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Leftwich v. County of Dakota

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 9, 2019

Leroy Leftwich, trustee of the statutory class of next of kin to Cameron Leftwich, decedent, Plaintiff,
v.
County of Dakota et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          BECKY R. THORSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Scheduling Order to Extend Time and to Amend Complaint. (Doc. No. 30.) In his motion, Plaintiff requests that the scheduling order be amended to permit the untimely filing of an amended complaint adding new alleged customs and practices to support Plaintiff's constitutional tort claims. The proposed new claims include four additional customs and practices against the City of Eagan and two additional customs and practices against the County of Dakota. (Doc. No. 30-1.) The Court held a hearing on Plaintiff's motion on January 22, 2019. (Doc. Nos. 40, 53.) At the hearing, Plaintiff requested supplemental briefing, which was permitted over Defendants' objections. (Doc. No. 40.) Plaintiff submitted his supplemental brief on February 5, 2019, [1] and the Defendants responded on February 19. (Doc. Nos. 45, 46, 54-56.) The Court later permitted Plaintiff to file a reply on February 28, 2019. (Doc. No. 60.)

         Defendants oppose Plaintiff's motion for lack of good cause because Plaintiff was not diligent in meeting the October 29, 2018 deadline for amending the pleadings. Defendants also argue that allowing an untimely amendment would be prejudicial.

         For the reasons stated below, Plaintiffs motion to amend (Doc. No. 30) is denied.[2]

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on April 27, 2018. (Doc. No. 1.) An Order setting a Pretrial Conference was issued on May 2, 2018. (Doc. No. 10.)[3] Rule 26(f) reports were filed on May 22, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 21, 22.)[4] The parties jointly proposed that motions seeking to join other parties “must be filed and served by August 27, 2018, ” and that motions seeking to amend the pleadings “must be filed and served by October 29, 2018.” (See Doc. No. 21 at 8; Doc. No. 22 at 8.) A two-hour Pretrial Conference was held on May 25, 2018. (Doc. No. 23.) The Pretrial Scheduling Order was entered on May 29, 2018. (Doc. No. 24.) The front page of the Scheduling Order set forth the requirement of good cause to amend the Scheduling Order. The front page also noted: “this Pretrial Scheduling Order has been prepared with the input of counsel for the parties and the parties are required to diligently work to meet the deadlines.” (Id.)

         The Scheduling Order adopted the amendment deadlines and discovery deadlines proposed by Plaintiff and Defendants. (Id.)[5] Importantly, the amendment deadlines included a separate provision requiring the parties to “diligently pursue any further investigation or discovery to meet this deadline.” (Id.)

         NON-DISPOSITIVE MOTION DEADLINES

         1. Motions seeking to join other parties must be filed and served by August 27, 2018. The parties must diligently pursue any further investigation or discovery to meet this deadline.

         2. Motions seeking to amend the pleadings must be filed and served by October 29, 2018. The parties must diligently pursue any further investigation or discovery to meet this deadline.

(Doc. No. 24 at 5 (emphasis added).)

         On January 2, 2019-the day fact discovery closed-Plaintiff filed this motion to amend. Plaintiff's motion was filed more than two months after the October 29, 2018 deadline expired. Plaintiff seeks to add the following redlined language to his original Complaint:

136. Specifically, the City had several customs and practices that amounted to a failure to provide adequate medical and mental health care for individuals taken into custody by the City of Eagan, including but not limited to:
a. a custom and practice of having officers who did not interview any known witnesses complete the Offender Tracking Form, without making any effort to obtain any information from the interviewing officers;
b. a custom and practice of default responding “No” to medical and mental health information on the Offender Tracking Form, without reviewing with any officers or witnesses such information, when transmitting the form to the Dakota County Jail;
c. a custom and practice of sending the Offender Tracking Form prior to any investigation or obtaining any information from known witnesses, and nonetheless responding “No” to medical and mental health information, rather that “Unknown;”
d. a custom and practice of withholding medical and mental health information from the Dakota County Jail, except, in limited cases, providing extremely limited information in a two-line sentence fragments, without detail; and
e. a custom and practice of failing to provide updated or supplemental information to the Dakota County Jail, after receiving medical and mental health information from witnesses, following reporting “No” that no such information had been provided.
And, the County had several customs and practices that amounted to a failure toprovide adequate medical and mental health care for individuals detained in theDakota County ...

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