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Rivera v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 1, 2014

ANGEL RIVERA, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DOUGLAS E. ARPERT, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion of Plaintiff Angel Rivera seeking Leave to file an Amended Complaint [dkt. no. 23]. Defendants have opposed Plaintiff's Motion [dkt. no. 24]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The facts and procedural history of this matter are well known to the parties and need not be recited at length. As pertains to the present Motion, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendants on July 09, 2012, alleging that Defendants had improperly withheld records concerning Plaintiff's name under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. See Compl. at ¶ 1, dkt no. 1. Plaintiff's Complaint seek an Order declaring Defendants' refusal to disclose the requested records was unlawful, that Defendants must provide Plaintiff with the requested records, and that Defendants must pay Plaintiff's costs and reasonable attorney's fees as provided in 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(4)(E). See Compl. at ¶ 9.

In his Motion to Amend, Plaintiff seeks to add claims for punitive and compensatory damages from Defendants. See Am. Compl. at p. 3, dkt. no. 23. According to Plaintiff, the Court should impose punitive damages against Defendants "in the amount of $100, 000.00 because Defendants acted with recklessness in initially stating that no records exist." Id. at ¶ 13. In addition, Plaintiff seeks "sufficient compensatory damages to indemnify Plaintiff for the loss suffered." Id.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 governs amendments to pleadings. According to Rule 15(a)(1)(a), "[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(a). After the 21-day period expires, "a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave." FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a)(2). The Rule further provides that "the court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Id .; see also Lake v. Arnold , 232 F.3d 360, 373-74 (3d Cir. 2000) citing Foman v. Davis , 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). The decision to permit a Plaintiff to amend his Complaint rests within the sound discretion of the Court. See Morton International, Inc. v. A.E. Staley Manuf. Co. , 106 F.Supp.2d 737, 744 (D.N.J. 2000).

In Foman, the Supreme Court set forth several factors for courts to consider in deciding whether to grant leave to amend. The factors include:

(1) Undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant;
(2) Repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendment previously allowed;
(3) Undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment;
(4) Futility of the amendment.

See Foman 371 U.S. at 182. Unless the balancing of these factors weighs in favor of denying the amendment, ...


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