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Billingsley v. Orr

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

April 7, 2015

KRISTOPHER BILLINGSLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE ORR, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Pending before the court is Plaintiff Kristopher Billingsley's ("Mr. Billingsley") Amended Motion for Leave (Doc. 36) (the "Second Motion") filed on March 19, 2015.[1] The Second Motion seeks to reopen the Scheduling Order (Doc. 14) filed on December 31, 2013, and to permit Mr. Billingsley to amend his complaint in light of the summary judgment ruling entered by this court on January 13, 2015, that was partially adverse to him. (Doc. 26). Defendant opposed the Second Motion on March 25, 2015. (Doc. 37).

For the reasons explained below, the Second Motion is DENIED.[2]

II. Standards

A. Rule 16(b)(4)

Under Rule 16(b)(4), "[a] schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent." Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). Further, Rule 16's good cause standard "precludes modification unless the schedule could not be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.'" Sosa v. Airprint Systems, Inc., 133 F.3d 1417, 1418 (11th Cir. 1988) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee notes). Finally, "[a] district court's decision to enforce its pre-trial order will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion." Sosa, 133 F.3d at 1418 ( Santiago v. Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., 986 F.2d 423, 427 (11th Cir. 1993)).

B. Rule 15(a)(2)

Rule 15(a)(2) provides: "[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). Whenever a party seeks to amend a pleading past the Rule 16 deadline (such as here), that party "must first demonstrate good cause under Rule 16(b) before [the district court] will consider whether amendment is proper under Rule 15(a)." Sosa, 133 F.3d at 1418 (emphasis added).

III. Analysis

In dismissing Count One of his complaint on summary judgment, this court appropriately concluded that Mr. Billingsley had not pled an excessive force claim independent from his unlawful arrest count. (Doc. 26 at 11-14). The court then determined that no unconstitutional search and seizure had occurred or, alternatively, that qualified immunity protected Defendant from any liability for such a claim. ( Id. at 14-19). As a result, neither an independent nor a dependent claim for excessive force under federal law is a part of this case.

Upset with this ruling, Mr. Billingsley filed a Motion To Amend, Alter or Vacate (Doc. 28) on January 23, 2015, insisting (and despite the inadequate allegations contained in his pleading as expressly pointed out by the court in its summary judgment ruling) that his "Complaint sufficiently included an excessive force claim." (Doc. 28 at 3). On March 9, 2015, the court denied Mr. Billingsley's Motion To Amend, Alter or Vacate, and explained to him that:

[I]t was incumbent upon Mr. Billingsley to seek leave to amend his complaint and clarify that he was asserting a Fourth Amendment excessive force claim entirely separate from his Fourth Amendment illegal search and seizure claim asserted in Count One. To date, Mr. Billingsley has not sought permission for such an amendment. Instead, he has ineffectively chosen to quibble over the court's ...

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