United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court has received petitioner Tracy Richardson-Brown's
motion to amend and submit additional exhibits to her 28
U.S.C. § 2255 petition.Because justice does not require
an amendment, the Court denies the motion.
submits her motion to amend in the context of a federal
habeas corpus proceeding brought under 28 U.S.C. §
2255. Pursuant to the Rules Governing Section
2255 Proceedings, “[t]he Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, to the
extent that they are not inconsistent with any statutory
provisions or these rules, may be applied to a proceeding
under these rules.” Rules Governing Section 2255
Proceedings, Rule 12; see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
81(a)(1) (stating that, generally, “[t]hese rules apply
to proceedings for habeas corpus”). Courts have
specifically applied the Rules of Civil Procedure to the
amendment of habeas petitions. See United States v.
Saenz, 282 F.3d 354, 356 (5th Cir. 2002) (collecting
cases); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2242
(“Application for a writ of habeas corpus . . . may be
amended or supplemented as provided in the rules of procedure
applicable to civil actions.”).
addresses the amendment of pleadings. And “[i]t is well
settled that Rule 15 applies to federal habeas
proceedings.” United States v. Gonzalez, 592
F.3d 675, 679 (5th Cir. 2009). In certain circumstances, Rule
15 allows a party to amend its pleading “once as a
matter of course.” See Fed. R. Civ. P.
15(a)(1). Here, though, petitioner has previously amended her
motion. The Court recharacterized an earlier motion from
petitioner as a Section 2255 motion,  and gave her 120 days to
amend it. During that time, petitioner did amend her
pleading. She then supplemented it twice with
exhibits. And she also subsequently moved to submit
affidavits that she indicated were referenced in her motion,
which the Court allowed. Because petitioner previously amended
her petition, she is not permitted to amend it again as a
matter of course.
petitioner “may amend [her] pleading only with the
opposing party's written consent or the court's
leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The government has not
indicated that it consents to the amendment. Petitioner
therefore must receive leave of the Court. The Court will
“freely give leave when justice so requires.”
Id. But leave to amend “is by no means
automatic.” Halbert v. City of Sherman, 33
F.3d 526, 529 (5th Cir. 1994). The Court considers multiple
factors before granting leave to amend, including
“undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part
of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and]
futility of amendment.” Foman v. Davis, 371
U.S. 178, 182 (1962); see also Saenz, 282 F.3d at
Court finds that these factors militate against allowing
further amendment. First, continuing to receive amendments
from petitioner would unduly delay the proceeding. The Court
already provided petitioner ample time to amend her
motion-120 days-and further delaying the litigation to
accommodate yet another filing from petitioner would not
serve the interests of justice.
and similarly, petitioner has not presented a reason why she
failed in her earlier amendments to cure any deficiencies the
current motion seeks to correct. For instance, petitioner
attaches to her motion commentary to
transcripts. But she does not suggest that the
information necessary to inform the arguments based on these
transcripts could not have been presented with her earlier
amendments. Indeed, the trial transcripts have been in the
record for years.
petitioner's amendment appears futile. Petitioner's
requested additions largely consists of allegations that a
witness lied,  and allegations that petitioner's
attorney proved ineffective by failing to impeach this
witness and by failing to call various
witnesses. But petitioner has presented such
arguments previously. Indeed, petitioner attached many of
these same exhibits-or minor variations thereof-to her
earlier filings. Likewise, the affidavits petitioner
attaches all appear to have been presented
previously.Consequently, the Court finds that
petitioner does not meet the Rule 15 standard for amendment.
Court also notes that though jurists typically look to Rule
15 when determining whether to allow amendments to a habeas
corpus petition, Rule 16 applies to amendments in civil cases
when a scheduling order exists. See S&W Enters.,
L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., NA, 315 F.3d 533, 536
(5th Cir. 2003). Here, the Court instructed petitioner to
“amend [her motion] to include all of the Section 2255
claims she wishes to include” within 120 days of the
Court's May 2, 2019, order. And the Court
subsequently entered its initial order scheduling the date by
which the government had to respond.If Rule 16 were to apply,
therefore, “[a] schedule may be modified only for good
cause and with the judge's consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4). This is a stricter standard that that of Rule 15,
see S&W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536, which the
Court already found petitioner has not met. The Court
therefore also finds that petitioner has not shown good cause
for further amendment at this time.
foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES petitioner's motion
to amend her habeas corpus petition.
 R. Doc. 367.