the plaintiff filed her motion for leave to
amend on the same day as defendants' motion for summary
judgment and her amendment would likely require additional
discovery and another motion for summary judgment.
Id. at 764. The court held that the amendment
“would unduly prejudice the defendants and raise
concerns about seriatim presentation of facts and
issues.” Id. The Fifth Circuit affirmed,
holding that the district court had not abused its
in Little v. Liquid Air Corp., the plaintiffs sought
leave to amend and raise an entirely new factual basis for
their claims, which “would have required that the
parties reopen discovery and alter their trial
strategies.” 952 F.2d 841, 846 (5th Cir. 1992), on
reh'g en banc, 37 F.3d 1069 (5th Cir. 1994). In
affirming the district's court's order denying leave
to amend, the Fifth Circuit concluded:
There is little question that the delay in this case was
particularly egregious. First, the plaintiffs did not propose
their amendment until well over a year after they had
instituted their actions and several months after discovery
on the actions had effectively terminated. Second, by the
time the plaintiffs proposed their amendment, [the defendant]
had already moved for summary judgment. Despite the apparent
delay, however, the plaintiffs did not attempt to satisfy
their burden: they offered no evidence that their delay in
filing the motions for leave to amend was excusable or a
result of mere oversight.
the court ordered deadline for amending pleadings has passed,
that schedule “may be modified” to allow for
additional amendments “only for good cause and with the
judge's consent.” Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 16(b)(4);
see S&W Enterprises, L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of
Alabama, NA, 315 F.3d 533, 536 (5th Cir. 2003)
(“We take this opportunity to make clear that Rule
16(b) governs amendment of pleadings after a scheduling order
deadline has expired.”). When determining whether the
movant has shown good cause, the Court considers “(1)
the explanation for the failure to [timely move for leave to
amend]; (2) the importance of the [amendment]; (3) potential
prejudice in allowing the [amendment]; and (4) the
availability of a ...