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Harris v. Aramark Inc.

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

January 8, 2020

HERMAN HARRIS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
ARAMARK INCORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          Michael H. Watson Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court for consideration of several Motions. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motions to Strike (ECF Nos. 68 & 69) are GRANTED. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Out of Time Judicial Notice (ECF No. 66) is ORDERED STRICKEN. ODRC Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery (ECF No. 70) and Defendants Aramark Correctional Services, LLC and Aramark Employees' Motion for Protective Order to Stay Discovery (ECF No. 71) are GRANTED. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File to the Court his First Set of Interrogatories, construed as a Motion for Discovery, (ECF No. 67) is DENIED.

         I.

         On October 4, 2017, Plaintiff Herman Harris, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner proceeding in this case without the assistance of counsel, was residing at the Pickaway County Correctional Institution. He initiated this action by filing a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against six employees of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (“ODRC Defendants”), Aramark Correctional Services, LLC (improperly named in the Complaint as Aramark Incorporation (“Aramark”), and three Aramark employees (“Aramark Employee Defendants”). (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff subsequently filed an Amended Complaint on January 3, 2018. (ECF No. 22.) In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims for violations of his constitutional rights based on injuries that he allegedly sustained after using a chemical-cleaning agent that purportedly burned his skin. (Id.) On June 13, 2019, the ODRC Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF Nos. 36 & 37.) Similarly, on July 18, 2019, Aramark filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 45.) On July 18, 2019, Aramark Employee Defendants also filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to effectuate service of process pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4. (ECF No. 46.) Plaintiff filed Responses in Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss on September 18, 2019. (ECF Nos. 55 & 56.) Aramark filed a Reply on October 2, 2019 (ECF No. 58) and Aramark Employee Defendants filed a document the Court deemed a Reply. (ECF No. 59; see Order, ECF No. 61, construing brief as a Reply.) The parties' Motions to Dismiss are now ripe for disposition.

         As pertinent here, on October 15, 2019, the Court issued an Order regarding the process of submitting briefs on the Motions to Dismiss. (ECF No. 61.) With respect to Aramark's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 45), the Court ordered that “no additional briefing on this Motion to Dismiss is permitted.” (ECF No. 61.)[1] As to the Aramark Employee Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 46), the Court ordered Plaintiff to file any sur-reply if he intended to do so by October 29, 2019, and specifically indicated that “no extension of this deadline” would be permitted. (ECF No. 61.) The Court also specified in the Order that “no additional briefs beyond motion, opposition, and reply shall be permitted except upon leave of court and for good cause shown” pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(a)(2). (Id.) Finally, the Court advised that nothing in the Order “should be construed to invite motions to exceed the briefing authorized by the Local Rules.” (Id.)

         Notwithstanding these explicit directives, on December 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed a document titled in full as follows:

Plaintiffs' motion Seeking Leave to File out of time Plaintiff's Judicial Notice Supported by Sworn Affidavit/Sworn Testimony with Brief Chronology of Fact(s) Surrounding Plaintiff's/Affiant's Constitutional Injuries & Physical Injuries***Affiant's/Plaintiff's Belief of Being Hindered Meaningful Access to the Court's at the Allen Correctional Institution under the Control of Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation & Correction.

(ECF No. 66, “Motion for Leave.”) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave is comprised of 13 single-spaced pages and 36 paragraphs including numerous sub-paragraphs). (Id.) The Court cannot discern clearly what relief Plaintiff is seeking in the Motion for Leave. Nevertheless, the Court concludes that the Motion for Leave does not comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of this Court, or the Court's October 15, 2019 Order. For these reasons, the Motion for Leave is ORDERED STRICKEN.

         II.

         As previously noted, the Court is unclear what relief Plaintiff is seeking in the Motion for Leave. As best as the Court can glean, because Plaintiff appears to allege additional facts, his Motion is best construed as an improper Second Amended Complaint for which he did not first seek leave of Court to file.

         A. Violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1) and S.D. Ohio Civ. R. 7.3

         Upon review of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave, it appears to be Plaintiff's attempt at unilaterally filing a Second Amended Complaint without first seeking leave of Court. Both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this Court's Local Rules prohibit this filing under the circumstances presented here.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) allows a party to amend a pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days of serving it, or within 21 days of being served a response. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(A)-(B). Beyond the 21-day window, a party may only amend a pleading “with the opposing party's written consent or the court's ...


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