United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND AND
SUPPLEMENT COMPLAINT AND ORDERING PLAINTIFF TO FILE SECOND
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend and Supplement Complaint. Dkt. #52. For the reasons set
forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.
December 27, 2018, Plaintiff Adam Martushoff, appearing
pro se, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Dkt. #1. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint on
January 2, 2019, which serves as the current complaint in
this case. Dkt. #7. Plaintiff's complaint alleges civil
rights violations by the State of Washington and various
state agencies resulting from a law enforcement investigation
into allegations that Plaintiff neglected and abused his
children. Dkt. #7 at 47-51. Plaintiff claims that the
criminal investigation was conducted improperly and included
falsified evidence, id. at 51-53, and that the
criminal proceedings and investigation served as the basis
for civil proceedings wherein Plaintiff was denied the right
to see or interact with his children. See generally,
Id. Plaintiff seeks a variety of injunctive relief and
filing the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff has moved to
amend and supplement his complaint several times to revise
his legal claims and change the listed defendants. See,
e.g., Dkts. #21, #45, #49. Prior to the Court ruling on
these motions, Plaintiff terminated or withdrew his motion to
amend. See, e.g., Dkt. #24, #46, #50. On March 25,
2019, Plaintiff filed the current Motion to Amend and
Supplement Complaint. Dkt. #52. In support of this Motion,
Plaintiff attached a proposed Second Amended Complaint
totaling 137 pages. See id., Ex. A. On April 8,
2019, Defendants filed their Response opposing
Plaintiff's Motion. Dkt. #57.
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2), a “court should freely give
leave [to amend] when justice so requires, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Courts apply this policy with
“extreme liberality.” Eminence Capital, LLC
v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1051 (9th Cir. 2003).
Five factors are commonly used to assess the propriety of
granting leave to amend: (1) bad faith, (2) undue delay, (3)
prejudice to the opposing party, (4) futility of amendment,
and (5) whether plaintiff has previously amended the
complaint. Allen v. City of Beverly Hills, 911 F.2d
367, 373 (9th Cir. 1990); Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S.
178, 182 (1962). In conducting this five-factor analysis, the
court must grant all inferences in favor of allowing
amendment. Griggs v. Pace Am. Group, Inc., 170 F.3d
877, 880 (9th Cir. 1999). In addition, the court must be
mindful of the fact that, for each of these factors, the
party opposing amendment has the burden of showing that
amendment is not warranted. DCD Programs, Ltd. v.
Leighton, 833 F.2d 183, 187 (9th Cir. 1987); see
also Richardson v. United States, 841 F.2d 993, 999 (9th
Court acknowledges that, by nature of his pro se
appearance, Plaintiff should be afforded “the benefit
of any doubt” with respect to compliance with local and
federal civil procedure. Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d
1152, 1158 (9th Cir. 2008); see also Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed
pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and
‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.'”) (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
Cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(f) (“All pleadings shall
be so construed as to do substantial justice”).
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend and Supplement
construing Plaintiff's pleadings liberally, the Court
finds that granting Plaintiff's Motion to Amend and
Supplement, Dkt. #52, would impose undue prejudice on
Defendants. Defendants oppose Plaintiff's Motion partly
because Plaintiff failed to comply with Local Rule 15, which
requires a party moving to amend a pleading to indicate how
the proposed pleading differs from the original, either by
bracketing or striking through the text to be deleted and
underlining or highlighting the text to be added.
See Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 15. Although
Plaintiff's Motion fails to comply with these
requirements, see Dkt. #52, Ex. A, his addition of
nearly seventy pages of text in the proposed amended
complaint diminishes the usefulness of this rule.
See Dkt. #58 at 2.
more fundamental flaw of Plaintiff's proposed amended
complaint is its violation of Rule 8. This rule requires a
pleading stating a claim for relief to contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), and that
“each allegation must be simple, concise, and
direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d). The Court agrees with
Defendants that both Plaintiff's original and proposed
amended complaints fail to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8.
See Dkt. #57 at 3.
courts must construe a pro se plaintiff's
pleadings liberally, a plaintiff must nevertheless allege a
minimum factual and legal basis for each claim so that
defendants are given fair notice of the plaintiff's
claims and the grounds upon which they rest. See Brazil
v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 66 F.3d 193, 199
(9th Cir. 1995) (“Although a pro se litigant .
. . may be entitled to great leeway when the court construes
his pleadings, those pleadings nonetheless must meet some
minimum threshold in providing a defendant with notice of
what it is that it allegedly did wrong.”). A complaint
that does not clearly and concisely describe the factual
allegations nor provide defendants with notice of who is
being sued on which theory, violates Rule 8. See,
e.g., McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177-79
(9th Cir. 1996); Nevijel v. North Coast Life Ins.
Co., 651 F.2d 671, 674 (9th Cir. 1981). For example, a
properly plead federal civil rights claim would specify each
defendant, set forth a short and plain statement of each
claim showing that a specific defendant took a specific
action, participated in another's action, or omitted to
perform an action that caused each alleged constitutional
careful review of Plaintiff's current amended complaint
and proposed second amended complaint, the Court finds that
both fail to comply with Rule 8. With respect to defendant
Theresa Luvera, both complaints allege that Defendant
“failed to follow law enforcement protocols and
training” including “failure to question
witnesses, failure to weigh evidence, failure to investigate
evidentiary leads, etc.” and that Defendant failed to
act upon evidence that Plaintiff's children were in
imminent danger of neglect and psychosexual abuse. Dkt. #7 at
7; Dkt. #52, Ex. A at 18. For the remaining defendants,
Plaintiff alleges a general claim throughout both complaints
that various defendants were “informed of” and
“given direct evidence” of criminal activities
conducted by ...