United States District Court, D. Maine
NICHOLAS A. GLADU, Plaintiff
GARY WALTZ, et al., Defendants
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge
action, Plaintiff, an inmate at the Maine State Prison,
claims that Defendants Casey Chadwick and Gary Waltz, both
officers at the Prison, violated his rights under the First
Amendment, discriminated against Plaintiff in violation of
the Equal Protection Clause, and deprived Plaintiff of
liberty and property without due process, by censoring
incoming publications purchased by Plaintiff. The Court
ordered service following a screening review of the original
complaint and Defendants accepted service of the complaint.
Defendants have not yet answered the complaint.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to amend
the complaint to join as a party Grievance Review Officer
Josh Black. (ECF No. 26.) According to the proposed amended
complaint (ECF No. 26-1), Officer Black failed to process
Plaintiff's grievance paperwork regarding the
media-related claims, in violation of the Department's
Grievance Policy. Plaintiff alleges that Officer Black
conspired with Defendants Chadwick and Waltz to obstruct
Plaintiff's claims and deny him due process with respect
to the publications he purchased. After review of the
proposed amendment to the complaint, the Court grants the
motion to amend.
15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a
plaintiff to amend the complaint “once as a matter of
course” within 21 days after service of the complaint.
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) (“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.'”). To the extent a court determines a claim
advanced or supplemented through a motion to amend 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).
the record reflects Defendants were served with the complaint
on September 28, 2018. (ECF No. 17.) Plaintiff filed the
motion to amend on October 17, 2018, i.e., within 21-days of
service. Plaintiff, therefore, is entitled to amend his
pleading unless the amendment would be futile.
grievance review officer, Mr. Black ordinarily would not be
subject to a due process claim for failure to implement the
grievance review process. Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81
F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir. 1996) (“[A] state's
inmate grievance procedures do not give rise to a liberty
interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”);
Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994)
(“[T]here is no constitutional right to participate in
grievance proceedings.”); Charriez v. Sec'y,
Fla. Dep't of Corr., 596 Fed. App'x 890, 895
(11th Cir. 2015) (“Because the prison grievance
procedure does not create a protected liberty interest,
Charriez does not have a federal constitutional right within
that administrative-grievance procedure.”); Von
Hallcy v. Clements, 519 Fed. App'x 521, 523 (10th
Cir. 2013) (“Von Hallcy cannot state a due process
claim based on allegations of an ineffective grievance
reporting system.”); Woods v. First Corr. Med.
Inc., 446 Fed. App'x 400, 403 (3d Cir. 2011)
(“[A] prisoner has no free-standing constitutional
right to an effective grievance process....”);
Butler v. Brown, 58 Fed. App'x 712 (9th Cir.
2003) (“[A] prisoner has no constitutional right to
prison grievance procedures.”); Young v.
Gundy, 30 Fed. App'x 568, 569 - 70 (6th Cir. 2002)
(“[T]here is no inherent constitutional right to an
effective prison grievance procedure.”). To the extent,
therefore, Plaintiff seeks to amend his complaint to assert a
claim based solely on Mr. Black's failure to implement,
facilitate or conduct an adequate grievance procedure,
Plaintiff's claim would be futile.
however, alleges Mr. Black conspired with Defendants Waltz
and Chadwick to deprive him of first amendment liberties or
property in violation of due process and equal protection,
based on the content of the subject publication(s). (Proposed
Amended Complaint, ¶ 13, ECF No. 26-1.) Plaintiff's
proposed amended complaint, therefore, can be construed to
allege that as to the publications, Mr. Black, along with
Defendants Waltz and Chadwick, deprived Plaintiff of rights
protected by the First Amendment, the Equal Protection
Clause, and the Due Process Clause.
on the foregoing analysis, the Court grants Plaintiff's
motion to amend the complaint. Josh Black is joined as a
defendant. The proposed amended complaint is incorporated
into Plaintiff's original complaint, except to the extent
Plaintiff attempts to assert a separate claim based on Mr.
Black's alleged failure to implement, facilitate or
conduct an adequate grievance procedure. The Clerk shall
issue the standard notice to the Maine Attorney General
regarding service on Mr. Black.
objections to this Order shall be filed in accordance with