United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
Adam Crandall BLEEKE DILLON CRANDALL ATTORNEYS
Christopher Andrew Farrington BLEEKE DILLON CRANDALL
Elizabeth Fiorini INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
J. Guillory OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL CURTIS HILL
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT,
DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS, AND DENYING MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS MOOT
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Phillip Littler's
motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, Dkt. No.
189. Mr. Littler seeks to amend his complaint to add claims
against two defendants, Lieutenant Laurie Petty and Major
date, this action has proceeded with Eighth Amendment
excessive force, failure-to-intervene, and
conditions-of-confinement claims against several correctional
officers. These claims include allegations that officers
forcibly removed Mr. Littler from his cell, beat him,
stripped him naked, forcibly bathed him, and paraded him
naked in front of other inmates and prison staff.
proposed second amended complaint alleges that Lieutenant
Petty and Major Russell were involved in the cell extraction
and ordered other officers to use gratuitous force to bathe
Mr. Littler and then parade him naked in front of other
inmates and prison staff. It further alleges that Maj or
Russell knew that Mr. Littler was being assaulted routinely
by prison staff but took no action to stop the assaults.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 provides that, as a general rule,
a court ‘should freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.'” Gonzalez-Koeneke v.
West, 791 F.3d 801, 807 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2)). “The Supreme Court has
interpreted [Rule 15(a)(2)] to require a district court to
allow amendment unless there is a good reason-futility, undue
delay, undue prejudice, or bad faith-for denying leave to
amend.” Life Plans, Inc. v. Sec. Life of Denver
Ins. Co., 800 F.3d 343, 357-58 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). But when,
as here, a plaintiff moves to amend his complaint after the
deadline set by the Court, the Court applies the
“heightened good-cause standard of Rule 16(b)(4) before
considering whether the requirements of Rule 15(a)(2) were
satisfied.” Alioto v. Town of Lisbon, 651 F.3d
715, 719 (7th Cir. 2011). “In making a Rule 16(b)
good-cause determination, the primary consideration for
district courts is the diligence of the party seeking
amendment.” Id. at 720.
Littler acknowledges that this motion for leave to amend
comes late in the proceedings. However, his motion asserts
that he attempted to identify all participants in the cell
extraction through discovery and that the state
defendants' responses did not identify Lieutenant Petty.
Mr. Littler further states that he first identified
Lieutenant Petty as a participant after the state defendants
only recently gave him an opportunity to view video of the
extraction. At that time, Mr. Littler says, another
correctional officer informed him of Major Russell's role
in the incident.
state defendants do not dispute that Mr. Littler timely
attempted to identify all participants in the extraction
through discovery, that their discovery responses did not
identify Lieutenant Petty or Major Russell, or that
Lieutenant Petty can be seen participating in the extraction
on the video. They also do not suggest that Mr. Littler had
an earlier opportunity to review the video or identify
Lieutenant Petty or Major Russell by different means.
Instead, they argue that any claims against the new
defendants would be screened out pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b) and that permitting amendment at this late stage
would unduly prejudice the defendants.
allegations in the proposed second amended complaint are more
than sufficient to support plausible Eighth Amendment claims
against Lieutenant Petty and Major Russell. In short, it
alleges that they ordered correctional officers to use
excessive force against Mr. Littler. It remains to be seen
whether evidence will substantiate those allegations, but the
allegations are sufficient to state viable Eighth Amendment
prejudice, the Court is not eager to permit amendment at this
late stage in the litigation, and the Court recognizes that
the defendants moved for summary judgment months ago.
However, the docket also reflects that the defendants moved
for summary judgment before satisfying all of Mr.
Littler's discovery requests. Mr. Littler's good
cause for amending the complaint-that is, his late receipt of
information he sought timely in discovery-outweighs the
prejudice that the amendment will work upon the defendants.
Further, the Court finds that prejudice may be mitigated by a
schedule that permits only a brief period for new discovery
necessitated by the addition of these two new defendants
before moving quickly to dispositive motions.
reasons stated above, Mr. Littler's motion for leave to
file a second amended complaint, Dkt. No. 189, is
granted. The clerk is
directed to docket pages 5-11 of Dkt. No. 189 as the
second amended complaint. Due to the amendment, the