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Alkhalidi v. Purcell

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

July 1, 2015

ABDULLAH ALKHALIDI, Plaintiff,
v.
R. PURCELL SGT., P. ARNOLD SGT., K. STONE OFFICER, B. PHILLIPS OFFICER, S. BURRIS OFFICER, GILSTRAP OFFICER, EWERS OFFICER, LAMB OFFICER, S. FLEENER LPN, LENNINGS NURSE, RICHARD BROWN, C. NICKOLSON LT., JERRY SNYDER, OTHER UNKNOWN DEFENDANTS, Defendants.

ENTRY DISCUSSING COMPLAINT, DENYING MOTION TO AMEND AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.

I. The Complaint

The complaint filed by counsel on August 23, 2014, alleges that 13 defendants, along with "other unknown defendants" violated the Alkhalidi's Eighth Amendment rights (as incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment) and the Indiana Tort Claims Act while he was incarcerated at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility ("Wabash Valley").

These thirteen defendants did not include Case Manager Beverly Gilmore. See Myles v. United States, 416 F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2005) (to make someone a party the plaintiff must specify him in the caption and arrange for service of process; the court cannot add litigants on its own motion). Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that the "title of the complaint must name all the parties...." A "party" is "[o]ne by or against whom a lawsuit is brought." See U.S. ex rel Eisenstein v. City of New York, 129 S.Ct. 2230, 2234 (2009)) (citing Black's Law Dictionary 1154 (8th ed. 2004)). However, the plaintiff is now proceeding pro se and the proposed amended complaint along with the text of the original complaint make clear that Beverly Gilmore was intended as a defendant in this action. Accordingly, the original complaint is understood to include Beverly Gilmore as a defendant and the clerk is directed to update the docket to include this defendant.

The complaint alleges that on August 23, 2012, Alkhalidi's legs were shackled and his hands cuffed behind his back. His body was connected to a lead strap under the control of Sgt. P. Arnold. Sgt. Arnold pulled the strap causing Alkhalidi to fall head first against the floor and defendants Sgt. Arnold, Sgt. Purcell, and Officers Stone, Phillips, Burris, Gilstrap, Ewers and Lamb then struck, kicked and stomped on Alkhalidi causing injuries in violation of the Eighth Amendment and the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

Following the attack, defendants Nurses Fleener and Teresa Lennings (now Teresa Allen) observed or examined Alkhalidi but failed to provide him any medical attention in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Superintendent Richard Brown, Lt. Nickolson, Jerry Snyder and Beverly Gilmore allegedly had supervisory authority at Wabash Valley and approved a policy and practice of correctional officers using excessive force against Alkhalidi and other offenders. These supervisory defendants allegedly failed to properly train correctional officers regarding the use of excessive force against offenders, all in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Alkhalidi seeks injunctive relief from Superintendent Richard Brown, in his official capacity, to secure additional medical treatment. He also seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as costs and fees.

II. Motion to Amend

A.

Now before the Court is the plaintiff's pro se motion to amend the complaint [dkt. 30] filed on April 24, 2015 (the date plaintiff placed the motion into institutional mail). See dkt. 40 (notice of mailing). The amended complaint seeks to add additional claims and defendants to this action. In addition to the fourteen defendants named in the original complaint (including defendant Gilmore), he names six new defendants. Two of these defendants are employed at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Three are employed at New Castle Correctional Facility and one is a statewide defendant. The new defendants include Correctional Officers Steve Carpenter, Chapman, and E. Shelly, as well as, Lt. Stormes, Warden Butts and Final Reviewing Authority Robert Bugher.

B.

The defendants opposed the motion to amend. First, the defendants argue that the deadline for all motions for leave to amend the pleadings and/or to join additional parties has passed. But accepting the plaintiff's representations in his notice [dkt. 40] as true, the motion to amend was filed prior to the April 27, 2015, deadline. Pursuant to the "prison mailbox rule, " a pro se prisoner's complaint is deemed filed when it is handed over to prison staff for mailing, not on the date it is received by the clerk of the court (which in this case was April 30, 2015). See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 275-76 (1988); Ingram v. Jones, 507 F.3d 640, 643-45 (7th Cir. 2007); Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 925 (6th Cir. 2008). The motion is therefore considered timely.

Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that "leave shall be freely given when justice so requires, " but the Court will not allow the plaintiff to amend his complaint when to do so would be futile. Moore v. Indiana, 999 F.2d 1125, 1128 (7th Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). The defendants argues that that is the case here. First, they argue that the new allegations all relate to disciplinary charges, conduct hearings, and the grievance and appeals processes, and all are unrelated to the incident, which is the subject of his Complaint. In support of this conclusion, the defendants note that three of the newly proposed Defendants (Stormes, E. Shelly, and Butts) are employees of New Castle Correctional Facility, and thus, could not have been involved in the incident which is the subject of the Complaint, which occurred at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. In addition, they argue, the allegations relating to the grievance or appeals processes are not appropriate subjects for this cause of action and are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) and Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997) (finding ...


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