United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
Richard Creatura, United States Magistrate Judge
Joshua Graham filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on
August 1, 2016 alleging that defendants Bassham, Robinson,
Gantz, and Rodkey failed to provide plaintiff with adequate
dental care at the Washington State Penitentiary
(“WSP”) from July 2013 to November 2013. Dkt. 5.
Plaintiff now moves to amend his complaint to add ten new
defendants, Kevin Bovenkamp, G. Steven Hammond, Karen Forss,
Mary Currey, Lori Scamahorn, Lori Wyckoff-Myers, Wolfgang
Radelfinger, Lynnette Cross, and Angela Brascum. Dkt. 31;
Dkt. 31-1; Dkt. 31-2; Dkt. 31-3. Defendants object to the
amendment on the grounds that the proposed claims are barred
by the statute of limitations and do not relate back to the
filing of plaintiff's original complaint. Dkt. 33.
motion is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's
proposed amendment with respect to his claims against
Bovenkamp, Hammond, Forss, Currey, Scamahorn, Wyckoff-Myers,
Radelfinger, Cross, and Branscum is denied because his
proposed claims are subject to dismissal based on the statute
of limitations and do not relate back to the filing of the
original complaint. Defendants have no objection to
plaintiff's proposed amendment with respect to defendant
Escapule, thus, plaintiff's motion is granted as to this
claim. Plaintiff must file his proposed amended complaint
including claims against defendant Escapule within 15 days of
the entry of this order.
governs amendments to pleadings. It provides that, after an
initial period for amendments as of right, pleadings may be
amended only with the opposing party's written consent or
by leave of the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Generally,
“the court should freely give leave [to amend
pleadings] when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). This rule should be interpreted and applied with
“extreme liberality.” Morongo Band of Mission
Indians v. Rose, 893 F.2d 1074, 1079 (9th Cir.1990).
Federal policy favors freely allowing amendment so that cases
may be decided on their merits. See Martinez v. Newport
Beach City, 125 F.3d 777, 785 (9th Cir.1997).
court ordinarily considers five factors when determining
whether to grant leave to amend under Rule 15: “(1) bad
faith, (2) undue delay, (3) prejudice to the opposing party,
(4) futility of amendment, ” and (5) whether the
pleadings have previously been amended. Allen v. City of
Beverly Hills, 911 F.2d 367, 373 (9th Cir.1990).
“However, each is not given equal weight. Futility of
amendment can, by itself, justify the denial of a motion for
leave to amend.” Bonin v. Calderon, 59 F.3d
815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995). If a proposed amendment could not
withstand a motion to dismiss, a court is justified in
denying a motion to amend the pleadings made pursuant to Rule
15(a). Jones v. Community Redevelopment Agency of City of
Los Angeles, 733 F.2d 646, 650-51 (9th Cir. 1984).
motion, plaintiff contends that since the filing of his
original complaint, through the discovery process, he has
discovered the names of the Jane/John Doe defendants. Dkt.
31. Plaintiff attached his proposed amended complaint to his
motion. Dkt. 31-1.
do not object to plaintiff's motion to add claims against
Edith Escapule. Dkt. 33. Thus, plaintiff's request as to
defendant Escapule is granted. Plaintiff must file his
proposed amended complaint including claims against defendant
Escapule within 15 days of the entry of this order.
respect to the remaining nine defendants, Bovenkamp, Hammond,
Forss, Currey, Scamahorn Wyckoff-Myers, Radelfinger, Cross,
and Brascum, defendants contend that granting plaintiff leave
to amend to add claims against would be futile because the
claims are barred by the statute of limitations and do not
relate back to the filing of plaintiff's original
original complaint, plaintiff describes the Doe defendants,
“Defendants John Does 1-3; and Jane Does 1-3 are
employees or subcontactors working for WDOC during all times
relevant to complaint. They will be named after discovery.
They are sued in their individual capacity.” Dkt. 5 at
4. Plaintiff alleges John/Jane Doe 1 emailed plaintiff and
denied any knowledge of plaintiff's fractured jaw.
Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges John/Jane Doe 2 (Health
Care Manager), knew of plaintiff's lack of treatment,
said that they would look into the matter, but failed to take
action. Dkt. 5 at 6. Plaintiff alleges that Jane Doe 3, a
dental assistant, assisted defendant Rodkey with his dental
visit on November 5, 2013. Id. at 8-9.
Statute of Limitations
claims brought under § 1983, federal courts apply the
forum state's three year statute of limitations governing
personal injury actions. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471
U.S. 261, 279-80 (1985) and RCW 4.16.080(2). However, the
accrual date of a § 1983 cause of action is an issue of
federal law. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388
Turning to the principles of accrual, ‘it is the
standard rule that accrual occurs when the plaintiff has a
complete and present cause of action.' Wallace,
549 U.S. at 388, 127 S.Ct. 1091 (internal alterations and
quotation marks omitted. In other words, a claim accrues when
the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury that