United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
matter is currently before the Court on Plaintiff Leon
Barnes's objection to Magistrate Judge Donald G.
Wilkerson's Order dated February 22, 2016, which denied
Plaintiff's request to amend his complaint in order to
add Lance Phelps as a defendant (Doc. 22). For the reasons
explained below, the appeal is denied, and Magistrate Judge
Wilkerson's Order dated February 22, 2016 is affirmed.
previously alleged a claim against Lance Phelps for denying
him due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and
by subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the Eighth Amendment (Doc. 9). On September 21,
2015, the undersigned allowed Counts 2 and 3 to proceed on
the basis that “it is possible that the Adjustment
Committee-Timothy R. Veath and Tonya D. Kenner-knowingly and
deliberately imposed a second punishment for a single
offense, which could violate the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment and amount to cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.” (Doc.
9, p. 6). Finding that there was no suggestion that Defendant
Phelps “knew that the ticket was (arguably) duplicative
or that he had any involvement in the Adjustment
Committee's decisions regarding guilt and punishment,
” the Court dismissed Defendant Phelps from this action
without prejudice (Doc. 9, p. 7-8).
two months later, on November 30, 2015, Plaintiff filed a
motion seeking leave to amend his complaint (Doc. 18). The
proposed first amended complaint sought to reinstate his
claims against Defendant Phelps. Magistrate Judge Donald
Wilkerson denied Plaintiff's motion on February 22, 2016
(Doc. 21). Specifically, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson noted
that Plaintiff's new allegations against Defendant Phelps
“do not indicate that [Defendant] Phelps had any
involvement in the Adjustment Committee's decisions
regarding guilt and punishment and, although his actions may
be considered negligent, they are not sufficient to rise to a
constitutional violation” (Doc. 21, p. 2-3). Therefore,
leave to amend was denied (Id.).
then sought reconsideration of that ruling (Doc. 22), which
actually appears to be an appeal of Magistrate Judge
Wilkerson's Order directed to the undersigned.
Court may modify or reverse a decision of a magistrate judge
on a nondispositive issue upon a showing that the magistrate
judge's decision is “clearly erroneous or contrary
to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(a); SDIL-LR 73.1(a). A decision is clearly erroneous
“only if the district court is left with the definite
and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.”
Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., Ltd.,
126 F.3d 926, 943 (7th Cir. 1997). See also Parts &
Elec. Motors, Inc. v. Sterling Elec., Inc., 866 F.2d
228, 233 (7th Cir. 1988) (“To be clearly erroneous, a
decision must strike [the court] as more than just maybe or
probably wrong; it must . . . strike [the court] as wrong
with the force of a five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead
fish.”) (cited by S Indus., Inc. v. Centra 2000,
Inc., 249 F.3d 625, 627 (7th Cir. 2001)).
a motion for leave to amend a pleading is evaluated under
Rule 15(a)(2), which provides that courts “should
freely give leave when justice so requires.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). However, “courts in their sound
discretion may deny a proposed amendment if the moving party
has unduly delayed in filing a motion, if the opposing party
would suffer undue prejudice, or if the pleading is
futile.” Soltys v. Costello, 520 F.3d 737, 743
(7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Compania Mgmt. Co. v. Rooks,
Pitts & Poust, 290 F.3d 843, 848-49 (7th Cir.
objection, Plaintiff argues that Defendant Phelps did not
have to have participated directly in the deprivation as he
was “fully aware that Plaintiff had already received a
ticket and was not satisfied and initiated the
‘duplicitous' infraction, which is undoubtedly the
affirmative link between the action complained about by the
Plaintiff.” (Doc. 22, p. 3). Plaintiff indicates that
this awareness by Defendant Phelps is demonstrated by the
fact that, sometime in May 2013 (after the
adjustment committee decision), Plaintiff alerted Defendant
Phelps that he was serving six additional months, and
Defendant Phelps indicated that he would check it out and get
it fixed, but did nothing to correct his own mistake.
Court recognizes that personal responsibility can be found
“if the conduct causing the constitutional deprivation
occurs at [the officer's] direction or with [his]
knowledge and consent.'” Gentry v.
Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995) (citing
Smith v. Rowe, 761 F.2d 360, 369 (7th Cir. 1985)).
“That is, he ‘must know about the conduct and
facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye .
. . .'” Id. (citing Jones v. City of
Chicago, 856 F.2d 985, 992 (7th Cir. 1988)). But the
Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's assessment
that Plaintiff's allegations do not suggest that
Defendant Phelps knew that the ticket was duplicative when he
wrote it, simply because Plaintiff had a conversation with
him after the fact, and Defendant Phelps never addressed his
complaints. Nor was Defendant Phelps involved in the
disciplinary hearing that resulted in the imposition of
Plaintiff Leon Barnes's objection to Magistrate Judge
Wilkerson's Order dated February 22, 2016 (Doc. 22) is
DENIED, and Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's ...