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Lopez-Aguirre v. Board of County Commissioners

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

September 30, 2013

LAURA V. LOPEZ-AGUIRRE, Individually, as Administrator of the Estate of Julio C. Aguirre, deceased, and as Next Friend for her Minor Children Em. A. and El. Al, Plaintiffs,
v.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

KENNETH G. GALE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint to Add New Parties (Doc. 123), seeking permission to add three Shawnee County Department of Corrections employees as new Defendants. (See generally Doc. 124.) After a careful review of the submissions of the parties, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion.

BACKGROUND

In the present action, Plaintiff brings various state law and federal Constitutional claims against Defendants resulting from the death of her husband following his arrest in December 2010. The factual background of this case was summarized in the District Court’s Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. (See Doc. 75, at 2-4.) That summary is incorporated herein by reference.

Following this Order from the District Court, Plaintiff filed her Second Amended Complaint on May 5, 2013. (Doc. 76.) A revised Scheduling Order was entered on June 7, 2013, including a deadline of July 22, 2013, to file motions to join additional parties or otherwise amend the pleadings. (Doc. 94, at 6.) In the present motion, which was timely filed, Plaintiff seeks leave to file a Third Amended Complaint, which identifies three new Department of Corrections employees as individual Defendants. (Doc. 123.)

DISCUSSION

Federal Rule 15(a) provides, in pertinent part, that “a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party’s written consent or the court’s leave.” In the absence of any apparent or declared reason, such as undue delay, undue prejudice to the opposing party, bad faith or dilatory motive, failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, or futility of amendment, leave to amend should be freely given, as required by the federal rule. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962); Frank v. U.S. West, Inc., 3 F.3d 1357, 1365 (10th Cir. 1993). A court is justified in denying a motion to amend as futile if the proposed amendment could not withstand a motion to dismiss or otherwise fails to state a claim. Ketchum v. Cruz, 961 F.2d 916, 920 (10th Cir. 1992); see 6 Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1487 at 642 (1990).

As stated above, the events at issue occurred in December 2010. Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s claims are futile because the two-year statute of limitations has expired unless they relate back to the filing of the original complaint per Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c). (Doc. 134, at 2.) Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 (c)(1) states that An amendment to a pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading when:

(A) the law that provides the applicable statute of limitations allows relation back;
(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out – or attempted to be set out – in the original pleading; or
(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:
(I) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and
(ii) knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake concerning ...

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