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Arman v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 10, 2019

ANDREW ARMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JASON DAVIS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion for leave to amend answer out of time filed by defendants Jason Davis, Cindy Griffith, and Alan Earls. (Doc. 49). Pro se plaintiff Andrew Arman opposes the motion. The motion will be granted for the following reasons.

         I. Background

         On September 1, 2017, plaintiff filed this civil rights action against three corrections officers, Jason Davis, Cindy Griffith, and Alan Earls (collectively “defendants”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint on October 16, 2017. (Doc. 10). Defendants filed a timely answer, which did not include the affirmative defense of qualified immunity. (Doc. 20). On October 5, 2018, defendants filed a motion for substitution of counsel, which the Court granted. (Docs. 30, 32).

         In the instant motion, defendants request leave to amend their answer pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) to include the affirmative defense of qualified immunity. Defendants argue that after reviewing discovery, “including Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and a deposition of the [p]laintiff on March 11, 2019, ” defendants' counsel “determined that the discovered facts would lead to the application of the affirmative defense of qualified immunity.” (Doc. 49). Defendants subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment, partially supported by the affirmative defense of qualified immunity. (Doc. 53).

         On May 31, 2019, the Court issued a Memorandum and Order instructing defendants that their motion for leave to amend answer out of time was filed pursuant to the incorrect standard. (Doc. 58 at 2-3) (“where a party seeks leave to amend its pleadings after the deadline in the case management order has passed, Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)'s good-cause standard applies, not the more liberal standard of Rule 15(a)”). The Court permitted defendants to file a supplement to their motion for leave to amend answer out of time pursuant to the correct standard. Defendants timely filed their supplement. (Doc. 59). Plaintiff did not file a response within the time permitted by the Memorandum and Order.

         II. Legal Standard

         Under Rule 16(b)(4), a party must show good cause in order to be granted leave to amend. Hartis v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 948 (8th Cir. 2012); Sherman v.Winco Fireworks, Inc., 532 F.3d 709, 716 (8th Cir. 2008); Popoalii v. Correctional Med. Servs., 512 F.3d 488, 497 (8th Cir. 2008). “‘The primary measure of good cause is the movant's diligence in attempting to meet the [case management] order's requirements.'” Hartis, 694 F.3d at 948 (quoting Rahn v. Hawkins, 464 F.3d 813, 822 (8th Cir. 2006)). Instead of evaluating prejudice to the nonmovant, the Court should “‘focus in the first instance (and usually solely) on the diligence of the party who sought modification of the order.'” Id. Where there has been “‘no change in the law, no newly discovered facts, or any other changed circumstance . . . after the scheduling deadline for amending pleadings,' then [the Court] may conclude that the moving party has failed to show good cause.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         Defendants argue that only after reviewing discovery, including interrogatories, requests for admissions, and plaintiff's deposition testimony, did defendants determine that the affirmative defense of qualified immunity applied in the instant case.

         Attached to defendants' supplement is the partial transcript of plaintiff's deposition, taken on March 11, 2019, and plaintiff's answers to three requests for admissions, received by defendants on March 21, 2019. Plaintiff testified at deposition that he remembered kicking a corrections officer and admitted that the officers' response “could have been” the result of his non-compliance with orders. (Doc. 59-1). Additionally, plaintiff responded with “True” to the following two requests for admissions:

REQUEST NO. 8: Admit that you were escorted to and secured in the HU-2A restraint bench in an effort to maintain control of the situation as a direct result of your fighting with MDOC personnel.
REQUEST NO. 9: Admit that your persistent combative behavior and noncompliance necessitated the use by MDOC personnel ...

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