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Lewis v. Kennebec County

United States District Court, D. Maine

December 22, 2017

BRANDEE A. LEWIS, Plaintiff
v.
KENNEBEC COUNTY, et al., Defendants

          DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND AND DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO STRIKE

          John C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge

         In this action, Plaintiff Brandee Lewis alleges that Defendants violated certain constitutionally-protected rights while she was detained or incarcerated at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility. (Complaint at 2, ECF No. 1.)

         The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint to Add Parties (ECF No. 76); Defendant Vigue's Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff's Proposed Amended Complaint (ECF No. 77); and Defendant Vigue's Motion to Strike the Affidavit of Plaintiff's Counsel Submitted in Support of Plaintiff's Motion to Amend (ECF No. 78).[1]

         Following a review of the record and the proposed amended complaint (ECF No. 76), and after consideration of the parties' arguments, the Court grants Plaintiff's motion to amend, and denies Defendants' motions to strike.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges in part that Defendant Kimberly Vigue, in her capacity as a nurse employed by Correctional Health Partners, ignored Plaintiff's requests to forego her prescribed medication and forcibly administered medication to Plaintiff, including medication that was not prescribed.[2]

         Through her motion to amend, in addition to modifying the headings to some of the asserted counts and asserting additional counts, Plaintiff seeks to join as parties Kennebec County employees Myra Gagnon, Hannah Simmons, and Courtney Pierce, and Physician Health Partners, LLC. Plaintiff contends that discovery has revealed a factual basis to support claims against the Kennebec County employees based on their alleged assistance of Defendant Vigue and their failure to intervene on Plaintiff's behalf. (Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 71, 85, 91 - 94, 97, 98.) Plaintiff maintains that claims of negligent supervision (Count XII) and respondeat superior liability (Count XV), against Physician Health Partners are supportable because Physician Health Partners is the parent company of Defendant Correctional Health Partners, Defendant Vigue's employer. (Id. ¶¶ 26, 27.) Although Defendants object to certain aspects of the proposed amended complaint, with limited exceptions, Defendants do not oppose Plaintiff's request for leave to amend the complaint.

         Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend

         Rule 15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a litigant to amend a pleading “once as a matter of course, ” subject to certain time constraints. Thereafter, leave of court is required, though leave should be granted “freely . . . when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); see also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Because Plaintiff's motion to amend was filed more than 21 days after Plaintiff received an answer to her original complaint, absent the written consent of Defendants, Plaintiff must obtain leave of court to amend her complaint. To the extent a court determines a proposed claim would be futile because the facts fail to state an actionable claim, the court can deny the motion. Chiang v. Skeirik, 582 F.3d 238, 244 (1st Cir. 2009).

         Defendant Correctional Health Partners opposes Plaintiff's attempt to join Defendant's parent company, Physician Health Partners, as a party. Through the affidavit of its CEO, Defendant Correctional Health Partners contends that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Physician Health Partners. (Correctional Health Partners' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend, ECF No. 84; Aff. of Jeff Archambeau, [3] ECF No. 84-1.)

         In the proposed amended complaint, Plaintiff attempts to assert claims against Physician Health Partners based on its status as the parent company to Defendant Correctional Health Partners, which provided medical services to the Kennebec County Jail. Plaintiff asserts that both “Correctional Health Partners and Physician Health Partners, LLC transact substantial affairs in this District.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 4(d).)

         In Donatelli v. National Hockey League, 893 F.2d 459 (1st Cir. 1990), when assessing whether the trial court had personal jurisdiction over a parent company and a wholly-owned subsidiary, the First Circuit noted:

In general, the courts have presumed the institutional independence of parent and subsidiary when determining whether jurisdiction may be asserted over the parent solely on the basis of the subsidiary's contacts with the forum. But, the fact of separate incorporation is not alone determinative of a court's constitutional power to assert personal jurisdiction over the parent based on the subsidiary's ...

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