United States District Court, D. Maine
MICHAEL J. JAMES, Plaintiff
ERIC BUENO, et al., Defendants
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND; RECOMMENDED
DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR DEFAULT
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
action, Plaintiff Michael James, an inmate at the Maine State
Prison, alleges Defendants deprived him of certain federal
rights when they placed him in solitary confinement based on
false accusations. (Complaint at 3, ¶ IV.) He asserts
the confinement included the use of excessive force.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's request for
default judgment against Defendant Joy Hall (ECF No. 31) and
Plaintiff's motion to amend (ECF No. 29) through which he
requests leave to join two additional defendants.
review of the motions, I grant in part the motion to amend,
and recommend the Court deny the motion for default judgment.
Motion for Default Judgment
filed this action on August 15, 2016. The U.S. Marshal served
Defendant Hall on September 21, 2016. (Process Receipt and
Return, ECF No. 28.) Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(a), Defendant Hall was required to file a
responsive pleading to the complaint within 21 days of
service. On October 12, 2016, Defendant Hall filed a motion
to dismiss, which constitutes a responsive pleading to the
complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). Defendant Hall thus filed a
response to Plaintiff's complaint in accordance with the
applicable rules of procedure. Accordingly, Plaintiff is not
entitled to the entry of default judgment.
Motion to Amend
support of his motion to amend, Plaintiff asserts he can now
identify two additional defendants, Samantha Kieltyka and
Stephen Pease, whose names were not known to him when he
filed his complaint. Particularly in initial stages of a
case, leave to amend should be freely given. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Nevertheless, leave to amend is properly denied for
“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.” Foman v. Davis,
371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). A “futile” amendment is
one that “would fail to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted.” Glassman v. Computervision
Corp., 90 F.3d 617, 623 (1st Cir. 1996). In other words,
“if the proposed amendment would be futile because, as
thus amended, the complaint still fails to state a claim, the
district court acts within its discretion in denying the
motion to amend.” Boston & Me. Corp. v.
Hampton, 987 F.2d 855, 868 (1st Cir. 1993).
determine whether Plaintiff has stated a claim against the
proposed defendants, the Court must “assume the truth
of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit
of all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Blanco v.
Bath Iron Works Corp., 802 F.Supp.2d 215, 221 (D. Me.
2011) (quoting Genzyme Corp. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 622
F.3d 62, 68 (1st Cir. 2010)). To state a claim, Plaintiff
must establish that his allegations raise a plausible basis
for a factfinder to conclude that the proposed defendant is
legally responsible for the alleged claims. Id.
attempts to assert a claim against Samantha Kieltyka, a
registered nurse employed at the Maine State Prison by
Correct Care Solutions. Plaintiff, however, has not alleged
any facts regarding Ms. Kieltyka's conduct. Plaintiff
thus has failed to assert any facts from which a factfinder
could plausibly conclude Ms. Kieltyka violated
Plaintiff's constitutional rights. The requested
amendment to join Ms. Kieltyka as a party, therefore, would
seeks to assert a claim against Stephen Pease, a corrections
officer who works in the Intensive Mental Health Unit of the
Maine State Prison. Plaintiff alleges that on September 19,
2016, through the use of excessive force, Mr. Pease fractured
Plaintiff's wrist. (Motion at 1 - 2.) Plaintiff's
allegations against Mr. Pease are sufficient, at this stage