United States District Court, D. Idaho
MICHAEL T. HAYES, Plaintiff,
JEFF ZMUDA; ALBERTO RAMIREZ; BRETT PHILLIPS; and ARVEL DEWAYNE SHEDD, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court in this civil rights matter are several
motions filed by the parties, including (1) Defendants'
Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 45), (2)
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 55), and
(3) Plaintiff's Motion to Review Amended Civil Rights
Complaint of 3/29/2019 (Dkt. 56)-which the Court construes as
including a motion for leave to amend-as well as
Plaintiff's proposed third amended complaint (Dkt. 57).
fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and
legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and
record and that oral argument is unnecessary. See D.
Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the
following Order denying Plaintiff's motion to amend,
granting Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss,
denying as moot Defendants' alternative motion for
summary judgment, and denying as moot Plaintiff's motion
for summary judgment. Accordingly, this case will be
dismissed with prejudice.
Plaintiff May Not Further Amend the Second Amended
is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this
civil rights action. Plaintiff previously was allowed to
proceed on claims that, as set forth in his First Amended
Complaint (Dkt. 22), Defendants Zmuda, Ramirez, Phillips, and
Shedd violated Plaintiff's right to access the courts.
According to Plaintiff, these Defendants deprived Plaintiff
of legal materials necessary for Plaintiff to pursue his
Shoshone County successive post-conviction action, resulting
in the dismissal of that action in state court. (Dkt. 31 at
7-8.) Because the Shoshone County case was the basis of the
First Amended Complaint's only plausible access-to-courts
claim against each of these four Defendants, the Court
instructed Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint
limited to those four claims and Defendants. (Id. at
2.) Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint, but- contrary
to the Court's instruction-it included additional claims.
(See, e.g., Dkt. 33 at 14-15, 25-26, citing federal
and state criminal statutes and asserting claims of false
imprisonment and deprivation of liberty interests.) The Court
need not address these additional claims, because their
inclusion in the Second Amended Complaint violated the
Court's previous order.
the claims upon which Plaintiff was allowed to proceed-the
four access-to-courts claims with respect to the Shoshone
County case-the Second Amended Complaint alleges that
Defendants' actions between July 4, 2015 and May 27, 2016
violated his right of access and caused the dismissal of that
case. (Id. at 14-25.)
have now filed their motion to dismiss. Defendants argue that
the Second Amended Complaint fails to state an
access-to-courts claim under Rule 12(b)(6) because the Second
Amended Complaint-considered along with judicially-noticeable
state court documents-does not plausibly allege that (1)
Plaintiff suffered an actual injury to his right of access or
(2) Defendants' actions caused any such injury. (Dkt. 45
motion to dismiss relies, as expected, on Plaintiff's
Second Amended Complaint and the allegations therein-that
Defendants' actions from July 2015 to May 2016 caused the
dismissal of his Shoshone County post-conviction case.
Defendants point out in their opening brief that, according
to Plaintiff's own allegations in the Second Amended
Complaint, he had access to his Shoshone County
post-conviction case file for more than a year after the
Shoshone County Court (1) notified Plaintiff that the
petition was subject to dismissal and (2) ordered him to
respond to that notice. Nonetheless, Plaintiff did not file
anything in that post-conviction action for twenty-two months
after he received the notice, when he filed a motion for
appointment of counsel. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's
failure to timely respond to the notice of intent to dismiss,
despite having access to his legal materials until July 2015,
caused the dismissal of the post-conviction action; they also
argue that Plaintiff's filings in the post-conviction
action show that he “ably argued the merits” of
that case and, therefore, has not shown actual injury. (Dkt.
45-1 at 14.)
responded to Defendants' motion to dismiss, asserting for
the first time that “all [his] Shoshone County
Post-Conviction Relief case files” were confiscated by
prison officials on April 10, 2014-instead of on
July 4, 2015, as alleged in Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint; thus, according to Plaintiff, he was unable to
file a timely response to the Shoshone County Court's
notice of intent to dismiss because the seizure of his legal
materials occurred during the 20-day response period. (Dkt.
52 at 20; see also Id. at 4-6.) In their reply in
support of the motion to dismiss, Defendants correctly note
that the Second Amended Complaint does not include the April
2014 allegation. Defendants argue that “Plaintiff
cannot defeat Defendants' Motion [to Dismiss] simply by
changing his factual allegations to suit his purposes.”
(Dkt. 54 at 3.)
only after Defendants filed their reply that
Plaintiff submitted his proposed third amended complaint. In
this proposed pleading, Plaintiff alleges that his case file
for his successive post-conviction petition was confiscated
on April 10, 2014, shortly after he filed the petition in
Shoshone County Court. The proposed third amended complaint
also attempts to name an additional Defendant and includes
allegations of events going as far back as 2007. (Dkt. 57 at
14; see also Dkt. 56 at 1.)
Standards of Law Regarding Leave to Amend
to pleadings are governed by Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. The courts “should freely give leave
when justice so requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2), and
the rule's “policy of favoring amendments to
pleadings should be applied with extreme liberality.”
Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1135 (9th Cir.
1987) (internal quotation marks omitted).
factors guide the Court's consideration of whether to
grant leave to amend, including whether amendment would be
futile, whether allowing amendment would cause undue delay
and undue prejudice to the party opposing amendment, and
whether the request to amend is based on bad faith or a
dilatory motive. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
(1962). Whether to allow amendment is within the Court's
discretion, and that discretion is especially broad where, as
here, the plaintiff has already amended the complaint.
Griggs v. Pace Am. Grp., Inc., 170 F.3d 877, 879
(9th Cir. 1999).
The Court Will Deny Leave to Amend
Court concludes that leave to amend should be denied. First,
amendment would be futile. For the same reasons explained
below with respect to the Second Amended Complaint, those
access-to-courts claims that are reasserted in the
proposed third amended complaint are subject to dismissal
because Plaintiff does not plausibly allege that he suffered
an actual injury to his right of access as a result of
is also futile because the proposed third amended complaint
does not sufficiently set forth the underlying
post-conviction claims that Plaintiff was allegedly
frustrated from pursuing. A prisoner asserting an
access-to-courts claim must allege more than that prison
officials' actions caused the loss of a claim. The
prisoner also must set forth the elements of that lost claim
with the level of detail that would be necessary “just
as if it were being independently pursued.”
Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 417 (2002).
proposed amendment fails to do so. Specifically, the
amendment does not set forth any “sufficient
reason” why Plaintiff's successive state
post-conviction petition was permissibly filed under Idaho
law, which prohibits successive petitions unless the
petitioner establishes such a reason. Idaho Code §
19-4908. Also, though the proposed amendment identifies
Plaintiff's lost post-conviction claims (Dkt. 57 at
14-15), it does not contain any factual support for those
claims, let alone allegations with the level of detail
required by Christopher v. Harbury.
Court also notes that the proposed newly-modified claim-based
on the April 2014 allegation and substituting that date in
place of the July 4, 2015 allegation-is subject to dismissal
for the additional reason that it is untimely. See
Idaho Code § 5-219 (two-year statute of limitations for
personal injury actions); see also Wilson v. Garcia,
471 U.S. 261, 280 (1985) (holding that state statute of
limitation for personal injury actions governs § 1983
actions), abrogated on other grounds by Jones v. R.R.
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