United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JASON A. REED, Plaintiff,
P. LEFLORE, J. COLLINS, T. THIBEAULT, and C. HUGHES, Defendants.
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT
AND MOTION FOR JOINDER AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF
J. McKINNEY, JUDGE
Jason A. Reed filed his pro se complaint on February 5, 2015.
On March 28, 2016, counsel was recruited by the Court to
represent Reed. Now before the Court is the plaintiff's
motion to amend the complaint and motion to join new
defendants. For the reasons explained below, these motions
[dkts. 70 and 71] are granted in part and denied in part.
original complaint, Reed complains that he has been denied
constitutionally adequate conditions of confinement in
violation of the Eighth Amendment and state law. He seeks
compensatory and punitive damages and declaratory relief.
alleges that after his transfer to the New Castle Annex he
informed prison health care professionals that he has a
seizure disorder and they issued him a bottom bunk/lower
level pass. This pass was sent to defendant P. Leflore. But
despite the pass, Leflore moved Reed in September 2013 into a
“top bunk” location. Defendants Leflore and
Collins directed Reed to accept the bed move or receive a
conduct report. When Reed stated that he had a valid bottom
bunk pass and known seizure disorder the defendants stated
that they did not care.
September 19, 2013, Reed had a seizure while climbing down
from the top bunk. As a result, he fell and hit his face.
Officers T. Thibealt and C. Hughes responded to the fall.
They took pictures of Reed's injuries and helped him to
the prison medical center. The treating nurse cleaned
Reed's injuries and told Thibeault and Hughes that Reed
had a bottom bunk pass and seizure disorder.
and Hughes then ordered Reed back to his cell and into his
top bunk and stated that if he refused he would receive a
conduct report for refusing an order. When Reed continued to
request a bottom bunk he was told by Leflore and Collins that
he would have to find his own bottom bunk. On September 21,
2013, Reed had another seizure and fell from his top bunk.
Court screened the original complaint and found that two
plausible claims were alleged. The first claim is that the
defendants violated the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment
rights by denying him constitutionally adequate conditions of
confinement. The second claim is a state law negligence claim
based on the theory that the defendants had a duty to provide
Reed a safe living environment (specially a bottom bunk), and
that this duty was breached which proximately caused
absent from the complaint were any allegations suggesting a
claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act or
Rehabilitation Act, a contract claim, a policy claim or a
claim for injunctive relief. Neither the Indiana Department
of Correction (“IDOC”) nor The GEO Group, Inc.,
(“GEO”) were named as defendants.
Motion to Amend and Motion to Join Defendants
now seeks to amend his complaint to include new plaintiffs,
defendants and claims. The new plaintiffs are a Class of
similarly situated persons. The new defendants are GEO, the
Commissioner of the IDOC (the “Commissioner”),
and the IDOC. Finally, new claims are asserted pursuant to
the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act, the Fourteenth Amendment and a state law
breach of contract claim. The amended complaint appears to
abandon any state law negligence claim.
Standard of Review
the amendments proposed by the plaintiff should be permitted
is governed by Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 15(a) provides that “leave shall be
freely given when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). However, “the district court need not allow
an amendment when there is undue delay, bad faith, dilatory
motive, undue prejudice to the opposing party, or when the
amendment would be futile.” Bethany Phamacal Co. v.
QVC, Inc., 241 F.3d 854, 860-61 (7th Cir. 2001).
“An amendment is futile if the added claim would not
survive a motion for summary judgment.” Id. at
861. Furthermore, amendments cannot “unfairly surprise
or prejudice the defendant.” Toth v. USX
Corp., 883 F.2d 1297, 1298 (7th Cir. 1989). Whether to
grant or deny leave to amend is within the district
court's discretion. Campbell v. Ingersoll Milling
Machine Co., 893 F.2d 925, 927 (7th Cir. 1990).
case, the pro se complaint was well written and
there is no indication from the briefing on the motion to
amend that the Court misunderstood or disregarded any claims
which were alleged. Instead, the proposed Amended Complaint
seeks to transform this straightforward case into a class
action with new claims against new defendants. Reed notes
that the proposed Amended Complaint reflects a re-evaluation
of the case with the benefit of counsel. Defendants P.
Leflore, J. Collins, T. Thibeult, and C. Hughes object to the
amended complaint arguing that a class action has not been
adequately alleged; the proposed amendments are untimely; and
the defendants would be unduly prejudiced. ...