United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court are Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an
amended complaint and motion to stay. (Doc. nos. 91, 92.)
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), a party may
amend a pleading more than twenty-one days after serving it
“with the opposing party's written consent or the
court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Courts
should freely allow amendment. See Carter v. Broward Cty.
Sheriff's Dep't Med. Dep't, 558 Fed.Appx.
919, 923 (11th Cir. 2014) (“Leave to amend should be
freely given . . . .”) (citing Forman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)); see also
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) (“The court should freely give
leave when justice so requires.”). However, “[a]
. . . court may deny such leave where there is substantial
ground for doing so, such as undue delay, bad faith, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party, and futility
of the amendment.” Muhammad v. Sapp, 494
Fed.Appx. 953, 958 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Reese v.
Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1263 (11th Cir. 2008)). An
amendment is futile when the pleading that it seeks to amend
would still be subject to dismissal if the amendment were
permitted. See Coventry First, LLC v. McCarty, 605
F.3d 865, 870 (11th Cir. 2010) (“A proposed amendment
may be denied for futility ‘when the complaint as
amended would still be properly dismissed.'”)
(quoting Cockrell v. Sparks, 510 F.3d 1307, 1310
(11th Cir. 2007)).
appears to request leave to file an amended complaint to
rebut the allegations in Defendants' answer, including
the allegation Plaintiff has failed to state a claim. (Doc.
no. 91, p. 1.) However, the Court initially allowed several
of Plaintiff's claims to proceed following screening of
his complaint, (doc. nos. 13, 17), and Plaintiff's
deliberate indifference claims against the remaining
Defendants survived a motion to dismiss, (doc. nos. 70, 76).
Accordingly, amendment is not necessary for Plaintiff to
proceed on his surviving claims. Furthermore, with one
exception to be described below, Plaintiff's proposed
amended complaint does not contain additional factual
allegations as to the remaining claims and Defendants.
Compare (doc. nos. 91-1) with (doc. nos. 1,
oppose Plaintiff's motion because Plaintiff seeks to
raise new claims against former defendant Warden Sam Zanders
and Defendant Dr. Ritter, which are futile because Plaintiff
failed to exhaust administrative remedies as to those claims.
(Doc. no. 94.)
it is not at all clear from Plaintiff's proposed amended
complaint he seeks to reallege claims against Warden Zanders.
Furthermore, the Court previously dismissed Plaintiff's
deliberate indifference claims against Warden Zanders for
failure to state a claim based on the same facts alleged
against Warden Zanders in his proposed amended complaint.
(See doc. no.12, pp. 2, 4-5, 9-11, 12-16; doc. no.
91-1, pp. 4, 6.) Accordingly, to the extent he seeks to raise
claims against Warden Zanders, Plaintiff's motion to
amend is futile as to Warden Zanders for the reasons stated
in the Court's June 15, 2018 Report and Recommendation.
Dr. Ritter, Plaintiff alleges for the first time in his
proposed amended complaint Dr Ritter misled him prior to his
second surgery. (Doc. no. 91-1, p. 7.) Plaintiff alleges Dr.
Ritter informed him only a small incision on his left side
would be necessary to obtain tissue to replace
Plaintiff's ear, but Plaintiff awakened after the surgery
in extreme pain and with a “‘nasty' looking
[scar] across his left rib about ‘6 to 7' inches
state a deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
claim, Plaintiff must allege: (1) he had a serious medical
need - the objective component, (2) a defendant acted with
deliberate indifference to that need - the subjective
component, and (3) his injury was caused by a defendant's
wrongful conduct. Goebert v. Lee County, 510 F.3d
1312, 1326 (11th Cir. 2007); see also Thomas v.
Bryant, 614 F.3d 1288, 1317 n.29 (11th Cir. 2010).
satisfy the objective component, a prisoner must allege that
his medical need “has been diagnosed by a physician as
mandating treatment or . . . is so obvious that even a lay
person would easily recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention.” Goebert, 510 F.3d at
1326 (quoting Hill v. Dekalb Reg'l Youth Det.
Ctr., 40 F.3d 1176, 1187 (11th Cir.1994)). To satisfy
the subjective component, Plaintiff must allege that a
defendant (1) was subjectively aware of a serious risk of
harm and (2) disregarded that risk (3) by following a course
of action which constituted more than mere negligence.
Melton v. Abston, 841 F.3d 1207, 1223 (11th Cir.
“not every claim by a prisoner that he has not received
adequate medical treatment states a violation of the Eighth
Amendment.” Farrow v. West, 320 F.3d 1235,
1243 (11th Cir. 2003). The Eighth Amendment does not mandate
that the medical care provided to the prisoner “be
perfect, the best obtainable, or even very good.”
Harris v. Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1510 (11th Cir.
1991) (quoting Brown v. Beck, 481 F.Supp. 723, 726
(S.D. Ga. 1980) (Bowen, J.)). As the Supreme Court has
[A]n inadvertent failure to provide medical care cannot be
said to constitute “an unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain” or to be “repugnant to the
conscience of mankind.” Thus, a complaint that a
physician has been negligent in diagnosing or treating a
medical condition does not state a valid claim of medical
mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment. Medical malpractice
does not become a constitutional violation merely because the
victim is a prisoner. In order to state a cognizable claim, a
prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful
to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-06 (1976). Thus,
mere allegations of negligence or malpractice do not amount
to deliberate indifference. Campbell v. Sikes, 169
F.3d 1353, 1363-72 (11th Cir. 1999) (explaining that medical
malpractice cannot form the basis for Eighth Amendment
liability); Harris, 941 F.2d at 1505.
allegation Dr. Ritter failed to adequately inform him of the
extent of the incision necessary to complete his surgery does
not constitute a valid deliberate indifference claim.
Plaintiff alleges, at, most, mere negligence or medical
malpractice, which is insufficient to establish a claim of
deliberate indifference. Campbell, 169 F.3d at
1363-72. Thus, Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint is
futile to the extent Plaintiff seeks to add an additional
claim against Dr. Ritter based on these allegations.
Plaintiffs proposed amended complaint would be futile, and
because amendment is wholly unnecessary for Plaintiff to
proceed on his existing claims, the Court
DENIES his motion for leave to file an
amended complaint. (Doc. no. 91.)
Plaintiff filed a motion to stay the proceedings in this
case, including discovery, pending the Court's resolution
of his motion to amend. (Doc. no. 92.) Because the Court
resolves Plaintiffs ...