United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE.
September 6, 2019, nine cases challenging the conditions of
confinement at the Special Management Unit
(“SMU”) at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification
Prison (“GDCP”) were consolidated pursuant to
Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See
Curry v. Sellers (5:17-cv-424), Doc. 31. Pursuant to the
consolidation order, Curry v. Sellers was designated
as the lead case, with all other cases designated as member
following thirteen motions are currently pending in this
action: Plaintiff Rodriguez’s (1) motion for
reconsideration of the order vacating an entry of default
(id., Doc. 32), (2) motion for joinder, class
certification, and appointment of class counsel
(id., Doc. 33), (3) motion for a preliminary
injunction and temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) (id., Doc. 34), and (4) motion
to amend the complaint (id., Doc. 35); Plaintiff
McCoy’s (5) motion to amend the complaint
(id., Doc. 36); Plaintiff Coleman’s (6) motion
for appointment of an expert witness (id., Doc. 37)
and (7) motion for a physical and mental examination
(id., Doc. 38); Plaintiff Brooks’s (8) motion
to amend the complaint (id., Doc. 39), (9) motion
for a “liberty deprivation hearing”
(id., Doc. 40), and (10) motion for leave to
interview witnesses (id., Doc. 41); Plaintiff
Emberson’s (11) motion to appoint counsel
(id., Doc. 45) and (12) renewed motion to appoint
counsel (id., Doc. 51); and Plaintiff Diaz’s
(13) motion to appoint counsel (id., Doc. 46).
reasons set forth below, all the above-listed motions are
DENIED, except Plaintiff Brooks’s
motion to amend (id., Doc. 39), which is
Motion for Reconsideration
Rodriguez has moved-for the second time-for
reconsideration of the order vacating entry of default
against Defendant Burnside in Rodriguez v. Chatman
(5:15-cv-2). Curry, Doc. 32. Shortly preceding
Plaintiff’s motion, Plaintiff Rodriguez’s sole
claim against Defendant Burnside-a claim for deliberate
indifference to serious medical need, in violation of the
Eighth Amendment-was severed from Rodriguez v.
Chatman (5:15-cv-2) and entered in the new case of
Rodriguez v. Powell (5:17-cv-387). See
Chatman (5:15-cv-2), Doc. 185. Plaintiff’s claim
against Defendant Burnside has since been resolved at the
trial level and is now awaiting decision on appeal.
Powell (5:17-cv-387), Docs. 318, 319.
motion for reconsideration must be denied. Entry of Default
against Defendant Burnside was vacated upon good cause shown
and because the circumstances were not so
“extreme” as to warrant the drastic remedy of
judgment by default. See Rodriguez v. Chatman
(5:15-cv-2), Doc. 118. On reconsideration pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), the order vacating entry of
default was found to be not “clearly erroneous or . . .
contrary to law.” Id., Doc. 183. Since
Plaintiff’s instant motion for reconsideration offers
nothing to contradict that conclusion, focusing instead on an
alternative ground on which the original motion for
reconsideration was denied,  the motion is
Motion for Joinder, Class Certification, and Appointment
of Class Counsel
Rodriguez has filed a motion for joinder, class action
certification, and appointment of class counsel.
Curry, Doc. 33. In Gumm v. Jacobs
(5:15-cv-41), the Court certified a class of all persons who
are or in the future will be assigned to either the SMU or
the Tier III Program. Gumm, Doc. 256 at 28. The
Court also approved a class action settlement agreement
resolving all claims for injunctive and declaratory relief.
Id. In light of the class action settlement
agreement in Gumm, Plaintiff’s motion is
DENIED as moot.
Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary
Rodriguez has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and
TRO, requesting that Defendant Powell and “his
Agents” be ordered to provide Plaintiff Rodriguez and
all other inmates at GDCP with one hour per day of
out-of-cell recreation time, as required by “State
Regulations, Rules and Policies.” Curry, Doc.
34. According to Plaintiff, since February 27, 2018, while he
was incarcerated in GDCP, he had been denied all out-of-cell
recreation, in violation of his due process and Eighth
Amendment rights. Id. at 4–8, 12–13.
Because Plaintiff has since been transferred from GDCP, and
pursuant to the class action settlement agreement in
Gumm, his motion for injunctive relief and a TRO is
DENIED as moot. See Smith v. Allen,
502 F.3d 1255, 1267 (11th Cir. 2007) (“The general rule
in our circuit is that a transfer or a release of a prisoner
from prison will moot that prisoner’s claims for
injunctive and declaratory relief.”), abrogated on
other grounds by Sossamon v. Texas, 563 U.S. 277 (2011).
Motions to Amend
Rodriguez, McCoy, and Brooks have filed motions to amend
their respective complaints. Curry, Docs. 35, 36,
39. Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs
when amendment to a pleading is appropriate:
“A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of
course within . . . (A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) if
the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is
required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or
21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or
(f), whichever is earlier.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a party
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party’s
written consent or the court’s leave, ” which
should freely be given when justice so requires. Id.
15(a)(2). A district court has discretion to deny a proposed
amendment “(1) where there has been undue delay, bad
faith, dilatory motive, or repeated failure to cure
deficiencies by amendments previously allowed; (2) where
allowing amendment would cause undue prejudice to ...