United States District Court, D. Maine
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO
INCORPORATE SARAH LEPLANTE’S MEDICAL LICENSE (ECF NO.
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
action, Plaintiff Joseph Edward Bovin Belskis contends that
Defendants violated his civil rights in connection with his
pretrial detention at the Somerset County Jail pending the
resolution of federal criminal charges. In particular,
Plaintiff maintains Defendants’ failure to address
properly his serious medical condition constitutes a
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to
Incorporate Sarah LePlante’s Medical License. (ECF No.
124.) Construing Plaintiff’s motion as a
motion to amend his complaint, the Court denies the motion.
commenced this action with the filing of a complaint on March
6, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) Although Plaintiff referenced
“defendant LaPlante” in his complaint
(id. ¶ 18), he did not identify her in his
caption, nor did he identify her as a defendant when he
listed the medical staff at the Somerset County Jail.
(Id. ¶¶ 11 - 17.) As reflected by the
August 31, 2015, Recommended Decision in the case, Ms.
LaPlante was never served with the complaint, and was not
considered by the Court to be a party to the case. (ECF No.
53 at 1.) While Plaintiff has asked to include Ms. LaPlante
in the case, he did not file a proposed amended complaint,
nor has he otherwise alleged any facts in support of his
claim against Ms. LaPlante.
Scheduling Order, the Court established February 22, 2016, as
the deadline for the joinder of parties. (ECF No. 81.) The
deadline was not extended. Discovery is scheduled to close on
August 15, 2016, and the case is expected to be ready for
trial in November. (ECF No. 140.)
15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a
litigant to amend a pleading “as a matter of
course” subject to certain time constraints. However,
when a party seeks to amend a complaint more than 21 days
after the filing of a responsive pleading, the other
party’s consent or leave of court is required in order
to amend the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). In such a
case, the court is to grant leave to amend
“freely” when “justice so requires.”
Id.; see also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
182 (1962) (“In the absence of any apparent or declared
reason-such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on
the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies
by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment,
futility of amendment, etc.-the leave sought should, as the
rules require, be ‘freely given.’”).
standard is elevated when the motion to amend is filed after
the court’s scheduling order deadline for amendment of
pleadings. A motion to amend that is filed beyond the
deadline established in a scheduling order requires an
amendment of the scheduling order. To obtain an amendment of
the scheduling order, a party must demonstrate good cause.
Johnson v. Spencer Press of Maine, Inc., 211 F.R.D.
27, 30 (D. Me. 2002); El-Hajj v. Fortis Benefits Ins.
Co., 156 F.Supp.2d 27, 34 (D. Me. 2001); Fed.R.Civ.P.
16(b)(4). Because Plaintiff filed his motion on May 11, 2016,
Plaintiff must first demonstrate good cause.
court’s decision on good cause “focuses on the
diligence (or lack thereof) of the moving party more than it
does on any prejudice to the party-opponent.” Steir
v. Girl Scouts of the USA, 383 F.3d 7, 12 (1st Cir.
2004). “Particularly disfavored are motions to amend
whose timing prejudices the opposing party by
‘requiring a re-opening of discovery with additional
costs, a significant postponement of the trial, and a likely
major alteration in trial tactics and strategy.’”
Id. (quoting Acosta-Mestre v. Hilton Int’l
of P.R., Inc., 156 F.3d 49, 52 (1st Cir. 1998)).
Ultimately, it falls to the court’s discretion whether
to grant a motion to amend, and that discretion should be
exercised on the basis of the particular facts and
circumstances of the case. Id.
although Plaintiff was aware of Ms. LaPlante’s
involvement in his care when he filed the complaint, he did
not seek to join her as a party until 14 months after he
filed the complaint, and nearly 3 months after the joinder
deadline passed. Plaintiff has offered no reasonable
explanation for the delay in his attempt to assert a claim
against Ms. LaPlante. If the Court permitted Plaintiff to
assert a claim against Ms. LaPlante, Ms. LaPlante would be
entitled to conduct discovery. The trial of the matter,
therefore, would be delayed. In short, given that Plaintiff
was aware of his potential claim against Ms. LaPlante when he
filed this action, given that discovery would have to be
extended resulting in a delay of the trial, and given the
lack of explanation for Plaintiff’s delay in asserting
the claim, the record does not support the good cause finding
necessary to permit the amendment at this stage of the
Futility of Amendment
Plaintiff were to demonstrate good cause to file a late
motion to amend, denial of the motion is appropriate if the
Court determines that the proposed amendment would be futile.
Chiang v. Skeirik, 582 F.3d 238, 244 (1st Cir.
2009). Deliberate indifference is akin to criminal
recklessness, “requiring actual knowledge of impending
harm, easily preventable.” Feeney v. Corr. Med.
Servs., 464 F.3d at 162 (quoting Watson v.
Caton, 984 F.2d 537, 540 (1st Cir. 1993)). In this case,
Plaintiff has not in any pleading asserted any facts that
would support a claim of deliberate indifference against Ms.
LaPlante. Indeed, the sole reference to Ms. LaPlante in
Plaintiff’s pleadings states only that she issued a
written denial of Plaintiff’s request for diabetic
prescription shoes on December 7, 2012, on the same date that
Defendants Ellis and Cates denied Plaintiff’s request
for diabetic footwear. (Complaint ¶ 18, ECF No. 1;
Amended Complaint ¶ 17, ECF No. 59.) There is no
suggestion in the complaint that Ms. LaPlante was ever
involved in Plaintiff’s medical care or that she had
the authority to overrule the treatment or policy-related
decisions of either Defendant Ellis (the PA attending to
Plaintiff’s osteomyelitis on that date) or Defendant
Cates (allegedly the medical supervisor). Not
insignificantly, Ms. LaPlante’s title and authority are
not set forth in Plaintiff’s pleadings. In sum, the
solitary allegation that Ms. LaPlante issued a written denial
of Plaintiff’s request for diabetic prescription shoes,
contemporaneously with the denials issued by Defendants Cates
and Ellis, could not reasonably support a claim of deliberate
indifference. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset,640 F.3d 1, 16 (1st Cir. 2011) (“Public officials may
be held liable under § 1983 for a constitutional
violation only if a plaintiff can ...