United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. CHUTKAN United States District Judge
March 28, 2016, this Court granted Defendants' motions
and dismissed the pro se Plaintiff's first
amended complaint. Plaintiff appealed, and the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
remanded the case “for the district court to determine
whether [Plaintiff] should have been allowed to file the
second amended complaint that [was] attached to his brief
and, if so, for further proceedings concerning the
complaint.” Brown v. Hill, 686 F. App'x 6,
7 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (per curiam). The brief to which the D.C.
Circuit refers has been docketed as Plaintiff's motion to
reopen the case and for leave to file a second amended
complaint (ECF No. 47). The court has reviewed
Plaintiff's submissions and Defendants' oppositions
(ECF Nos. 52-53), and hereby GRANTS the motion in part and
DENIES the motion in part.
no longer may amend his complaint as of right. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). Absent Defendants' written
consent, the sole means by which he may file a second amended
complaint is by leave of the court. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 15(a)(2). The decision to grant or deny leave to amend a
complaint “is committed to a district court's
discretion.” Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d
1205, 1208 (D.C. Cir. 1996). “The court should freely
give leave when justice so requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2), “in the absence of undue delay, bad faith,
undue prejudice to the opposing party, repeated failure to
cure deficiencies, or futility, ” Richardson v.
United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548-49 (D.C. Cir. 1999)
(citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
“An amendment would be futile if it merely restates the
same facts as the original complaint in different terms,
reasserts a claim on which the court previously ruled, fails
to state a legal theory, or could not withstand a motion to
dismiss.” Robinson v. Detroit News, Inc., 211
F.Supp.2d 101, 114 (D.D.C. 2002) (citation omitted). If the
proposed amended complaint would not survive a motion to
dismiss, the court may deny leave to amend as futile. See
In re InterBank Funding Corp. Sec. Litigation, 629 F.3d
213, 218 (D.C. Cir. 2010); James Madison Ltd. by Hecht v.
Ludwig, 82 F.3d 1085, 1099 (D.C. Cir. 1996).
court is mindful of its obligation to construe this pro
se Plaintiff's submissions liberally. See Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam). As
this court discussed in its prior opinion, Plaintiff received
services from Defendants, who allegedly disclosed his
protected mental health information and caused his
involuntary hospitalization in January 2011. (ECF No. 40).
Plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint appears to
focus less on the improper disclosure, and more on the role
of the District of Columbia government employees in bringing
about his involuntary hospitalization. While Plaintiff
appears to reassert some claims he previously raised against
the current defendants, he names two new defendants: Officer
Isha Edwards, the author of a report concluding that
Plaintiff should have been detained for emergency observation
and diagnosis, and Bill Peters, the District of Columbia
Department of Behavioral Health employee allegedly
responsible for Plaintiff's involuntary hospitalization.
however, Plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint is
hardly the short and plain statement of claim contemplated in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). It is rambling and
disorganized; as drafted, it fails to give fair notice to
Defendants of the claims being asserted, sufficient to
prepare a responsive answer, to prepare an adequate defense
and to determine whether the doctrine of res
judicata applies. Brown v. Califano, 75 F.R.D.
497, 498 (D.D.C. 1977). Without clearly abandoning any claims
he may have raised in his first amended complaint, Plaintiff
appears to raise new claims, including claims under the
Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. Thus, the court cannot conclude that the
proposed amendments to Plaintiff's complaint are futile.
Nor can the Court expect Defendants, old and new, to prepare
an appropriate response to the proposed second amended
complaint in its current form.
it is hereby ordered that:
court's March 28, 2016 Memorandum Opinion and Order (ECF
Nos. 40-41) are VACATED;
Plaintiff's motion to reopen the case and file his second
amended complaint (ECF No. 47), is GRANTED in part and DENIED
in part. The motion is GRANTED as to Plaintiff's request
to reopen this case, and DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as to his
request to amend his complaint;
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 83.11, the Clerk of Court shall
appoint counsel to represent Plaintiff in this action for all
proceedings in this matter are STAYED pending entry of
Clerk of Court shall mail a copy of this Memorandum Opinion
and Order to:
Mr. Melvin Brown 2700 Jasper Street SE #322 Washington, DC