United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ANTHONY C. CHANCY, JR., Plaintiff,
JUDY P. SMITH AND CARRIE SPRANGER, Defendants.
DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT ON EXHAUSTION GROUNDS (DOC. 43), GRANTING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
(DOC. 52), DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STAY
DISPOSITIVE MOTION DEADLINE (DOC. 53), DIRECTING SERVICE OF
THE AMENDED COMPLAINT ON NEW DEFENDANTS, DIRECTING DEFENDANTS
TO ANSWER THE AMENDED COMPLAINT, AND TRANSFERRING
CLEVERT JR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 27, 2017, the plaintiff filed a motion to amend the
complaint. (Docket 52.) He seeks to add First Amendment
retaliation claims and Eighth Amendment claims against nine
new defendants, as well as a claim that the defendants
conspired against him. The plaintiff alleges that he has
sought assistance from other inmates, he realizes he made
several errors in drafting the original complaint, and that
he cannot meet the elements of a retaliation claim because
the screening order dismissed the main
defendants/participants responsible for the retaliation.
Plaintiff further states that if the court allows him to
amend the complaint, he will voluntarily dismiss the habeas
corpus proceeding he filed after the court dismissed his due
process claim (Case Number 16-C-220).
defendants oppose the motion to amend. They state that
granting plaintiff leave to amend at this late stage in the
case would prejudice them because it would expand the claims
the court allowed him to proceed on in the Screening Order.
The defendants also assert that plaintiff has had ample
opportunity over the last year and four months to seek
counsel from inmates and to request a change to his
pleadings. They further object to an amendment after their
motion for summary judgment on exhaustion grounds is fully
briefed and ready for resolution.
district court should freely give leave to amend a complaint
when justice requires. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2); Indep.
Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665 F.3d 930,
943 (7th Cir. 2012); Johnson v. Cypress Hill, 641
F.3d 867, 871-72 (7th Cir. 2011). “[W]hile a court may
deny a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, such
denials are disfavored.” Bausch v. Stryker
Corp., 630 F.3d 546, 562 (7th Cir. 2010). A district
court may deny leave to file an amended complaint in the case
of undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of
the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, or
where the amendment would be futile. Hukic v. Aurora Loan
Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009); Arreola
v. Godinez, 546 F.3d 788, 796 (7th Cir. 2008).
plaintiff's motion to amend does not come at an ideal
time for the defendants in that their motion for summary
judgment on exhaustion grounds is fully briefed (as of March
8, 2017) and, if granted, would dispose of this case.
However, the defendants would not necessarily be unduly
prejudiced if the court allowed the amendment because the
plaintiff raised his retaliation claims in the original
complaint. Having reviewed the plaintiff's retaliation
claims as set forth in the amended complaint, i.e., apart
from the original complaint in which the plaintiff presented
them in conjunction with his due process claim challenging
his disciplinary hearing, the court is no longer convinced
that plaintiff's retaliation claims would necessarily
imply the invalidity of his disciplinary conviction, at this
stage of the case. Consequently, the court will allow the
amendment. See Soltys v. Costello, 520 F.3d 737, 743
(7th Cir. 2008) (delay on its own is usually not reason
enough for a court to deny a motion to amend).
the amended complaint will be the operative complaint in this
action and the plaintiff may proceed on his retaliation
claims as set forth in the amended complaint. Plaintiff may
not, however, proceed on a claim under the Eighth Amendment
because the court does not identify any such claim.
Additionally, the plaintiff may not proceed on a
“conspiracy” claim, because all of the defendants
are employees of the same state agency-the Wisconsin
Department of Corrections-and, therefore, the
intracorporate-conspiracy doctrine applies. See Beese v.
Todd, 35 Fed.Appx. 241, 243 (7th Cir. 2002); Payton
v. Rush-Presbyterian, 184 F.3d 623, 632 (7th Cir. 1999).
interest of case management and keeping this case on one
litigation track as to all defendants, the court will deny
without prejudice the defendants' motion for summary
judgment on exhaustion grounds. The defendants may refile
this motion, if appropriate, in conjunction with any other
dispositive motion that they file later.
the plaintiff has filed a motion to stay the dispositive
motion filing deadline. (Docket 53.) Because the court stayed
the dispositive motion filing deadline on January 18, 2017,
the plaintiff's motion is moot. In any event, the court
will issue a revised scheduling order after the new
defendants have been served and all defendants have answered
the amended complaint. Therefore, IT IS ORDERED that the
defendants' motion for summary judgment on exhaustion
grounds (Docket 43) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
ORDERED that the plaintiff's motion for leave to file
amended complaint (Docket 52) is GRANTED. The proposed
amended complaint (Docket 52-1) is the operative complaint in
FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff's motion to stay
dispositive motion deadline (Docket 53) is DENIED AS MOOT.
FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to an informal service
agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Justice and
this court, copies of plaintiff's amended complaint and
this order are being electronically sent today to the
Wisconsin Department of Justice for service on the state
ALSO ORDERED that, pursuant to the informal service agreement
between the Wisconsin Department of Justice and this court,
the defendants shall file a responsive pleading to the
amended complaint within sixty days of receiving electronic
notice of this order.
to facilitate resolution of these proceedings, this case is
transferred to the ...