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Slaughter v. Glebe

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

February 21, 2017

OSSIE LEE SLAUGHTER, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK R. GLEBE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING OBJECTIONS AND ADOPTING REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of the Honorable J. Richard Creatura, United States Magistrate Judge (Dkt. 124), and Plaintiff Ossie Lee Slaughter's (“Slaughter”) objections to the R&R (Dkt. 125). Also before the Court is Judge Creatura's R&R (Dkt. 133) on Slaughter's motion for a preliminary injunction (Dkt. 128).

         On August 7, 2015, Slaughter filed a prisoner civil rights complaint, alleging claims under the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Dkt. 12 at 5-9. Although Slaughter did not file a motion for a preliminary injunction, Slaughter requested a preliminary injunction in his complaint to prevent him from being transferred to another prison. Id. at 8.

         On October 8, 2015, Defendants moved to dismiss Slaughter's complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. 44. On December 9, 2015, Judge Creatura recommended denying Defendants' motion as to Slaughter's First Amendment claim. Dkt. 61 at 14-17. Judge Creatura also recommended granting Defendants' motion with regard to Slaughter's remaining claims, but with leave to amend his Eighth Amendment claim and the personal participation of certain individual defendants. Id. at 7-14. Finally, Judge Creatura recommended denying Slaughter's request for preliminary injunctive relief as moot. Id. at 19-20.

         On January 4, 2016, Slaughter filed objections to the R&R. Dkt. 66. On January 21, 2016, Defendants responded. Dkt. 69. On February 23, 2016, the Court adopted Judge Creatura's recommendations, dismissing numerous claims and granting Slaughter leave to amend his complaint as to his Eighth Amendment claim by March 18, 2016. Dkt. 73.

         On November 7, 2016, Slaughter filed his amended complaint. Dkt. 109. Despite numerous extensions, Slaughter filed the amended complaint months after his latest extended deadline of August 19, 2016. See Dkts. 91, 84, 103. On November 18, 2016, Defendants moved to dismiss Slaughter's complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) for failure to timely file his amended complaint. Dkt. 110. In the alternative, Defendants requested an extension to answer the amended complaint. Id. On December 13, Slaughter responded to the motion to dismiss. Dkt. 117. On December 15, 2016, Defendants replied. Dkt. 119.

         On January 11, 2017, Judge Creatura issued the R&R denying Defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 41(b). Dkt. 124. Judge Creatura also recommended granting Defendants' request for an extension to answer Slaughter's amended complaint. Id. On August 22, 2016, Slaughter objected to the R&R. Dkt. 125. On February 1, 2017, Defendants responded to Slaughter's objections. Dkt. 132.

         When considering a nondispositive order from a magistrate judge, the district judge must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a).

         Slaughter objects to the R&R on three grounds. First, he objects to Judge Creatura's analysis on whether Defendants suffered prejudice from his unreasonable failure to timely amend his complaint. See Dkt. 125 at 3-4. Second, he objects to the extension to file an answer. See Dkt. 125 at 3-4. Third, he objects to Judge Creatura's recommendation to strike the claims that the Court has already dismissed on Defendant's previous Rule 12 motion. See Dkt. 73. The Court rejects Slaughter's objections because he has failed to show that the R&R is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.

         First, Judge Creatura generously ruled in Slaughter's favor when he refused to dismiss the amended complaint, despite the fact that it was filed months after the twice extended deadline. Because the issue of dismissal was decided in favor of Slaughter, his objection to the R&R's analysis on the third Moran factor for involuntary dismissal serves no purpose, see Dkt. 125 at 2-5, and the Court need not address it.

         Second, the Court rejects Slaughter's objection to Judge Creatura's order granting an extension to answer. See Dkt. 125 at 3-4. Because Defendants' motion to dismiss was not made under Rule 12, it did not automatically toll their time to answer the amended complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1), (a)(4). Therefore, the extension was merited to afford Defendants an opportunity to receive a ruling on their dispositive motion prior to incurring potentially unnecessary litigation costs. Moreover, there is no indication that Slaughter will suffer any form of prejudice from the extension. The lack of prejudice is strongly evidenced by the numerous extensions Slaughter requested and received before filing his amended complaint, as well as his failure to amend until months after the extended deadlines had passed.

         Third, the Court rejects Slaughter's objection to the recommendation that the claims previously dismissed by the Court be stricken from the amended complaint. See Dkt. 125 at 5-7. Slaughter was not granted leave to amend his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims or his claims against defendants Flemming, Presswood, and Casey, see Dkt. 61 at 10-13. Therefore it was inappropriate to include them in his amended complaint. Regardless, the amended complaint does not cure the deficiencies in those claims. See Dkts. 12, 61, 109. They are appropriately stricken. Remaining before the Court are Slaughter's First and Eighth Amendment claims. Whether the amended complaint has cured the pleading deficiencies that warranted the previous dismissal of Slaughter's Eighth Amendment claim remains to be seen, as the issue was not raised in the dispositive motion addressed by the R&R.

         Additionally, the Court adopts Judge Creatura's R&R regarding Slaughter's motion for a preliminary injunction. See Dkts. 128, 133. While Slaughter's lawsuit brings claims against employees at Stafford Creek Corrections Center (“SCCC”), see Dkt. 103, his motion for preliminary injunction seeks relief from nonparty employees at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (“CRCC”). Dkt. 128. While Plaintiff claims that the conduct of the nonparties at CRCC is somehow related to the conduct of Defendants at SCCC, he has failed to set forth any facts supporting such an allegation. See Dkt. 128. Therefore, the Court agrees with the R&R that the requested prospective relief must be denied. See De Beers Consol. Mines v. United States, 325 U.S. 212, 220 (1945) (denying the requested prospective relief when “[i]t is not an injunction in the cause, and it deals with a matter lying wholly outside the issues in the suit.”).

         Therefore, the Court having considered the R&Rs, Slaughter's objections, and the remaining ...


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