United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND
J. DINSMORE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to Amend Complaint. [Dkt. 24.] For the following
reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.
a former inmate at the Indiana Women's Prison, brought
suit against Defendants on December 16, 2016, alleging that
Defendants denied her request to be taken to a healthcare
provider to obtain an abortion and otherwise obstructed her
efforts to obtain the same. [Dkt. 1.] Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants' actions violated her Eighth Amendment right
against cruel and unusual punishment and her Fourteenth
Amendment right to lawfully terminate her pregnancy.
[Id.] Plaintiff seeks damages under 42 U.S.C §
1983. [Id. at 2.]
now seeks leave to file an amended complaint to allege
additional claims for injunctive and declaratory relief.
[Dkt. 24-1 at 12-14.] Specifically, Plaintiff seeks to enjoin
enforcement of Directive #03-12, a policy at the Indiana
Women's Prison which “prohibits scheduling an
inmate to visit an abortion provider unless the inmate has
pre-paid the costs of transportation and security to the
abortion provider.” [Id. at 12 (¶ 85).]
Defendant opposes the Motion, which is fully briefed and ripe
for consideration. [Dkts. 24, 25, & 26.]
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that the “court
should feely give leave” to amend the pleadings
“when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). However, “the district court need not allow
an amendment . . . when the amendment would be futile,
” Bethany Pharmacal Co. v. QVC, Inc., 241 F.3d
854, 861 (7th Cir. 2001), such as where an added claim
“could not survive a . . . motion to dismiss, ”
Foster v. DeLuca, 545 F.3d 852, 584 (7th Cir. 2008)
(internal quotation omitted).
argue that Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint would
be futile because Plaintiff lacks standing to bring her
proposed claims for injunctive and declaratory relief.
Specifically, Defendants maintain that because Plaintiff is
no longer incarcerated at the Indiana Women's Prison, she
lacks standing to pursue injunctive relief as to the
reply, Plaintiff contends that her proposed claims falls
under the “capable of repetition yet evading
review” exception to the standing doctrine because her
claims are based on her prior pregnancy. [Dkt. 26 at 1.]
is “the threshold question in every federal case,
determining the power of the court to entertain the
suit.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498
(1975). Under Article III of the Constitution, federal courts
have jurisdiction over “cases and controversies,
” but before a court can evaluate the merits of a case,
it must first establish whether the parties have
“standing to sue.” Whitmore v. Arkansas,
495 U.S. 149, 154-55 (1990). Standing is the aspect of
justiciability that assesses whether the plaintiff has a
personal stake in the outcome of the case. Warth,
422 U.S. at 498. There are three requirements to establish
standing: injury in fact, causation, and redressability.
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61
(1992). The injury must be “(a) concrete and
particularized and (b) actual or imminent.”
Id. (internal quotation and citations omitted). The
causal connection must be “fairly traceable to the . .
. defendant[, ]” and “it must be likely as
opposed to merely speculative that the injury will be
redressed by a favorable decision” Id.
(internal quotation and citations omitted). The plaintiff
bears the burden to establish all the elements of standing.
Apex Digital v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 572 F.3d
440, 443 (7th Cir. 2009).
there is standing at the beginning of a case, the mootness
doctrine requires that a justiciable controversy exist at all
stages throughout the litigation. See Arizonans for
Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 67 (1997).
“Federal courts may not decide questions that cannot
affect the rights of litigants in the case before
them.” Chafin v. Chafin, 568 U.S. 165, 172
(2013) (internal quotation and citation omitted). Therefore,
a case is moot if the plaintiff no longer has a personal
stake in the outcome of the case. Los Angeles v.
Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101 (1983) (internal quotation and
cases involving pregnancy are subject to an exception to the
typical standing and mootness requirements. Pregnancy can
happen at any time and is likely to come to term before a
trial can be completed. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113,
125 (1973). Because the termination of a pregnancy would
typically render the case moot, and “pregnancy
litigation seldom [would] survive much beyond the trial
stage, . . . appellate review [would] be effectively
denied” under the traditional mootness analysis.
Id. The Supreme Court has therefore concluded that
pregnancy is a “justification for a conclusion of
nonmootness.” Id. Pregnancy is the
paradigmatic case of an ephemeral phenomenon that is
“capable of repetition yet evading review”;
without the exception, cases based on pregnancy would be
regularly become moot before they could be evaluated.
the “capable of repetition yet evading review”
exception applies in the pregnancy context, the same standard
does not apply to cases claiming injury from incarceration.
See Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 716 (7th Cir.
2011). Instead, “[p]ast exposure to illegal conduct
does not in itself show a present case or controversy
regarding injunctive relief if . . . unaccompanied by any
continuing, present adverse effects.” O'Shea v.
Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 495-96 (1974). After being
released, a former inmate must demonstrate a “realistic
possibility that [s]he [would] again be incarcerated in the
same state facility and therefore be subject to the
actions” complained of in order to pursue a claim for
injunctive or declaratory ...