United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division
LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Berrien County's Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 6) and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 13). For the reasons
discussed herein, Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
is denied, and Defendant Berrien County's Motion to
Dismiss is granted.
filed a Complaint against Defendants Berrien County and
Anthony Heath on September 29, 2016. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff
seeks damages against both Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for injuries resulting from Defendant Heath's
allegedly unconstitutional conduct, as well as an award of
attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. (Doc.
1, ¶¶ 9-27). Plaintiff makes the following
allegations in support of his § 1983 claim:
7. On or about October 1, 2014, Defendant Anthony Heath,
while acting under color of law as the Sherriff
[sic] of Berrien County, willfully deprived
Plaintiff of the right to be free from unreasonable searches
and seizures and the right to not be subjected [to the]
unreasonable use of force.
8. Defendant Anthony Heath kicked, punched and forcefully
kneed Plaintiff countless times while Plaintiff was subdued,
handcuffed face down on the ground, and not resisting arrest.
9. Plaintiff sustained substantial and permanent injuries as
a result of Defendant Anthony Heath's conduct.
(Doc. 1, ¶¶ 7-9). Although the allegations pertain
solely to the conduct of Defendant Heath, Plaintiff asserts
that Defendant Berrien County is liable because, “[a]t
all times relevant to this action, Defendant Anthony Heath
was employed by Berrien County, Georgia as the Sheriff and .
. . was acting within the scope of his employment and
pursuant to the customs, policies and procedures of the
Berrien County Sheriff's Department.” (Doc. 1,
Berrien County filed a Motion to Dismiss on November 23,
2016, arguing that a county cannot be held liable for the
acts of a sheriff or his or her employees. (Doc. 6-1, p. 3).
Further, Defendant Berrien County asserts that the County is
entitled to sovereign immunity for the claims against it
under Georgia law. (Doc. 6-1, pp. 8-9). Plaintiff filed a
Response to Defendant Berrien County's Motion and Motion
for Leave to Amend Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 13).
Plaintiff seeks to amend his Complaint to remedy the
shortcomings highlighted in Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
concerning Plaintiff's § 1983 claim against Berrien
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 13)
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) sets forth the procedures for
amending pleadings and provides that a party may amend its
pleading once as a matter of course within certain time
constraints. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Where, as in this case, the
time to amend as a matter of course has passed, a party may
amend its pleading only by leave of court or by written
consent of the opposing party. Id. Generally, when
leave to amend is sought, “it shall be freely given
when justice so requires.” Id. However,
“[b]ecause justice does not require district courts to
waste their time on hopeless cases, leave may be denied if a
proposed amendment fails to correct the deficiencies in the
original complaint or otherwise fails to state a
claim.” Mizzaro v. Home Depot, Inc., 544 F.3d
1230, 1255 (11th Cir. 2008). Factors such as undue delay,
undue prejudice to defendants, and futility of the amendment
are sufficient to justify denying a motion to amend.
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1952).
filing a motion to amend, it is the preferred practice of
this Court that the proposed amended complaint be attached to
the motion. Mizzaro, 544 F.3d at 1255. However, such
failure is not, in itself, a valid basis to deny the motion
to amend. Id. A motion to amend “is sufficient
if that motion itself ‘sets forth the substance of the
proposed amendment.'” Id. (quoting
Long v. Satz, 181 F.3d 1275, 1279 (11th Cir. 1999)).