United States District Court, D. New Jersey
OPINION AND ORDER
B. CLARK, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on motions filed by
Plaintiff Gregory Alfone (“Plaintiff”) for leave
to file an amended complaint and to compel the production of
internal affairs documents. (ECF Nos. 26, 32). Defendants
Town of Boonton, Town of Boonton Police Department
(“Boonton PD”), Police Officer Christopher
Petonak (“Officer Petonak”), Police Officer
Stephen Jones (“Lieutenant Jones”), Police
Officer Anthony Limandri (“Officer Limandri”),
and Police Officer Andre Gibson (“Officer
Gibson”) (collectively referred to as “Boonton
Defendants”) oppose Plaintiff's motions. (ECF Nos.
29, 33). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's
motion for leave to file an amended complaint is
DENIED, and Plaintiff's motion to compel
the production of internal affairs documents is
DENIED in part, and GRANTED in part.
of background, this action arises from an incident occurring
on April 29, 2014, which involved Plaintiff and Boonton
Defendants. (Compl., ECF No. 1). Plaintiff claims Boonton
Defendants illegally entered his apartment, assaulted him,
and falsely arrested him. Id. Based on these events,
Plaintiff commenced this action on September 3, 2015 by the
filing of his Complaint. Id. Plaintiff's
Complaint alleges eight causes of action including assault
and battery, false arrest, violations of the fourth and fifth
amendments, civil conspiracy, and negligent hiring and/or
training. Id. On December 15, 2015, the Court
entered a Pretrial Scheduling Order directing the parties to
file motions for leave to amend the pleadings and/or to add
new parties no later than March 11, 2016. (ECF No. 14).
March 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his
Complaint to add a cause of action for failure to supervise
and to add two new Boonton Police Officers, Leroy Harris
(“Officer Harris”) and Steven Kairys
(“Officer Kairys”), as Defendants. (Pl.'s
Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 29). In addition, Plaintiff seeks to
withdraw his original negligent hiring and/or training claim,
and to withdraw all claims against Officer Gibson.
Id. According to Plaintiff, he has learned that
Officer Gibson was not involved in the incident in question.
Defendants oppose Plaintiff's motion to amend.
(See Defs.' Br. in Opp'n, ECF No. 29). They
argue that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate good cause and
should not be permitted to add new parties and a new claim.
Id. They further argue that Plaintiff failed to meet
the standard for leave to file an amended complaint under
Rule 15(a)(2) because there has been extensive delay and
Boonton Defendants will be severely prejudiced. Id.
On the other hand, Boonton Defendants do not oppose
Plaintiff's proposed amendments to withdraw Officer
Gibson and his original claim for negligent hiring and/or
On May 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel seeking
production of the internal affairs files of the Boonton
Defendants, Officer Leroy Harris and Officer Steven Kairys.
Plaintiff claims that he filed the present motion to compel
because the Boonton PD refused to provide the internal
affairs files, and resolution of this issue could not be
reached. (Pl.'s Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 32).
Defendants oppose Plaintiff's motion to compel.
(See Defs.' Opp'n Letter, ECF No. 33).
Boonton Defendants argue that they will be “greatly
prejudiced” if the Court compels production of the
internal affairs files because “they will be forced at
the eleventh hour of discovery to address any new issues that
arise out of the internal affairs files.” Id.
at 4. Boonton Defendants further argue that should the Court
grant Plaintiff's motion to compel, the Court should
limit the production of internal affairs files to the
following: (1) the files of the named Defendants only; (2)
files from the past five years; (3) and files that deal with
complaints of assault and battery, false arrest, conspiracy,
illegal search and seizure, violations of the
self-incrimination clause, and violations of the equal
protection clause.” Id. at 4. Lastly, Boonton
Defendants contend that any production of internal affairs
files must be strictly governed and protected by the
Confidentiality Order that this Court entered on January 9,
2016. Id. at 8.
MOTION TO AMEND
threshold issue in resolving a motion to amend is the
determination of whether the motion is governed by Rule 15 or
Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”
Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC, 2011 WL
5170445, at *2 (W.D.Pa. Oct. 31, 2011). Rule 15 states, in
pertinent part, “a party may amend its pleading only
with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave. The Court should freely give leave when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
“Rule 16, on the other hand, requires a party to
demonstrate ‘good cause' prior to the Court
amending its scheduling order.” Karlo, 2011 WL
5170445, at *2 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4)). In situations
such as the present, where a party seeks to amend
“after the deadline for doing so set by the Court, the
movant must satisfy the [good cause standard] of Rule 16
before the Court will turn to Rule 15.” Id. at
*2; see also Dimensional Commc'n, Inc. v. OZ Optics,
Ltd., 148 Fed.Appx. 82, 85 (3d Cir. 2005) (instructing
that the Third Circuit has adopted a good cause standard when
determining the propriety of a motion to amend after the
deadline has elapsed).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes courts to
enter schedules of proceedings. The pretrial scheduling order
allows a court to take “judicial control over a case
and to schedule dates for completion by the parties of the
principal pretrial steps.” Harrison Beverage Co. v.
Dribeck Imps., Inc., 133 F.R.D. 463, 469 (D.N.J. Oct.
19, 1990) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee's
note (1983 Amendment)); see also Newton v. A.C. & S.,
Inc., 918 F.2d 1121, 1126 (3d Cir. 1990) (stating the
purpose of Rule 16 is to provide for judicial control over
cases, streamline proceedings, maximize efficiency of the
court system, and actively manage the timetable of case
preparation to expedite speedy and efficient disposition of
scheduling order must, among other things, “limit the
time to join other parties, amend the pleadings, complete
discovery, and file motions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(3)(A).
The requirement of a deadline for amending pleadings in the
pretrial scheduling order “assures that at some point .
. . the pleadings will be fixed.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)
advisory committee's note (1983 Amendment); see also
Harrison, 133 F.R.D. at 469 (“The careful scheme
of reasonable framing and enforcement of scheduling orders
for case management would thus be nullified if a party could
inject amended pleadings upon a showing of less than good
cause after scheduling deadlines have expired”). The
burden is on the moving party to show “good
cause” for its failure to comply with the applicable
scheduling order, and accordingly, for the Court to allow its
proposed amended pleading. Prince v. Aiellos, No.
09-5429, 2012 WL 1883812, at *6 (D.N.J. May 22, 2012)
(quoting Graham, 271 F.R.D. at 118); see also
Race Tires Am., Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 614
F.3d 57, 84 (3d Cir. 2010) (affirming the trial court's
holding that “Rule 16(b)(4) focuses on the moving
party's burden to show due diligence”).
“good cause” exists under Rule 16 hinges to a
large extent on the diligence, or lack thereof, of the moving
party. GlobespanVirata, Inc. v. Texas Instruments,
Inc., 2005 WL 1638136, at *3 (D.N.J. July 12, 2005)
(quoting Rent-A-Ctr. v. Mamaroneck Ave. Corp., 215
F.R.D. 100, 104 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2003)). Put succinctly,
“[a]bsent diligence, there is no ‘good
cause.' ” Chancellor v. Pottsgrove Sch.
Dist.,501 F.Supp.2d 695, 702 (E.D.Pa. Aug.8, 2007);
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b), advisory
committee's note (1983 Amendment) (“[T]he ...