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Ruffin v. Winnebago County Jail

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


January 30, 2007

JOHHNY M. RUFFIN, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY JAIL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Proud, Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Before the Court is plaintiff's motion to file a fourth amended complaint. (Doc. 104). Plaintiff wants to amend Counts 5, 9, 11, 16 and 17, and delete currently pending Counts 7 and 13. Several recent attempts to obtain leave to file an amended complaint have been unsuccessful because due to procedural and formatting problems that made it impossible for the Court to assess whether the proposed amendments were appropriate. Plaintiff was given until December 15, 2006, to once again move for leave to amend his complaint and submit a proposed amended complaint. (See Docs. 97 and 100). Plaintiff has subsequently moved for leave to file additional pages (Doc. 106), and to insert an omitted "page 8" (Doc. 107).

Defendants object that they have already deposed plaintiff, and allowing additions to the complaint would cause them to have to start discovery anew. (Doc. 105). Of course, defendants only object to additions to the complaint, not to the voluntary dismissal of Counts 7 and 13. In response, plaintiff incorrectly asserts that the Court already granted him leave to amend his complaint. (Doc. 108). As noted above, the Court merely gave plaintiff until December 15, 2006, to file another motion for leave to amend the complaint. (See Docs. 97 and 100).

As a preliminary matter, the Court observes that plaintiff filed the motion to amend on December 18, 2006. However, because plaintiff is incarcerated, the "prisoner mailbox" rule will be loosely applied, whereby a document motion is deemed filed when the inmate turned it over to the prison mail system. Plaintiff's motion is not dated, but because December 15th was a Friday, December 18th was a Monday, and it generally takes at least two days for a letter to travel from Pinckneyville to East St. Louis. Therefore, the Court will deem plaintiff's motion for leave to amend (Doc. 104) timely filed. With that said, plaintiff's January 3, 2007, motion for leave to file an unspecified number of additional pages to expand his statement of facts (Doc. 106) is clearly untimely and will not be permitted. Insofar as plaintiff wants to submit "page 8," a review of the proposed amended complaint indicates that "page 8," which begins Count 5, is contained in the Court's copy of the proposed amended complaint. Therefore, plaintiff's motion to remedy that perceived error (Doc. 107) is moot.

Plaintiff's proposed fourth amended complaint is cobbled together, but for the first time the Court is able to compare the new proposals to the current version of the complaint. By plaintiff's own admission, the proposed amendments to Counts 5, 9, 11, 16 and 17 are "made only to elaborate or bolster" the original claims. (Doc. 104). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) only requires "notice pleading," and not so-called fact pleading. Therefore, repeatedly amending a complaint to elaborate and bolster claims is not favored. Furthermore, this case has been pending since March 2003, and allowing further amendment, especially when no substantive changes are proposed, would only serve to prolong final resolution of this action.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint (Doc. 104) is DENIED. Accordingly, plaintiff's related motions to add pages (Docs. 106 and 107) are DENIED AS MOOT.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall have on or before February 13, 2007, to file a response, if any, to defendants' motion to dismiss Count 8, the Rehabilitation Act claim against the Illinois Department of Corrections. (Doc. 66). Plaintiff has previously indicated that he is inclined to dismiss Count 8, his Rehabilitation Act claim.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

CLIFFORD J. PROUD U. S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

20070130

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