United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
H.E., by and through William and Jennifer Emerich, her adoptive parents and legal guardians as next friends, Plaintiff,
FRANK BERRY, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff H.E.'s, by and
through William and Jennifer Emerich, her adoptive parents
and legal guardians as next friends,
(“Plaintiff”) Motion for Leave to File a Second
Amended Complaint  (“Second Amendment
is a seven-year old child who suffers from certain
psychiatric and emotional illnesses. (First Amended Complaint
 (“Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 2, 21). On
October 29, 2015, Plaintiff filed her Complaint  alleging
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 10, 2016, after
receiving leave of the Court, Plaintiff filed her Amended
Complaint seeking a preliminary injunction ordering
Defendants Clyde Reese (“Reese”) and Frank Berry
(“Berry”),  in their official capacities, to
approve Plaintiff's placement at an appropriate
Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility
(“PRTF”) or Residential Treatment Center
(“RTC”). (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 43, 46).
Plaintiff also sought monetary damages from seven additional
Defendants,  in their individual capacities, for
“improperly categorizing [Plaintiff's] eligibility
for Medicaid; failing to correct [Plaintiff's] Medicaid
eligibility with knowledge of the improper categorization;
and  obstructing [Plaintiff's] access to appropriate 
services with concerted and deliberate indifference towards
[Plaintiff's] health and wellbeing.” (Am. Compl.
24, 2016, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss  the
claims against Defendants in their individual capacities and
the claims for money damages. On November 7, 2016, the Court
granted the Motion to Dismiss in part and denied it in part
 (“Motion to Dismiss Order”). The Court
dismissed the seven Individual Capacity Defendants from the
action and Plaintiff's claims for monetary damages
against them. (Motion to Dismiss Order at 44). The Court did
not dismiss Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief
against the Official Capacity Defendants. (Motion to Dismiss
Order at 44). The Court denied, without prejudice,
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction .
(Motion to Dismiss Order at 44). On November 18, 2016,
Plaintiff filed her Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction
 (“Pl Ren. Mot.”), seeking Plaintiff's
admission to one of two facilities, Jasper Mountain or Santa
Maria, specializing in treatment of Plaintiff's disorder.
(Pl. Ren. Mot. at 1-2). On January 16, 2017, Plaintiff was
admitted to Jasper Mountain. (Second Amendment Motion at 7).
On January 30, 2017, upon agreement of the parties, the Court
entered an order to stay the Renewed Motion for Preliminary
Injunction. (January 30, 2017, Docket Entry Staying Pl. Ren.
March 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Second Amendment Motion,
attaching her Proposed Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff
seeks to add a new claim against former Defendant, Bobby
Cagle (“Cagle”). Plaintiff seeks damages against
Cagle for retaliatory acts he allegedly committed in
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”). (Second Amendment Motion at 1). The
Proposed Second Amended Complaint states Plaintiff's
parents, William and Jennifer Emerich, communicated with
various third parties during the summer and early fall of
2014 about issues they were experiencing in obtaining
Medicaid services. (Second Amendment Motion at 19). The
Proposed Second Amended Complaint also alleges that, in
retaliation, Cagle sought to “take custody of H.E. and
terminate William and Jennifer's parental rights.”
(Second Amendment Motion at 20). On April 6, 2017, Defendants
filed their Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
File a Second Amended Complaint 
(“Response”). Defendants oppose the Second
Amendment Motion on two grounds: (1) Plaintiff unduly delayed
in seeking to add the claim against former Defendant Cagle
and, in doing so, (2) unduly prejudiced the Defendants and
Cagle. (Response at 4-8).
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
plaintiff to file one amended complaint, as a matter of
course, if the amended complaint is filed within 21 days of
service of the original complaint or within 21 days of the
defendant's filing of a responsive pleading or Rule 12
motion to dismiss. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1).
Amended complaints may be filed outside of these time limits
only “with the opposing party's written consent or
the court's leave.” See Fed.R.Civ.P.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“[t]he court should freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
“There must be a substantial reason to deny a motion to
amend.” Laurie v. Alabama Court of Criminal
Appeals, 256 F.3d 1266, 1274 (11th Cir. 2001).
“Substantial reasons justifying a denial include
‘undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive on the part of
the movant, . . . undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of
amendment.'” Id. (citing Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
claims it should be permitted leave to amend under Rule 15(a)
to allege a claim of retaliation in violation of the ADA
against former Defendant, Bobby Cagle. Defendant argues
Plaintiff's new claim is (1) unduly delayed and (2)
Undue Delay and Undue Prejudice “
district court may find undue delay when the movant knew of
facts supporting a new claim long before the movant requested
leave to amend, and amendment would further delay the
proceedings.” Haynes v. McCalla Raymer, LLC,
No. 1:11-cv-3149-TWT, 2014 WL 3908433, at *7 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 7,
2014) (holding the plaintiffs failed to “present a
reasonable justification” for delaying amendment until
“after summary judgment was filed, after the close of
discovery, and more than two years after they filed their
original Complaint”); see also SHM Int'l Corp.
v. Guangdong Chant Grp., Inc., No. 1:14-cv-1446-ODE,
2016 WL 4204553, at *4 (N.D.Ga. June 29, 2016) (denying
amendment where the plaintiff provided “no reason as to
why it waited just under two years to ...