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Nelson v. Kohnte

February 6, 2007

MICHAEL NELSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
K. KOHNTE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King

OPINION AND ORDER

With the consent of the parties, 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), this matter is before the Court on plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint ("Plaintiff's First Motion to Amend"), Doc. No. 21, plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint ("Plaintiff's Second Motion to Amend"), Doc. No. 25, Plaintiff's Motion to Waive Mechanical Requirements, Doc. No. 23, and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc. No. 26. The Court will address each below.

A. Plaintiff's Motions to Amend, Doc. Nos. 21, 25

In each of plaintiff's motions to amend, he requests that he be permitted to amend the complaint to correct the name of the Chairman of the Ohio Adult Parole Authority and to specify the constitutional rights he claims defendants violated. In the first motion, however, plaintiff failed to attach the proposed Amended Complaint so that the Court could effectively consider the motion. Accordingly, Plaintiff's First Motion to Amend, Doc. No. 21, is DENIED. Since plaintiff properly attached the proposed Amended Complaint to Plaintiff's Second Motion to Amend, the Court will consider that motion on its merits.

Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that leave to amend a pleading "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). The grant or denial of a request to amend a complaint is left to the broad discretion of the trial court. General Elec. Co. v. Sargent & Lundy, 916 F.2d 1119, 1130 (6th Cir. 1990). In exercising its discretion, the trial court may consider such factors 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, [and] futility of the amendment." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

Defendants argue that plaintiff's motions to amend should be denied because amendment is unnecessary and futile. After considering all factors before it, however, the Court concludes that justice requires granting leave to amend. Plaintiff has moved to amend a mere four months after this case was filed. Thus, there is no apparent undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of plaintiff, nor does there appear to be any prejudice to defendants by virtue of allowance of the amendment.

Accordingly, Plaintiff's Second Motion to Amend, Doc. No. 25, is GRANTED. The Clerk is DIRECTED to file the Amended Complaint attached as Exhibit 1 to Plaintiff's Second Motion to Amend, Doc. No. 25.

B. Plaintiff's Motion to Waive Mechanical Requirements, Doc. No. 23

Local Rule 5.1 sets out the general format for all documents to be filed with this Court. See S.D. Ohio Civ. R. 5.1. In Plaintiff's Motion to Waive Mechanical Requirements, plaintiff states only that this rule creates hardship for him as a prisoner. Defendants have not responded to this motion.

The Court is simply unsure as to what it is plaintiff requests in his motion. Rule 5.1 includes many important rules that must be followed, e.g., placing a case number on the front page of each document. On the other hand, this Court accepts on a regular basis documents from prisoners or pro se litigants that do not specifically comply with the required one inch top margin. However, the Court declines to waive all mechanical requirements set forth in Local Rule 5.1. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Waive Mechanical Requirements, Doc. No. 23, is DENIED without prejudice to renewal with a clearer articulation of the relief sought by plaintiff.

C. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc. No. 26

Plaintiff is a prisoner of the State of Ohio, who brings this case under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for declaratory and injunctive relief. On August 25, 2006, plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. That motion is fully at issue. See Doc. Nos. 26, 28, 29.

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).In making this determination, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970). Summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is genuine, "that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). However, summary judgment is appropriate if the opposing party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the opposing party's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the opposing party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251. The Court, however, may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

In his Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleges violations of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that he was not provided notice prior to the increase of his security classification. Amended Complaint p. 2. As a result, plaintiff alleges denial of fair and meaningful parole consideration. Id. p. 5. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides in relevant part that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." U.S. Const. amend XIV. "'Those who seek to invoke its procedural protection must establish that one of these interests is at stake.'" Bazzetta v. McGinnis, 430 F.3d 795, 801 (6th Cir. 2005)(citing Wilkinson v. Austin, 125 S.Ct. 2384, 2393 (2005)). Accordingly, a procedural due process analysis addresses two questions. Id. "'The first asks whether there exists a liberty or property interest which has been interfered with by the State, the second examines whether the procedures attendant upon that deprivation were constitutionally sufficient.'" Id. (citing Kentucky Dep't of Corr. v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 460 (1989)). In Sandin ...


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