United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
G. WILKERSON United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to File an Amended Complaint (Doc. 49). For the reasons
set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
Gregory Hope filed this action pro se on March 25,
2016 alleging his constitutional rights were violated while
he was incarcerated at Lawrence CC. Following a screening of
Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
Plaintiff was allowed to proceed against Nurses Welty and
Woods, as well as Warden Duncan and unknown parties for
failing to provide adequate medical treatment related to a
heart attack he suffered in August, 2015. Plaintiff was
assigned counsel on May 26, 2016 (Doc. 23) and is currently
represented by Attorney John Dalton.
through Attorney Dalton, seeks to amend his complaint to add
additional parties and claims for relief, and include
additional factual allegations. More specifically, Plaintiff
seeks to add the following individuals as defendants: Linda
Hovey, Patrick Riggs, Tenielle Alger, Corrections Officer
Covat, Jimmie Stanley, and Kelly Richardson. Plaintiff seeks
to bring forth a claim against these individuals (as well as
Defendants Woods, Welty, Duncan, and unknown parties) for
failing to provide medical treatment in violation of the
Eighth Amendment in both their individual and official
capacities (the Court notes, however, that Plaintiff does not
seek to name Defendant Duncan in his individual capacity).
have not filed a response to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend
despite being provided ample time and opportunity to do so.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that a party may amend
a pleading and that leave to amend should be freely given
"when justice so requires." The Seventh Circuit
maintains a liberal attitude toward the amendment of
pleadings "so that cases may be decided on the merits
and not on the basis of technicalities." Stern v.
U.S. Gypsum, Inc., 547 F.2d 1329, 1334 (7th Cir. 1977).
The Circuit recognizes that "the complaint merely serves
to put the defendant on notice and is to be freely amended or
constructively amended as the case develops, as long as
amendments do not unfairly surprise or prejudice the
defendant." Toth v. USX Corp., 883 F.2d 1297,
1298 (7th Cir. 1989); see also Winger v. Winger, 82
F.3d 140, 144 (7th Cir. 1996) (quoting Duckworth v.
Franzen, 780 F.2d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 1985)) ("The
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure create [a system] in which
the complaint does not fix the plaintiff's rights but may
be amended at any time to conform to the evidence."). A
court may also deny a party leave to amend if there is undue
delay, dilatory motive or futility. Guise v. BMW
Mortgage, LLC, 377 F.3d 795, 801 (7th Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff's motion to amend is not unduly delayed or
brought with dilatory motive. Further, Plaintiff's
proposed Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim set
forth against all Defendants except Warden Duncan in their
individual capacities does not appear to be futile and, as
Defendants have not objected to said proposed claim,
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend is GRANTED insofar as it
relates to his individual capacity Eighth Amendment claim.
with regard to Plaintiff's proposed Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference claim set forth against all
Defendants in their official capacities, the Court finds that
Plaintiff's request to bring said claim to be futile and,
insofar as his proposed amended complaint sets forth an
official capacity claim against Defendants, his Motion to
Amend is DENIED.
official capacity suits “generally represent only
another way of pleading an action against an entity of which
an officer is an agent.” Kentucky v. Graham,
473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (quoting Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n. 55
(1978)). Accordingly, if a plaintiff brings suit against a
government entity, any claim against an officer of that
entity in his or her official capacity is redundant and
should be dismissed. See Schmidling v. City of
Chicago, 1 F.3d 494, 495 n. 1 (7th Cir. 1993)
(dismissing the mayor from the suit in his official capacity
because the same claims were being made against the city). As
such, insofar as Plaintiff sets forth an official capacity
claim against all other Defendants in addition to Defendant
Warden Duncan, Plaintiff's claim is redundant and futile.
Further, Plaintiff seeks to obtain monetary damages under
Section 1983 related to his official capacity claim. As the
Supreme Court has explained, “a suit against a state
official in his or her official capacity is not a suit
against the official but rather is a suit against the
official's office, ” i.e. the State itself.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 71 (1989) (“a State is not a person within the
meaning of § 1983”). As such, § 1983 claims
for monetary damages against state officials in their
official capacity cannot survive the pleading stage because
those state officials are not “persons” for
purposes of allowing suit under § 1983. Wagoner v.
Lemmon, 778 F.3d 586, 592 (7th Cir. 2015).
as Plaintiff seeks declaratory or injunctive relief against
Defendant Duncan in his official capacity, the Court finds
that said relief is also barred. While the Eleventh Amendment
does not bar claims for prospective injunctive relief,
see Williams v. Wisconsin, 336 F.3d 576, 580-81 (7th
Cir. 2003), there is no indication here that Plaintiff's
declaratory or injunctive relief is intended to address
ongoing violations of federal law. Indiana Protection and
Advocacy Services v. Indiana Family and Social Services
Admin., 603 F.3d 365, 371 (7th Cir. 2010).
these reasons, Plaintiffs Motion to Amend is GRANTED IN PART
AND DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff is ORDERED to file his proposed
amended complaint as the Amended Complaint, in conformance
with the parameters of this Order (i.e. Plaintiff must omit