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Rodriguez v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 16, 2017

JORGE RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF JOE RODRIGUEZ; ERIN E. BROWN; NEZ PERCE COUNTY; and DOES I-XVI, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: MOTION REQUESTING LEAVE TO AMEND FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (DKT. 46)

          Candy W. Dale Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Jorge Rodriguez's motion requesting leave to amend the First Amended Complaint and to substitute the names of four Nez Perce County employees for the fictitiously described “Doe” defendants pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) and 15(c)(1). (Dkt. 46.) Defendants Nez Perce County, Sheriff Rodriguez, and Brown do not oppose amendment of the First Amended Complaint; however, they object to substitution of the four “Doe” defendants. The Court heard oral argument from the parties on February 14, 2017. (Dkt. 55.) After review of the record, consideration of the parties' arguments and relevant legal authorities, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court issues the following memorandum decision and order granting Rodriguez's motion.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         At all relevant times to the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Jorge Rodriguez was an inmate at the Nez Perce County Adult Detention Center. (Dkt. 12.) Rodriguez alleges that, in September of 2013, FBI Agent Newsome interviewed Rodriguez about an ongoing murder investigation involving two other inmates who were housed in the same pod as Rodriguez. Defendant Erin Brown, an employee of the detention center, allegedly was present and observed portions of the interview. Sometime after the interview, Brown allegedly informed one of the inmates being investigated for the murder that Rodriguez was a “snitch.”

         The First Amended Complaint claims further that, on September 28, 2013, inmates who learned of the “snitch” accusation confronted Rodriguez, threatened to beat him, and advised Rodriguez that he “better transfer to a different pod.” Rodriguez immediately advised Defendant Doe I, a detention center employee, about the threat and requested an immediate transfer. Doe I instructed Rodriguez to return to his area because there were no available beds to facilitate a transfer. Doe I advised Rodriguez “not to throw the first punch.” Within forty-five minutes after the threat, two inmates allegedly beat Rodriguez. The beating took place near the guard station, but Doe I did not intervene until after the beating ended.

         Rodriguez claims he suffered multiple severe injuries from the beating; however, he was not provided immediate medical care. Instead, Doe I put Rodriguez in “the hole, ” where he lost consciousness for an unspecified amount of time. Rodriguez eventually was taken to the detention center medical unit, where Doe I and Does XI-XVI took photographs of Rodriguez's injuries and mocked him for being a “snitch.” Rodriguez was transported to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston for follow up medical care.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On July 31, 2015, due to his prisoner status, the Clerk of the Court conditionally filed Rodriguez's civil rights complaint. (Dkt. 3, 4.) The same day, Rodriguez filed also an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Dkt. 1.) On September 9, 2015, the Court denied Rodriguez's application and ordered him to pay the filing fee; Rodriguez paid the filing fee on October 2, 2015.

         While his in forma pauperis application was pending, counsel for Rodriguez filed a notice of appearance. (Dkt. 8, 9.) On September 4, 2015, Rodriguez's counsel filed the First Amended Complaint. (Dkt. 12.) The First Amended Complaint alleges various claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort violations against Nez Perce County Sheriff Joe Rodriguez, Nez Perce County, Erin E. Brown, and Does I-XVI. Nez Perce County was served with the summons and the First Amended Complaint on November 4, 2015. (Dkt. 20.) Erin Brown and Sheriff Rodriguez were served on November 6, 2015, and November 12, 2015, respectively. (Dkt. 15, 19.)

         In the First Amended Complaint, Rodriguez describes the Doe defendants:

• Doe I is an employee and/or detention officer at the Nez Perce County Detention Center. The First Amended Complaint provides that Doe I's name is “believed to be Barn or Barne.” (Dkt. 12 at 2.) Doe I is the detention center employee who informed Rodriguez he could not be transferred, and advised Rodriguez “not to throw the first punch.” (Id. at 5.)
• Does II-VI are Nez Perce County Detention Center employees who supervised Brown and Doe I. (Id. at 2.)
• Does VIII-XI are Nez Perce County Detention Center employees who allegedly “engaged and/or acquiesced and/or failed to fulfill their duties proscribed by law in acting with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's safety from the attack upon Plaintiff.” (Id. at 3.)
• Does XII-XVI are Nez Perce County Detention Center employees who allegedly failed to provide medical care to Rodriguez after the beating. (Id.)

         On December 22, 2015, the Court issued a Scheduling Order. (Dkt. 18.) Specifically with regard to initial disclosures, the Court ordered the following:

If the parties have not already done so, within 30 days after entry of this Order, the parties shall provide each other with relevant information and documents pertaining to the claims and defenses in this case, including the names of individuals likely to have discoverable information, along with the subject of the information, as well as any relevant documents in their possession, in a redacted form if necessary for security or privilege purposes; and, if necessary, the disclosing party shall provide a security/privilege log sufficiently describing any undisclosed relevant documents which are alleged to be subject to nondisclosure.

(Id.) (italics added).

         On January 22, 2016, Nez Perce County and Sheriff Rodriguez served their joint initial disclosures on Rodriguez. (Dkt. 54-1.) The initial disclosures included a list of names of persons likely to have discoverable information. Among that list, Brian Bonds, Patricia Clark, Jack McGee, and Eric Blinn, were included. The initial disclosures described these individuals' knowledge as follows:

Brian Bonds was a corporal at the Nez Perce County Jail and worked as a jail deputy during the times noted in Plaintiff's Complaint. Cpl. Bonds may have knowledge of Plaintiff's actions and behavior prior to and after the incidents on September 28, 2013, will have knowledge of the injuries that Plaintiff sustained as a result of the incidents on September 28, 2013, and will have knowledge of his personal officer training.
****
Patricia Clark was a deputy at the Nez Perce County Jail during the times noted in Plaintiff's Complaint. Deputy Clark may have knowledge of Plaintiff's actions and behavior prior to, during and after the incidents on September 28, 2013, ...

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