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Hahn v. United States Department of Commerce

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 26, 2013

PHILIP E. HAHN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND

ESTHER SALAS, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court by way of multiple informal applications by pro se plaintiff Philip E. Hahn ("Plaintiff") to amend his Complaint. ( See Docket Entries ("D.E.") 104, 114, 126, 129, 158, 173 and 178). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's requests for leave to amend his Complaint to add additional parties and claims are DENIED.

II. BACKGROUND

A detailed background of this matter may be found in the Court's June 17, 2013, Opinion. (D.E. 145). In essence, "[t]his matter arises from Plaintiff's temporary psychiatric commitment to the Bergen Regional Medical Center and the litigation that ensued." Id.; see also Hahn v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, No. 11-6369, 2012 WL 3961739, at *1 (D.N.J. Sept. 10, 2012).

All defendants named in the original Complaint have been dismissed. ( See D.E. 66, Sept. 10, 2012 Order (granting 11 motions to Dismiss); D.E. 146, June 17, 2013 Order (granting final motion to dismiss/dismissing remaining defendants)). This Court has granted twelve (12) motions to dismiss various defendants, including law firms, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and Supreme Court justices.

Meanwhile, Plaintiff has filed several informal applications to amend his Complaint to add additional parties and claims.[1] Some of these applications violated the requirement set out in Local Civil Rule 7.1(f) to include a proposed amended pleading. Most recently, without first obtaining leave from the Court, on July 24, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint.[2] ( See D.E. 173, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint). It is against this backdrop that this Court addresses Plaintiff's most recent attempt to amend his Complaint.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Failure to Comply With L. Civ. R. 7.1

New Jersey Local Civil Rule 7.1(f) states:

(f) Motions Regarding Additional Pleadings Upon filing a motion for leave to file an amended complaint or answer, a complaint in intervention or other pleading requiring leave of Court, the moving party shall attach to the motion a copy of the proposed pleading or amendments and retain the original until the Court has ruled. If leave to file is granted, the moving party shall file the original forthwith.

Id. "The purpose of Local Rule 7.1(f) is to give the Court and the parties a chance to evaluate the sufficiency of the proposed pleading." Folkman v. Roster Fin., Nos. 05-2099, 05-2242, 05-2243, 05-2244, 05-2245, 2005 WL 2000169, at *8 n.7 (D.N.J. Aug. 15, 2005); see also U.F.C.W. Local 56 v. J.D.'s Market, 240 F.R.D. 149, 150 (D.N.J. 2007) (stating that one of the "cardinal rules" for a party seeking leave to amend a pleading is that a copy of the proposed amended pleading be attached to the motion). Failure to include a proposed amended complaint is a basis to deny a Plaintiff's motion to amend.[3] See, e.g., Tucker v. Wynne, No. 08-4390, 2009 WL 2448520, at *2 (D.N.J. Aug. 10, 2009).

Plaintiff did not submit a copy of a proposed amended complaint with any of his applications to amend. That deficiency is an independently sufficient basis to deny Plaintiff's requests for leave to amend. See Lake v. Arnold, 232 F.3d 360, 374 (3d Cir. 2000) (holding that even where the district court failed to provide a reason for its denial of plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint, the court had not abused its power in denying the motion because plaintiffs' "failure to provide a draft Amended Complaint would be an adequate basis on which the court could deny the [plaintiffs'] request").

B. Substantive Deficiencies

This Court will first consider whether the proposed additional defendants would be properly joined under Rule 20, ( see Waterloov Gutter Prot. Sys. Co. v. Absolute Gutter Prot., L.L.C., 64 F.Supp.2d 398, 407 (D.N.J. 1999)), and then proceed to determine if Plaintiff's proposed amendments are permissible under Rule 15. See Hinson v. Norwest Fin. S.C., Inc., 239 F.3d 611, 618 (4th Cir. 2001) (stating, "a court determining whether to grant a motion to amend to join additional [parties] must consider both the general principles of amendment provided by Rule 15(a) and also the more specific joinder provisions of Rule 20(a).").

In addition to Plaintiff's failure to submit a proposed pleading with his application(s) for leave to amend, his applications fail to satisfy the substantive requirements for a motion to amend. More specifically, Plaintiff's most recent attempts to add a laundry list of additional parties and additional claims fail for two distinct reasons. First, Plaintiff's attempts to add certain defendants does not comport with Federal Rule of ...


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