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Jones v. Rojas

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Pendleton Division

June 21, 2019

CLARENCE EUGENE JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
M. ROJAS, LIEUTENANT PAYNTER, LIEUTENANT HOUSTON, JOHN DOE, M. FUENTAS, SERGEANT WHITLEY, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Youlee Yim You United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pro se plaintiff Clarence Eugene Jones, who is currently incarcerated at Snake River Corrections Institution (SRCI), has filed a Complaint against: M. Rojas, law librarian; Lt. Paynter, officer-in-charge of Complex Two during the A.M. shift; Lt. Houston, officer-in-charge of Complex Two during the P.M. shift; John Doe, designee of the functional unit manager/superintendent who reviewed the pre-hearing detention of plaintiff's placement in disciplinary segregation; M. Fuentas, corridor officer in Complex Two; and Sgt. Whitley, Fuentes' supervisor. ECF #1. Plaintiff asserts violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and seeks monetary damages, including punitive damages, and injunctive relief. Id. at 14-15.

         Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Amend Complaint. ECF #19. In his reply brief to the motion, plaintiff makes certain concessions and clarifies that he is seeking to amend his complaint to include only those allegations asserted on “page eight lines 8 through twenty-six (26) to page twenty-four (24), lines 1 through 6.” Reply 7, ECF #33. To the extent that plaintiff seeks to amend his Complaint to include “page eight lines 8 through twenty-six (26) to page twenty-four (24), lines 1 through 6, ” the motion to amend is granted.[1] Based on plaintiff's concessions, the motion is otherwise denied as moot.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Rule 15(a)(2) Versus Rule 15(d)

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) governs the filing of amended complaints and provides that, after a responsive pleading has been filed, “a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2), “[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Rule 15(d) pertains to supplemental pleadings and provides:

On motion and reasonable notice, the court may, on just terms, permit a party to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented. The court may permit supplementation even though the original pleading is defective in stating a claim or defense. The court may order that the opposing party plead to the supplemental pleading within a specified time.

         A supplemental complaint differs from an amended complaint as it “contains allegations concerning events that occurred subsequent to the filing of the original pleading” rather than “allegations concerning events that occurred prior to the filing of the original pleading[.]” Oregon Natural Desert Association v. U.S. Forest Service, No. 3:03-CV-00213-PK, 2016 WL 11477037, at *2 (D. Or. March 9, 2016) (emphasis added). Rule 15(d) is intended “to give district courts broad discretion in allowing supplemental pleadings.” Keith v. Volpe, 858 F.2d 467, 473 (9th Cir. 1988).

         At the outset, defendants argue that plaintiff's motion to amend should be construed as a motion to supplement the pleadings pursuant to FRCP 15(d). Resp. 2, ECF #31. In his reply, plaintiff agrees that to the extent he seeks to supplement his complaint to include actions that occurred after the filing of his complaint, FRCP 15(d) applies. Reply 2, ECF #33.

         Plaintiff also acknowledges that joinder of defendants and factual claims proposed in his motion “from page 24 lines 7-26 to page 53 line 21” would be error, and that he will be filing “several separate actions.” Id. at 7. However, plaintiff asks the court to allow him to proceed on those claims asserted from “page eight lines 8 through twenty-six (26) to page twenty-four (24), lines 1 through 6.” Id. at 7.

         II. Rule 12(a)(2) applies to plaintiff's remaining amendments.

         Because the amendments on “page eight lines 8 through twenty-six (26) to page twenty-four (24), lines 1 through 6” pertain to events that predate the filing of the complaint, Rule 15(a)(2) applies in assessing plaintiff's motion to amend. And, for the reasons discussed below, those amendments are allowed.

         A. Allegations in Complaint

         The claims in plaintiff's Complaint, filed on May 10, 2018, stem from his placement in disciplinary segregation on August 14, 2017, after he sent kytes to prison staff regarding their failure to issue misconduct reports to inmates who did not appear for their reserved times in the law library “without good[, ] legitimate reasons.” Compl. 3. Plaintiff complained that failing to hold inmates accountable “worked to the advantage of the State of Oregon by having a constitutionally mandated slot/seat at the law library vacant with no consequences.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff “additionally opined that prison officials were the most two faced people on the planet Earth dealing in human trafficking, ” id. at 4, and said, “Oh please keep my business away from your workers[, ] it can turn out bade [sic] for you! and get them fired! heads up! but of course you can do what you choose!” Id., Ex. A. Plaintiff was charged with Disrespect I, Rule 2.10, and Lt. Paynter ordered plaintiff placed in holding status for disciplinary segregation because: “Experience has shown that disrespect towards staff directly challenges the authority of the staff member, ...


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