United States District Court, W.D. Washington
JOE J.W. ROBERTS, JR., Plaintiff,
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, et al ., Defendants.
ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S PENDING MOTIONS
P. DONOHUE CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
This matter comes before the Court at the present time on
plaintiff's motions for leave to amend his complaint, for
reconsideration, for an order compelling defendants to
release plaintiff's medical records, and for appointment
of counsel. Also pending is plaintiff's
“motion” notifying the Court of misconduct by the
Washington Department of Corrections and requesting relief in
the form of appointment of counsel. The Court, having
reviewed the pending motions, and the balance of the record,
hereby finds and ORDERS as follows:
Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend his complaint (Dkt.
56) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. Plaintiff, by way
of the instant motion, seeks leave to file a second amended
complaint in this action. Plaintiff has submitted a proposed
second amended complaint for the Court's review in which
he identifies ten new defendants, and additional claims for
relief, including a Public Records Act claim. (See
Dkt. 56-1.) The proposed new defendants include: Snohomish
County Corrections Sergeant Otto; Corrections Deputies E.
Moormeier, Chavez, Cook, Ray, Gilfeather, and J. Moormeier;
Lt. Stites; Public Records Administrator Beth Taylor; and,
Nurse Meader. (Id.) Defendants filed a response
opposing plaintiff's motion to amend. (Dkt. 57.) However,
in their response, defendants specifically object only to the
addition of plaintiff's proposed Public Records Act claim
and to plaintiff's attempt to join four of the proposed
ten new defendants. (Id. at 2-3.)
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
the court should freely give leave to amend "when
justice so requires." Five factors are typically
considered when assessing the propriety of a motion for leave
to amend: (1) bad faith; (2) undue delay; (3) prejudice to
the opposing party; (4) futility of amendment; and (5)
whether the plaintiff has previously amended his complaint.
Johnson v. Buckley, 356 F.3d 1067, 1077
(9th Cir. 2004). At issue in this case is
primarily the futility of some of plaintiff's proposed
argue that the addition of the proposed Public Records Act
(“PRA”) claim would be futile because the statute
of limitations has long since elapsed on the presentation of
any such claim. (Dkt. 57 at 2-3.) Defendants argue as well
that this Court may not have jurisdiction over this state law
matter since the events giving rise to the PRA claim are not
the same as the events giving rise to plaintiff's §
1983 claims. (Id. at 3.)
PRA claim arises out of Snohomish County's denial of
plaintiff's request under the PRA, RCW 42.56, for videos
and documents related to his move between units at the
Snohomish County Jail on May 8, 2015, the event which gives
rise to the excessive force claims asserted in this action.
(See Dkt. 56-1 at 14-15; Dkt. 58 at 5.) RCW
42.56.550 provides that an action seeking judicial review of
an agency's denial of a public records request
“must be filed within one year of the agency's
claim of exemption[.]” Plaintiff's PRA request was
denied by Snohomish County Jail Captain Kevin Young on June
5, 2015. (See Dkt. 58 at 5, ¶ 5.6.) It
therefore appears clear that plaintiff's PRA claim would
be barred by the statute of limitations and, thus, allowing
plaintiff to add such a claim to this action would be
argue as well that adding proposed new defendant Beth Taylor
as a defendant would be futile because plaintiff's claim
against this defendant is solely related to the PRA claim
which is not only barred by the statute of limitations, but
is also not sufficiently related to the underlying claims to
warrant joinder. (See Dkt. 57 at 3-4.) Because it
appears clear that plaintiff's PRA claim is barred by the
statute of limitations, and because Ms. Taylor is implicated
only in that claim, the Court agrees that allowing plaintiff
to add Ms. Taylor to this action would also be futile.
argue that plaintiff's attempt to add Captain Daniel
Stites to this action is improper because plaintiff fails to
explain the legal basis for adding Captain Stites.
Plaintiff's only allegation concerning Captain Stites is
that plaintiff “asked Stites to preserve all cameras on
May 8th 2015.” (Dkt. 56-1 at 17.) Plaintiff
alleges no facts whatsoever suggesting that Captain Stites
personally participated in causing him harm of federal
constitutional dimension, a prerequisite to maintaining an
action under § 1983. See Crumpton v. Gates, 947
F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991) And, to the extent
plaintiff might intend to claim that Captain Stites'
action violated the PRA, his claim fails for the reasons
discussed above with respect to Ms. Taylor.
defendants argue that plaintiff's attempt to add
Corrections Deputy (“C/D”) Jean Moormeier to this
action is improper because plaintiff fails to properly allege
a cause of action against this proposed new defendant. (Dkt.
57 at 4.) Plaintiff alleges in his second amended complaint
that C/D J. Moormeier “refused to make a statement and
was negligent.” (Dkt. 56-1 at 28.) Plaintiff goes on to
allege that C/D J. Moormeier violated Snohomish County policy
by failing to report the use of force incident, failing to
offer plaintiff medical care, and failing to ask if plaintiff
wanted to decontaminate. (See id.)
plaintiff's statement of claim must be sufficient to
“give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957). The factual allegations of a complaint must be
“enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In addition, a
complaint must allege facts to state a claim for relief that
is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Plaintiff's claim against C/D J.
Moormeier is vague and conclusory and lacks any specific
facts demonstrating that this individual personally
participated in causing plaintiff harm of federal
constitutional dimension. Plaintiff has therefore failed to
adequately allege a cause of action against C/D J. Moormeier.
foregoing reasons, plaintiff's motion for leave to file a
second amended complaint is denied with respect to
plaintiff's PRA claim, and with respect to the claims
asserted against proposed defendants Beth Taylor, Daniel
Stites, and Jean Mooremeier. Plaintiff's motion for leave
to file a second amended complaint is granted in all other
respects. Accordingly, the Clerk is directed to file
plaintiff's second amended complaint. The Court will
issue in conjunction with this Order an Order directing
service of plaintiff's second amended complaint on the
seven new defendants against whom plaintiff will be permitted
light of the fact that plaintiff has been granted leave to
amend his complaint, and that service on new defendants will
be necessary, the previous pretrial deadlines established by
the Court (see Dkt. 51) are STRICKEN, and will be
re-set once the new defendants have been served and an answer
to plaintiff's second amended complaint has been filed.
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. 55) is
DENIED. It is not entirely clear from a review of
plaintiff's motion what the intent of the document is. It
appears that plaintiff is attempting to challenge arguments
made by defendants in their response to plaintiff's
multiple motions regarding the Washington Department of
Corrections (“DOC”) and appointment of legal
counsel (see Dkt. 48), as plaintiff asks the Court
to reject defendants' arguments and grant his motions.
Assuming this is the purpose of plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration, plaintiff's motion is moot because the
Court has already ruled on the motions at issue.
extent plaintiff may be seeking reconsideration of the
Court's ruling addressing his prior motions, he has shown
no basis for relief. The Court, in its Order of March 14,
2017, denied a series of motions filed by plaintiff
complaining about alleged misconduct on the part of the DOC
and requesting that counsel be appointed to represent him in
this matter. (Dkt. 51.) The Court advised plaintiff that it
had no authority to direct the actions of the DOC because the
DOC is not a party to this action. (Id. at 3.) With
respect to plaintiff's requests for appointment of
counsel, the Court noted that it had ...