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Needham v. Butler County Jail

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

August 26, 2019

DONALD NEEDHAM Plaintiff,
v.
BUTLER COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          Barrett, J.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          STEPHANIE K. BOWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pursuant to local practice, this pro se civil rights case, filed by a former prisoner challenging his prior conditions of confinement at the Butler County Jail, has been referred to the undersigned magistrate judge. Since filing his complaint in May, Plaintiff has proceeded to inundate this Court with a flurry of motions; eleven such motions are addressed by this Order.

         I. Background

         On April 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed an application seeking to proceed in forma pauperis along with a copy of his pro se civil rights complaint, which alleges a violation of his constitutional rights during his prior incarceration in the Butler County Jail. In a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) filed on May 9, 2019 and adopted on June 4, 2019, the undersigned recommended the dismissal of the lone defendant initially identified by Plaintiff, the Butler County Jail itself. (See Docs. 4, 6). However, the same R&R liberally construed Plaintiff's allegations to assert a claim against an additional Defendant, Butler County Jail Correctional Officer Blanton, for the excessive use of force on an unknown date during Plaintiff's incarceration.

         After receiving the R&R recommending the dismissal of most allegations and claims, Plaintiff attempted to file a new lawsuit in this Court in order to correct the perceived deficiencies. Plaintiff's new case set forth essentially identical claims against Richard K. Jones, identified as the Sheriff of Butler County Jail, and against Curt New, identified as the Administrator of the Jail. See Needham v. Richard K. Jones, et al., Case No. 1:19-cv-368-MRB-KLL. On June 12, 2019, Magistrate Judge Karen Litkovitz recommended that the new case be dismissed with prejudice as entirely duplicative of the above-captioned case. The Court agreed, and Case No. 1:19-cv-368-MRB-KLL was dismissed and closed on June 28, 2019.

         On July 26, 2019, counsel entered their appearance on behalf of Defendant Blanton in the above-captioned case, and on August 14, 2019, Defendant Blanton filed his answer. (Doc. 22). By that time, Plaintiff already had filed ten separate motions, many of which seek leave to amend his complaint in order to correct the same perceived deficiencies that Plaintiff had attempted to correct in Case No. 1:19-v-368-MRB-KLL. In the interests of judicial economy, this Order attempts to address all pending motions, including a recently filed eleventh motion. Because the rulings are procedural and not dispositive, no R&R is necessary.

         II. Analysis

         A. Conditional Grant of Six Related Motions Seeking Amendment

         On June 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed the first of five motions to amend his complaint, seeking leave to amend to add Richard K. Jones, identified as the Sheriff of Butler County Jail, in lieu of naming the Jail itself as a defendant. (Doc. 7)

         On June 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a separate motion seeking additional time “to fix/amend his complaint, ” citing various health conditions.[1] (Doc. 8). On the same date, Plaintiff filed a second motion to amend or correct his complaint in order to identify the precise dates of his incarceration in the Butler County Jail as beginning on April 4, 2017 and ending on May 19, 2017. (Doc. 9).

         On June 25, 2019, Plaintiff filed a third motion to amend to add Curt New as a Defendant, alleging that Mr. New is “head of medical” for Butler County Jail. (Doc. 13). On the same date, Plaintiff filed a fourth motion to amend his complaint, this time (apparently) in order to supplement his claim for deliberate indifference to his alleged need for medical treatment during his incarceration at the Jail. (Doc. 14). The fourth motion to amend/correct includes multiple numeric references to page and line numbers of the original complaint, without restating the referenced allegations.

         On July 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed a fifth motion to amend or correct his complaint (Doc. 17). The fifth motion seeks to add allegations against Defendant Blanton concerning Plaintiff's existing Eighth Amendment claim, which Plaintiff identifies as having occurred on or around May 13, 2017.

         Although leave to amend must be freely given when justice so requires, see Rule 15(a)(2), a Court need not permit a plaintiff to make unlimited amendments in hopes of eventually stating some form of claim. In addition, applicable civil rules of procedure require a party who seeks to amend his complaint to include a copy of the complaint with the motion seeking leave to amend, so that the Court may better evaluate the propriety of amendment. Here, Plaintiff has filed ...


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