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Barnes v. Gower

United States District Court, D. Oregon

April 20, 2015

CHRISTOPHER LEE BARNES, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL GOWER, MS.WHELAN, COLLETTE PETERS, STEVE FRANKE, Defendants.

Matthew S. Kirkpatrick, Kenneth R. Davis, II, LANE POWELL, PC, Portland, OR, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Vanessa A. Nordyke, OREGON DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Salem, OR, Attorney for Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

MARCO A. HERNNDEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Christopher Lee Barnes moves to amend his complaint pursuant to Federal of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action pro se on October 17, 2012, alleging violations of his constitutional rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff brought claims against Defendants Michael Gower, Ms. Whelan, Collette Peters, and Steve Franke. On March 27, 2013, Defendants moved for partial dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint. Defendants moved to dismiss three of the four named defendants. The only portion of Plaintiff's complaint that Defendants did not move to dismiss was the claim for inadequate medical care against Defendant Whelan. On May 23, 2013, this Court granted Defendants' motion in its entirety and made clear that the action survived only to the extent that Plaintiff claimed that Defendant Whelan failed to evaluate or treat his migraines. On November 5, 2013, Defendant Whelan moved for summary judgment.

On March 13, 2014, Plaintiff was appointed his present counsel. Throughout 2014, the parties conducted discovery regarding the claim of inadequate medical care and Plaintiff responded to Defendant's summary judgment motion. Plaintiff at no point moved to amend his complaint.

On February 3, 2015, this Court heard oral argument on Defendant Whelan's motion for summary judgment. At the argument, the Court and the parties discussed the scope of Plaintiff's allegations-specifically, whether or not Plaintiff's claim was limited to Defendant's failure to provide Plaintiff with an MRI. On February 17, 2015, this Court issued an opinion denying Defendant's motion for summary judgment. The opinion addressed the scope of Plaintiff's claim:

Plaintiff's Complaint focuses more narrowly on his request for an MRI to determine the cause of his migraines. However, the Court construes his claim to allege in more general terms a failure to receive adequate treatment, because Plaintiff was pro se at the time he filed his Complaint.

Opinion & Order, February 17, 2015 (citing Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ("A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed'[.]").

Two days later, on February 19, 2015, Plaintiff moved for leave to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff's motion stated that the proposed amendment was filed "out of an abundance of caution... to provide additional detail regarding defendant's failure to provide medically necessary diagnosis and treatment of his migraines." Pl.'s Mot. 2. Plaintiff argued that he needed to amend his complaint to ensure that his claim was not limited to his MRI request. Pl.'s Mot. 3. Plaintiff offered no other reason for filing his motion to amend the complaint.

STANDARDS

Under Rule 15(a)(2), after a responsive pleading is filed, "a party may amend its pleading with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule 15(a)(2) prescribes that "[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Id . "This policy is to be applied with extreme liberality.'" C.F. ex rel Farnan v. Capistrano Unified Sch. Dist. , 654 F.3d 975, 985 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc. , 316 F.3d 1048, 1051 (9th Cir. 2003)). However, "the liberality in granting leave to amend is subject to several limitations. Leave need not be granted where the amendment of the complaint would cause the opposing party undue prejudice, is sought in bad faith, constitutes an exercise in futility, or ...


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