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Smith v. Lindamood

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

February 2, 2017

VAN SMITH, No. 547356, Plaintiff,
v.
CHERRY LINDAMOOD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          WAVERELY D. CRENSHAW, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is the Plaintiff's motion to amend/correct his complaint (Doc. No. 10) filed on January 13, 2017 and motion for reconsideration (Doc. No. 14) of the Court's Order entered on January 3, 2017 (Doc. No. 6).

         I. Procedural History

         Plaintiff, an inmate of the South Central Correctional Center in Clifton, Tennessee, filed this pro se action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cherry Lindamood, f/n/u Franks, Centennial Medical Center Employees, and Corizon Medical Services, alleging violations of his federal civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). Along with his complaint, the Plaintiff submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2).

         After reviewing the Plaintiff's submissions, the Court entered an Order alerting the Plaintiff that his case could not proceed until the Plaintiff remedied deficiencies in his application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket No. 3). The Court directed the Plaintiff to comply with the Court's Order within 28 days and warned the Plaintiff that failure to comply with the Court's Order could result in the dismissal of his case. (Id. at p. 2). The Court also advised the Plaintiff that he could ask for an extension of time within which to comply with the Court's instructions as long as he sought the extension within 28 days of the date of entry of the Court's Order. (Id.)

         The Court's docket reflects that the Clerk's Office mailed a copy of the Court's November I, 2016 Order to the Plaintiff on November 1, 2016, at the mailing address provided by the Plaintiff to the Court. (Doc. No. 4). Further, the docket reflects that the Plaintiff received the Order on November 3, 2016. (Doc. No. 5). However, the Plaintiff did not respond to the Court's Order and, by Order entered on January 3, 2017, the Court dismissed this action for failure to comply with the Order of the Court and for want of prosecution. (Doc. No. 6). Judgment was entered on the same day. (Doc. No. 7).

         On January 13, 2017, the Court received a motion to amend/correct complaint (Doc. No. 10), an in forma pauperis declaration (Doc. No. 12), and a Notice of Appeal (Doc. No. 11) from the Plaintiff.

         On January 19, 2017, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals informed this Court that the Plaintiff's appeal had been docketed but would be held in abeyance until after this Court rules on the motion to amend/correct the complaint. (Doc. No. 13).

         On January 26, 2017, the Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration (Doc. No. 14), asking the Court to reconsider its previous decision to dismiss this case for failure to comply with the Order of the Court and for want of prosecution and to deny as moot the Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         II. Motion to Amend

         Out of an abundance of caution and considering the Plaintiff's pro se status, the Court will consider the Plaintiff's motion to amend. See LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944 (6th Cir. 2013)(a district court can allow a plaintiff to amend his complaint even when the complaint is subject to dismissal under the Prison Litigation Reform Act's screening requirements for prisoner and in forma pauperis suits).

         Rule 15(a) (2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that leave to amend should be freely given “when justice so requires.” In deciding whether to grant a motion to amend, courts should consider undue delay in filing, lack of notice to the opposing party, bad faith by the moving party, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by previous amendments, undue prejudice to the opposing party, and futility of amendment. Brumbalough v. Camelot Care Ctrs., Inc., 427 F.3d 996, 1001 (6th Cir. 2005). “Amendment of a complaint is futile when the proposed amendment would not permit the complaint to survive a motion to dismiss.” Miller v. Calhoun Cnty., 408 F.3d 803, 817 (6th Cir.2005) (citing Neighborhood Dev. Corp. v. Advisory Council on Historic Pres., 632 F.2d 21, 23 (6th Cir.1980)).

         The proposed amendment complaint (Doc. No. 10, Attach. 1) is largely identical to the original complaint (Doc. No. 1). However, the Court never screened the original complaint because the Plaintiff failed to comply with the Court's deficiency order entered on November 1, 2016, and the case was dismissed prior to screening. There appears to be no undue prejudice to the opposing parties by permitting the Plaintiff to amend his complaint at this time. Moreover, as explained below, the amendment is not futile in all respects. The Court therefore will grant the motion to amend and screen the amended complaint pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         III. PLRA ...


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