United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Flores, pro se, for Plaintiff.
William Young for Defendants.
ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
FRANKLIN L. NOEL United States Magistrate Judge.
MATTER came before the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge on Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF
No. 8) and Plaintiff Mauro Flores's motions to amend his
Complaint (ECF No. 15) and to appoint counsel (ECF No. 16).
This matter was referred to the undersigned for a Report and
Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local
Rule 72.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court orders
that Flores's motion to amend his complaint is
MOOT, and his motion to appoint counsel is
DENIED. The Court also recommends that
Defendants' motion be DENIED as moot.
is a civilly committed detainee at the Minnesota Sex Offender
Program (“MSOP”) in Moose Lake, Minnesota.
Compl., ECF No. 1. Flores filed his Complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on June 6, 2016, alleging that MSOP
employee-Defendants Kevin Moser, Terry Kniesel, Peter Puffer,
Courtney Menten, and Paul Mayfield violated his due process
rights by placing him in a behavioral isolation unit for over
two weeks without a hearing. Id. ¶¶ 11-15.
Flores seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as
compensatory and punitive damages. Id. at 4-5.
September 26, 2016, Flores filed a motion to amend his
complaint admitting that his initial complaint is
“insufficient to support claims of unconstitutional
punishment; unlawful restraint of liberty; [d]enial of the
Plaintiff's religious rights; failure to protect
[P]laintiff from foreseeable harm, [sic] deliberate
indifferent [sic] to serious medical needs, and failure to
supervise MSOP employees.” Pl.'s Mot. to Amend, ECF
No. 15. Flores acknowledged his understanding that he has a
right to amend his pleading once as a matter of course
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 and attached
as an exhibit a document entitled “First Amended
Complaint.” Id. Magistrate Judge Mayeron held
that “plaintiff had the right to file an amended
complaint as a matter of course on or before September 28,
2016, ” and then ordered Flores to serve and file his
amended complaint pursuant to Local Rule 15.1(a) on or before
November 16, 2016. Mem. Op. & Order, ECF No.
25.However, on September 26, 2016, the same
date Flores filed his motion, he informed the Court that he
had mailed and filed his only copy of his proposed amended
complaint. Notice, ECF No. 20. Defendants filed a letter on
November 23, 2016, indicating that they had never been
formally served with Flores's amended complaint.
filed his amended complaint on September 26, 2016, within the
window to amend as a matter of course and electronically
filed on that same day, a document entitled First Amended
Complaint, which is available to Defendants. ECF No. 15. He
also informed the Court that the document was the only copy
he possessed. ECF No. 20. Pro se pleadings should be
liberally construed, and are held to a less stringent
standard when challenged by motions to dismiss. See
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Horsey
v. Asher, 741 F.2d 209, 211 n.3 (8th Cir. 1984). The
Court concludes that the First Amended Complaint Flores filed
on September 26, 2016, substantially satisfies the
Court's Order. Flores's motion to amend his complaint
is moot as he is entitled to file as a matter of course and
has already done so. Because Flores has filed an amended
complaint as a matter of course, Defendants' motion to
dismiss his initial complaint is moot. See Pure Country,
Inc. v. Sigma Chi Fraternity, 312 F.3d 952, 956 (8th
Cir. 2002) (holding that the plaintiff's filing of an
amended complaint rendered the defendants' motion to
dismiss the original complaint moot). Defendants may file a
renewed motion to dismiss should they believe that the
amended complaint continues to suffer from the alleged
deficiencies highlighted in their brief.
Court additionally concludes that the interests of justice do
not require that counsel be appointed for Flores. There is no
constitutional or statutory right for an indigent party to
have counsel appointed in a civil case. See Watson v.
Moss, 619 F.2d 775, 775 (8th Cir. 1980). Rather, the
appointment of counsel is a matter committed to the
discretion of the trial court. See Ahmed v. Fenesis,
No. 05-2388, 2006 WL 2604677, at *1 (D. Minn. Sept. 7, 2006)
(citing McCall v. Benson, 114 F.3d 754, 756 (8th
Cir. 1997)). In considering a motion to appoint counsel,
“[t]he trial court has broad discretion to decide
whether both the plaintiff and the court will benefit from
the appointment of counsel, taking into account the factual
and legal complexity of the case, the presence or absence of
conflicting testimony, and the plaintiff's ability to
investigate the facts and present his claim.” Davis
v. Scott, 94 F.3d 444, 447 (8th Cir. 1996). In this
case, the Court finds that neither the facts nor the legal
issues raised are so complex as to warrant appointment of
counsel. Flores, through his previous submissions to the
Court, has demonstrated his ability to investigate the legal
and factual bases of his claims and the Court does not
conclude that appointment of counsel would substantially
benefit both Flores and the Court.
upon all of the records, files, and proceedings herein,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Flores's
motion to amend his complaint (ECF No. 15) is
MOOT, as Flores has already amended his
complaint as a matter of course, and his motion to appoint
counsel (ECF No. 16) is DENIED.
Additionally, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that
Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 8) be DENIED as
Objections: This Report and Recommendation is not an order or
judgment of the District Court and is therefore not
appealable directly to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Local Rule 72.2(b)(1), “a party may file and serve
specific written objections to a magistrate judge's
proposed finding and recommendations within 14 days after
being served a copy” of the Report and Recommendation.
A party may respond to those objections within 14 days after
being served a copy of the objections. LR 72.2(b)(2). All
objections and responses must comply with the word or line
limits set for in LR 72.2(c).
Local Rule 15.1(a) states in full,
“Unless the court orders otherwise, any amended
pleading must be complete in itself and must not incorporate
by reference any prior ...