United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
CARLTON D. MALONE, Plaintiff,
VIGO COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Defendant.
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
pending before the Court is Plaintiff Carlton D. Malone's
Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint, [Filing No.
54], to which Defendant Vigo County Government
(“Vigo County”) objects, [Filing No.
55]. To put Mr. Malone's request in context, the
Court will first set forth the procedural history of this
November 17, 2014, Plaintiff Carlton D. Malone filed his
Complaint against Vigo County, alleging “that he has
been discriminated against based on his race and age and
retaliated against for engaging in protected
activities.” [Filing No. 1; Filing No.
4 (screening order).] Mr. Malone alleges that his claims
stem from more than eleven unsuccessful job applications
between December 2012 and July 2014, a picketing incident in
June 2011, and meetings with various Vigo County officials
from 2012 to 2014. [Filing No. 1 at 1-3.]
dispositive motions deadline in this action was initially set
for October 8, 2015. [Filing No. 17.] None of the
parties filed a dispositive motion, and the case was set for
trial in June 2016. [Filing No. 23; Filing No.
30.] Pursuant to a Court Order in anticipation of trial,
[Filing No. 27], Vigo County stated that it
understood Mr. Malone's action to be “a race and
age discrimination claim based on failure-to-hire” him.
[Filing No. 28 at 1.] Mr. Malone responded to that
filing, stating that his retaliation claims were based on
Vigo County's alleged “pattern of practice against
plaintiff in alleged retaliation of his protected activities
in failure to hire him.” [Filing No. 32 at 1.]
He also asserted that his age and race discrimination claims
were based on not hiring him for certain positions.
[Filing No. 32 at 1.] Mr. Malone did state that he
intended to add claims based on alleged “continual
harassment and retaliation from defendant from 12/6/14 to
3/10/16.” [Filing No. 32 at 2.] Mr. Malone
also noted that he “would like to add The Vigo County
School Corporation as a defendant.” [Filing No. 32
13, 2016, Vigo County moved to reopen discovery and
dispositive motions deadlines. [Filing No. 47.] The
Court granted that motion over Mr. Malone's objection,
and set new case management deadlines, including that
“[a]ny motions for leave to amend add new parties shall
be filed on or before June 3, 2016.” [Filing No. 47
at 1.] Mr. Malone later sought an extension of that
deadline to July 20, 2016, [Filing No. 49], and the
Court granted him the requested extension, noting that
“[t]his deadline is firm and will not be
extended.” [Filing No. 50.]
20, 2016, Mr. Malone filed an Amended Complaint without
asking for leave to do so. [Filing No. 51.] The
Court issued an Order stating that because Mr. Malone did not
move for leave to file the Amended Complaint, the Court would
“not consider it” at that time. [Filing No.
52.] Instead, the Court gave Mr. Malone until August 4,
2016 to move for leave to amend his complaint. [Filing
August 4, 2016, Mr. Malone filed his Motion for Leave to File
Amended Complaint. [Filing No. 54.] Mr. Malone moves
to amend his complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15 to add multiple new parties and new claims to
this litigation. [Filing No. 54; Filing No.
51 (proposed amended complaint).] He asserts that leave
should be granted to add the Vigo County School Corporation
and its Board of Directors and Superintendent based on
representations by defense counsel during a status
conference. [Filing No. 54 at 1.] Mr. Malone seeks
to allege claims against the Vigo County School Corporations
Superintendent because of alleged adverse actions during
2015-2016 Terre Haute South basketball games and claims
against the Vigo County CASA Program from allegedly
retaliating against him in February 2016 after learning of
this lawsuit. [Filing No. 54 at 1-2 (citing
treatment during the 2015-2016 Terre Haute South basketball
season); Filing No. 51 at 3 (representing that he
was hired to work as a CASA volunteer in February 2016 but
Vigo County Government objects to Mr. Malone's Motion for
Leave to Amend Complaint. [Filing No. 55.] It
contends that Mr. Malone's proposed amendments are futile
and seek to add parties without articulating any allegations
against them. [Filing No. 55.]
a motion for leave to amend a complaint is evaluated under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), which provides that
courts “should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” Alioto v. Town of Lisbon, 651 F.3d
715, 719 (7th Cir. 2011). A district court has “broad
discretion to deny leave to amend” under appropriate
circumstances. Arreola v. Godinez, 546 F.3d 788, 796
(7th Cir. 2008).
Court “should question” a pleading that joins
multiple defendants and distinct claims into a single suit.
See George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th
Cir. 2007) (“The district court did not question
George's decision to join 24 defendants, and
approximately 50 distinct claims, in a single suit. It should
have done so.”). The controlling principle appears in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a): “A party
asserting a claim to relief as an original claim,
counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join,
either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims,
legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an
opposing party.” But joinder of defendants in one
action is “proper only if there is asserted against
them jointly, severally, or in the alternative, any right to
relief in respect of or arising out of the same transaction,
occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if
any question of law or fact common to all defendants will
arise in the action.” George, 507 F.3d at 607
(citing Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 20(a)). In short,
unrelated claims against different defendants belong in
different suits. George, 507 F.3d at 607.
Malone's original Complaint attached a list of eleven
positions for which he applied with Vigo County between
December 2012 and July 2014. [Filing No. 1-2.] Mr.
Malone's claims in this action-as confirmed by his filing
more than fifteen months later-focus on the alleged
discrimination and retaliation he alleges that he suffered
from not being hired by Vigo County for those positions.
[See Filing No. 32 at 1.] While the Court
recognizes that discovery was reopened and a new dispositive
motions deadline was set after the June 2016 trial date was
vacated, [Filing No. 47], that did not give Mr.
Malone an opportunity to insert claims into this litigation
that are unrelated to the claims on which his Complaint is
based. It is apparent from Mr. Malone's Motion to Amend
that this is what he is trying to do. Specifically, Mr.
Malone tries to add parties and claims stemming from alleged
treatment that occurred long after he initiated this
litigation in November 2014. [Filing No. 54 at 1
(citing treatment during the 2015-2016 Terre Haute South
basketball season); Filing No. 51 at 3 (representing
that he was hired to work as a CASA volunteer in February
2016 but later terminated).] Allowing Mr. Malone to pursue
those claims in this litigation would violate the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. See DirecTV, Inc. v.
Leto, 467 F.3d 842, 844 (3d Cir. 2006)
(“Misjoinder . . . occurs when there is no common
question of law or fact or when, as here, the events that
give rise to the plaintiff's claims against defendants do
not stem from the same transaction.”). To the extent
that Mr. Malone seeks to amend his complaint to make
additional factual allegations regarding the unsuccessful job
applications on which his Complaint is based, such amendment
is unnecessary because of federal notice pleading.
See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a) (providing that
a pleading that states a claim for relief must contain, among
other things, “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief).
reasons stated herein, the Court DENIES Mr. Malone's
Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint. [Filing No.
54.] Accordingly, the Court is directed to STRIKE the
Amended Complaint that Mr. Malone filed without seeking leave
to do so. [Filing No. 51.] Mr. Malone's original
Complaint, [Filing No. 1], remains the operative