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Manuel Edgavdo Jovet Ortiz v. Dakota County et al

May 7, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Davis Chief Judge United States District Court


This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to file an amended complaint (Doc. No. 34) and Defendants' motions for summary judgment (Doc. No. 23) and to strike Plaintiff's expert affidavits. (Doc. No. 43)

I. Background

Plaintiff was arrested in April 2009 for violating a restraining order. The court ordered Plaintiff to undergo a mental health evaluation pursuant to Rule 20 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure at the Dakota County Jail. Plaintiff arrived at the jail on April 27, 2009, and was initially placed on suicide watch as he appeared very depressed. Plaintiff also suffers from chronic diabetes. After he was taken off suicide watch, he was booked into the jail. When he arrived at the jail, jail staff filled out an intake form and nursing staff, including Gina Huppert, filled out various health forms. Plaintiff alleges that when he arrived at the jail, he was wearing prescription orthotic shoes to address neuropathy in his feet due to his chronic diabetes. He was not allowed to wear these shoes by jail staff, however. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of being forced to wear jail issued shoes, his foot became infected. Despite the infection being treated while he was in jail, Plaintiff ultimately had to have the big toe on his right foot amputated.

In his original complaint, Plaintiff asserted a number of claims against Dakota County, the Dakota County Sheriff and Chief Deputy Sheriff, the Commander of Detention Services, the jail supervisor and Sergeants John and Jane Doe and Officers John and Jane Doe: Count I ‐ violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment ‐ deliberate indifference to medical needs against all defendants; Count II ‐ Defendants Don Gundmundson, Dave Bellows, Brad Jeska, Lawrence Hart, Richard Doe, Sergeant John Doe and Sergeant Jane Doe, as supervisors at the jail, violated Plaintiff's civil rights; Count III ‐ Dakota County violated his civil rights by failing to train its officers to adhere to those policies adopted to address medical care to inmates and detainees; Count IV ‐ § 1983 ‐ deliberate disregard of serious medical needs; Count V ‐ Monell claim against Dakota County; Count VI ‐ disability discrimination; Count VII ‐ negligence; Count VIII ‐ loss of consortium.

By Order dated June 22, 2012, the loss of consortium claim was dismissed with prejudice pursuant to the stipulation of the parties.

II. Motion to Amend the Complaint

The deadline to file motions to amend pleadings was July 15, 2012 and the deadline to file dispositive motions was December 15, 2012. (Doc. No. 16). Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on November 28, 2012. Plaintiff was granted an extension to file his opposition to the summary judgment motion. (Doc. No. 33.) On January 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed his opposition to the motion for summary judgment and also filed a motion to amend the complaint. By the amended complaint, Plaintiff seeks to dismiss all claims against the individual defendants, add an individual defendant, Gina Huppert, and dismiss counts II (civil rights violations by supervisors), III (failure to train against Dakota County), V (deliberate indifference by Dakota County ‐ Monell claim), and VI (disability discrimination).

The claims included in the amended complaint are as follows: Count I ‐ Violations of Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment against Huppert for acting with indifference as to Plaintiff's medical needs; Count II ‐ 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Huppert for acting with deliberate disregard and indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs; and Count III ‐ that Dakota County, through its jail employees and nursing staff, had a duty to protect Plaintiff from harm and to provide reasonable medical care, that Defendants knew or should have known that failure to allow Plaintiff to wear his prescription shoes would cause him harm and that Plaintiff was harmed by Defendants' refusal to allow him to wear such shoes.

A. Standard for Motions to Amend Complaint

"A decision whether to allow a party to amend her complaint is left to the sound discretion of the district court and should be overruled only if there is an abuse of discretion." Bell v. Allstate Life Ins. Co., 160 F.3d 452, 454 (8th Cir. 1998). Leave to amend "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). "Proper justification for denying such a motion includes: "undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, ... undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of amendment." Id. Where an amendment involves "new theories of recovery and impose additional discovery requirements, courts are less likely to find an abuse of discretion due to the prejudice involved." Id.

Here, the motion to amend the complaint was filed after the deadline for such motions as set forth the Amended Pretrial Scheduling Order. (Doc. No. 16.) Under these circumstances, Plaintiff must demonstrate good cause as required under Rule 16(b)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

When a party seeks to amend a pleading after the scheduling deadline for doing so, the application of Rule 16(b)ʹs good‐cause standard is not optional. To permit district courts to consider motions to amend pleadings under Rule 15(a) without regard to Rule 16(b) "would render scheduling orders meaningless and effectively ... read Rule 16(b) and its good cause requirement out of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." Sherman v Winco Fireworks, Inc., 532 F.3d 709, 716 (8th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted). "The primary measure of good cause is the movant's diligence in attempting to ...

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