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Re: Williams v. Hurlings et al

August 29, 2011

RE: WILLIAMS
v.
HURLINGS ET AL.,



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mark Falk Mark Falk United States Magistrate Judge

CHAMBERS OF USPO & COURTHOUSE MARK FALK 1 FEDERAL SQ., ROOM 457 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE NEWARK, NJ 07101 (973) 645-3110

TO ALL PARTIES via CM/ECF

LETTER OPINION

Dear Litigants:

Plaintiff Joseph Williams, proceeding pro se, moves the Court for leave to amend the Complaint, and to extend the discovery deadline. See CM/ECF Nos. 41, 52. Defendant Hurlings opposes both requests. See CM/ECF Nos. 46, 53. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motions are granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff initiated this action on July 7, 2008, against Jeremiah T. Healy, Leonardo Rinaldi, Michael Hurlings, and several unknown officers pursuant to 42. U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his civil rights. See CM/ECF No. 1. The case arises from an incident on July 6, 2006, in which Defendant Hurlings and an unknown officer of the Jersey City Police Department, pled as Doe defendants, allegedly arrested Plaintiff without probable cause and used excessive force to subdue him. Id. Further causes of action against other Defendants were later dismissed from the complaint by the Honorable William J. Martini, U.S.D.J., on January 11, 2010, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). See CM/ECF No. 7.

On May 3, 2011, the Court held an in-person conference to discuss several outstanding discovery issues. Plaintiff advised the Court at that time that he wished to amend the complaint to name one of the previously unknown Doe defendants. The Court granted Plaintiff's request to seek leave and extended discovery to July 1, 2011. See CM/ECF No. 36.

Plaintiff filed a purported "motion for leave to amend" on June 1, 2011. See CM/ECF No. 41. The notice of motion was accompanied by certification which states that Plaintiff was unaware of the name of the second officer that arrested him, only identified as "Sgt. Redmond," until he received a copy of a police report filed in connection with his criminal appeal from the New Jersey Public Defender's Office on December 20, 2010. Id. Defendant Hurlings filed an opposition to the motion on July 21, 2011. See CM/ECF No. 46. He objects principally on the basis that any claims against Sergeant Redmond are time-barred by the two-year statute of limitations applicable to personal injury claims under New Jersey law. Id. He also argues, without more, that Sergeant Redmond would be "unduly prejudiced" by the amendment.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Rule 15(a)(2) permits a party to amend its pleading at any point prior to trial "only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave." Leave should be freely granted "when justice so requires." Id. This mandate encompasses a broad range of equitable factors. See Arthur v. Maersk, Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 203 (3d Cir. 2006). A court will consider whether the delay in seeking amendment is undue, motivated by bad faith, prejudicial, or if it would ultimately be futile. Adams v. Gould, Inc., 739 F.2d 858, 864 (3d Cir. 1984). Absent one of these factors, leave should be "freely given." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1964). The decision to grant leave rests in the Court's sound discretion. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 331 (1971).

B. Analysis

At the outset, it bears mention that Plaintiff does not include a copy of the proposed amended complaint with his motion. Ordinarily a party seeking leave to file an amended complaint must attach a copy so the Court can evaluate the sufficiency of the amendments. L. Civ. R. 7.1(f); see also Lake v. Arnold, 232 F.3d 360, 374 (3d Cir. 2000) ("failure to provide a draft amended complaint would be an adequate basis" to deny leave to amend); Yuhasz v. Poritz, 166 Fed. Appx. 642, 646 (3d Cir. 2006) (applying rule to pro se litigants). Nevertheless, this requirement may be relaxed when doing so is in the interest of justice. See In re Merck & Co., Inc. Sec., Derivative & ERISA Litig., 493 F.3d 393, 398 n.2 (3d Cir. 2007); City of Perth Amboy v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 539 F. Supp. 2d 732, 755 (D.N.J. 2008); ...


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