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James Naum v. Dana Mcgrew; Edward Lockwood; Doe Is.

April 10, 2011

JAMES NAUM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DANA MCGREW; EDWARD LOCKWOOD; DOE IS. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend (Dkt. 43).

FACTUAL AND LEGAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff James Naum brings this action seeking damages related to the denial of his application for "safety-net" benefits by the regional Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). According to Mr. Naum, his application was denied on March 9, 2009 by Defendant Dana McGrew, a DHW employee, due to insufficient bank account documentation. Am. Compl., Dkt. 16 at ¶ 14. Mr. Naum transmitted complaints and documents related to the benefits denial to the offices of United States Congressman Mike Simpson and Governor Butch Otter. Id. at ¶¶ 17, 20.

On June 5, 2009, Mr. Naum was notified that he was eligible for food stamps and a Medicare program that "pays for Medicine Part B premiums . . . and deductibles for income qualified beneficiaries." Id. at ¶ 18. This notice notwithstanding, Mr. Naum claims that he never received the awarded benefits. Mr. Naum faxed a protest letter to DHW Hearing Officer Edward Lockwood and requested a hearing. Id. at ¶ 21. Ms. McGrew, the person most familiar with Mr. Naum's case, was sick and unable to attend the scheduled hearing. Mr. Naum did not attend after asking Mr. Lockwood to reschedule. On June 11, 2009, Mr. Lockwood issued an order denying Mr. Naum's benefits and appeal. Id. at ¶ 22.

In November of 2009, Mr. Naum contacted the clerk's office of this Court, and was allegedly told that § 1983 suits are only utilized by prisoners. Id. at ¶ 23.

Mr. Naum filed his initial complaint in this matter on December 7, 2009. Dkt. 3. Mr. Naum asserted myriad causes of action against DHW, Barbara Richards and Janice Adams (DHHS regional officials), Lindsay Russell (staffmember of Governor Otter), Richard Armstrong and Christine Roberson (DHW officials), Dana McGrew, Edward Lockwood, Doe Is (DHW employees), and Doe IIs (United States District Court for the District of Idaho Clerk's Office staff). The Court previously dismissed (1) all claims against Defendants DHW, Armstrong, Adams, and Doe IIs, with leave to amend; (2) all claims under the Fourth and Eighth Amendment with leave to amend; (3) all tort claims with leave to amend. Dkt. 10.

Mr. Naum filed his amended complaint on July 16, 2010, asserting myriad causes of action against DHW, Barbara Richards, Lindsay Russell, Richard Armstrong, Christine Roberson, Dana McGrew, Edward Lockwood, Doe Is (DHW employees), and Doe IIs (United States District Court for the District of Idaho Clerk's Office staff). Dkt. 16. Mr. Naum added a claim against Governor Butch Otter. The Court initially dismissed the amended complaint due to Mr. Naum's failure to pay any of his in forma pauperis filing fees (Dkt. 17), but subsequently reconsidered (Dkt. 21). In its Second Review Order, the Court dismissed (1) all claims under the Fourth and Eighth Amendment, and (2) all claims against Barbara Richards, Christine Roberson, DHW, Governor Otter, Richard Armstrong, Lindsay Russell, and Doe IIs. Surviving claims consisted of tort and due process claims under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments against Dana McGrew, Edward Lockwood, and Doe Is. Dkt. 24.

Mr. Naum moved for leave to file a proposed second amended complaint on March 7, 2011, asserting claims against previously dismissed defendants DHW, Barbara Richards and Janice Adams, Lindsay Russell, Richard Armstrong, Christine Roberson, Doe Is, and Governor Otter. Dkt. 43. Mr. Naum asserted new claims against unnamed Ada County Jail medical staffers, the 4th District Court Magistrate, and Wendy Olson, the United States Attorney for the District of Idaho. Defendants oppose Mr. Naum's motion for leave to amend. Dkts. 46, 49.

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) states that leave to amend "shall be freely given when justice so requires."Where a complaint has been amended once, a party may amend the complaint only with the written consent of the opposing party or with leave of the court. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Although a court should freely grant leave to amend the pleadings when justice requires it, a "district court's discretion to deny leave to amend is particularly broad where a plaintiff has previously amended the complaint." Ascon Properties, Inc. v. Mobil Oil Co., 866 F.2d 1149, 1160 (9th Cir. 1989).A district court . . . may . . . deny leave to amend due to 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, and futility of amendment." Zucco Partners, LLC v. Digimarc Corp., 552 F.3d 981, 1007 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation and alteration omitted).

ANALYSIS

Before considering the viability of Mr. Naum's claims, the Court will first determine which defendants are immune from suit or should otherwise be dismissed from this matter.

A. New and Previously Dismissed Defendants

1. Wendy Olson

Mr. Naum names Wendy Olson, United States Attorney for the District of Idaho, as a defendant for the first time in his proposed second amended complaint, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated by Ms. Olson's failure to prosecute staff of the Ada County jail for attempting to murder him via medicinal pharmaceuticals. Proposed Second Am. Compl., Dkt. 43-1 at 5. Prosecutorial immunity bars a civil rights suit against Ms. Olson. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 431 (1976). Accordingly, the Court will not grant leave to amend the complaint to include Ms. Olson as a defendant.

2. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

The Court previously dismissed Mr. Naum's claims against the Idaho DHW on the basis of Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity. Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 US 139, 144-146 (1993). Mr. Naum provides no new facts to support this claim in his proposed second amended complaint. ...


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