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Quarrie v. Wells

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 5, 2019

LINDSAY O'BRIEN QUARRIE, Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHEN WELLS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S THIRD MOTION TO AMEND SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

          GREGORY B. WORMUTH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's third successive Motion to Amend Second Amended Complaint and Memorandum in Support Thereof (doc. 144) and the attendant briefing (docs. 146, 147). For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED.

         I. Plaintiff's Motion

         The Motion now before the Court is the third filing in which Plaintiff has sought leave to amend his currently operative Second Amended Complaint (doc. 75). The Court denied Plaintiff's previous two motions on the bases of undue delay and presentation of theories seriatim. See docs. 104, 129, 143. In both instances, Plaintiff sought leave to add new claims without any demonstration that the new claims were based on information not previously available. See doc. 143 at 4. The Court therefore found that granting leave to amend for a third time would allow Plaintiff to use his complaint as a “moving target” to the detriment of Defendants. See docs. 104, 129, 143.

         In the Motion now before the Court, filed on June 25, 2019, Plaintiff does not seek to add any new claims. Instead he requests leave to make the following amendments:

(1) Add the word “intentional” to his claim of Title VI racial discrimination;
(2) Remove the word “conspiratorial” from his Title VI claim, thereby dropping any separate claim of conspiracy;
(3) Remove Defendant Board of Regents of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (“Regents of NMT”) from his Ex Parte Young claim for prospective injunctive relief; and
(4) Add a number of new factual allegations (paragraphs 21, 22, 34-39, 57-59, 70, and 72).[1]

See generally doc. 144.

         Defendants responded in opposition on July 9, 2019, arguing that Plaintiff's motion is untimely, unduly delayed, and frivolous, given the Court's denial of Plaintiff's two previous motions to amend. See doc. 146 at 5-9. Defendants further ask the Court to sanction Plaintiff under its inherent authority, in light of Plaintiff's “pattern and practice of filing frivolous motions to amend his pleading.” Id. at 9.

         Plaintiff filed a reply on July 23, 2019, arguing that, as a pro se party, he should be allowed to amend his complaint in order to render his claims meritorious. See doc. 147 at 2- 7. Plaintiff additionally urges the Court to “reprimand” Defendants for violating Rule 11(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires a twenty-one day “safe harbor” period before a party may file a motion for sanctions with the Court. See id. at 7-10. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend is now before the Court.

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) states that “a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Whether to grant or deny a motion to amend is “within the discretion of the trial court.” Minter v. Prime Equip. Co., 451 F.3d 1196, 1204 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 401 U.S. 321, 330 (1971)). However, the purpose of Rule 15 is “to provide litigants the maximum opportunity for each claim ...


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