United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
GAIL DEIN, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s motion for leave
to file a second amended complaint is ALLOWED. The Clerk
shall docket the proposed Second Amended Complaint as the
operative pleading and Defendants shall respond in accordance
with Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 and all applicable local and federal
John Evans (“Evans”) initiated this action on
July 16, 2014, by filing a complaint against eight
correctional officials and employees for alleged actions
surrounding the issuance of a disciplinary report charging
Evans with the introduction of a controlled substance and the
resultant sanction of, and conditions in, solitary
confinement after being found guilty during prison
disciplinary proceedings. On February 10, 2016, an Answer was
filed on behalf of all defendants except defendant Tolozko.
See Docket No. 67.
following month, on March 18, 2016, Evans filed a motion for
leave to file a second amended complaint (“SAC”).
See Docket No. 71. Evans argues that his motion
should be granted because the proposed SAC: (1) clarifies
that he was held in solitary confinement until July 15, 2014,
(2) drops six of the nine defendants from the action, and (3)
includes a new allegation that defendant Thompson
“failed to ensure that the MCI-Concord kitchen, staff
follow and serve the standard food portin (sic) giving
prisoners, resulting in Evans being injured in his
health...” Id. at p. 2. The proposed SAC
amends the first amended complaint by dropping six defendants
and, except for including new factual allegations regarding
the amount of food provided to Evans and his severe weight
loss while in solitary confinement, continuing the same
claims pleaded in the first amended complaint against the
three remaining defendants. See Docket No. 71-1. In
conclusion, Evans explains that his proposed SAC “will
supply additional facts relative to each Defendant(s) role in
training and in promulgation and implementing the polices and
procedures that Evans is subjected to so as to satisfy his
pleading requirement.” See Docket No. 71 at p.
filed a memorandum in opposition to Evans’ motion.
See Docket No. 72. Defendants oppose the motion to
the extent that Evans seeks to add new claims that they
contend do not arise from or relate to the claims in the
amended complaint. Id. The defendants argue that
under Rules 18(a) and 20(a)(2), the new claim regarding the
amount of food and his weight loss while in solitary
confinement should not be permitted. However, for the reasons
that follow, the Court finds the defendants’ argument
decision whether to grant a motion for leave to amend falls
within the trial court's discretion. Sheehan v. City
of Gloucester, 321 F.3d 21, 26 (1st Cir. 2003). The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that leave to amend
a complaint should be “freely give[n] * * * when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
Nevertheless, courts may deny leave to amend where permitting
the amendment: (1) would cause prejudice to the opposing
party; (2) would result in undue delay in litigation; (3)
would be futile; (4) is sought by plaintiffs in bad faith; or
(5) the plaintiffs have filed numerous amended complaints.
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the
joinder of claims, and 20(a)(2) limits the joinder of
defendants. Rule 18(a) provides: “A party asserting a
claim ... may join, as independent or alternative claims, as
many claims as it has against an opposing party.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a). Rule 20(a)(2) provides: “Persons
... may be joined in one action as defendants if: (A) any
right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally,
or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the
same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
occurrences; and (B) any question of law or fact common to
all defendants will arise in the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
20(a)(2) (A) and (B).
have not demonstrated that the motion to amend was brought in
bad faith, for dilatory purpose, would prejudice them, would
be futile or cause unjust delay. Instead, they argue that one
of the claims in the SAC relates to only one defendant and
that Evans could bring the claim in a new lawsuit.
Defendants’ opposition references two unpublished
opinions. See Jacobs v. Soars, No. 14-12536-LTS,
2014 WL 7330762 (D. Mass. Dec. 2, 2014); Spencer v.
Bender, No. 08-11528-RGS, 2010 WL 1740957 (D. Mass. Apr.
28, 2010). However, Evans’ SAC is distinguishable from
the pleadings in Jacobs and Spencer. In
Jacobs, a frequent pro se litigant sought to file
against almost two dozen defendants a “proposed amended
complaint [that] contains the kitchen sink of claims that
appear to have little to do with each other.”
Jacobs, 2014 WL 7330762, at *8.
Spencer, the Court found it improper to join
defendants and claims of “being handcuffed too tightly
after complaining of the lack of access to showers during a
lockdown at MCI Concord, of harassment by different
correction officers while he was under mental health watch at
MCI Concord, and of the failure of a completely different set
of defendants to pay Spencer adequately for preparing Halal
meals at MCI Shirley.” Spencer, 2010 WL
1740957, at *2.
allegations in Evans’ proposed SAC is in keeping with
the scope and nature of his original and amended complaints.
Here, Evans does not seek to add new defendants nor bring a
wide variety of claims unrelated to the allegations brought
in his earlier pleadings. Where, as one court has noted,
“the complaint, as amended, would radically alter the
scope and nature of the case and bears no more than a
tangential relationship to the original action, leave to
amend should be denied.” Miss. Ass’n of
Coops. v. Farmers Home Admin., 139 F.R.D. 542, 544
(D.D.C. 1991). That is not the case here. Evans, in his
amended complaint, alleges that his placement in solitary
confinement amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and
caused plaintiff to suffer, including his mental health.
Here, Evans’ alleged weight ...