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Murey v. The City of Chickasaw Alabama

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

January 25, 2019

CARLOS FERNANDO REIXAC MUREY, As Administrator for the Estate of Carlos Lens Fernandez, a/k/a Carlos Lens, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICKASAW, AL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          KRISTI K. DUBOSE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint (Doc. 31), Defendants' Opposition (Doc. 36) and Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. 38).

         I. Background

         Plaintiff initiated this action in the Circuit Court of Mobile County on May 26, 2018, alleging Fourteenth Amendment claims and a state law wrongful death claim (Ala. Code § 6-5-410) against Defendants City of Chickasaw, Alabama, Michael E. Reynolds (former Police Chief -- Chickasaw AL), and Cynthia Robinson (Police Officer -- Chickasaw, AL) due to the May 27, 2016 actions/omissions of Defendants while Carlos Lens (now deceased) was incarcerated in the Chickasaw City Jail. (Doc. 2-1 at 5-17). Plaintiff alleges four (4) counts as follows: Count I - 14thamendment violations against all individual defendants; Count II - 14th amendment violations against the City of Chickasaw; Count III - 14th amendment violations against Defendant Reynolds; and Count IV - wrongful death - state law claim, against all defendants. (Id.)

         On June 15, 2018, Defendants removed the case to this Court on the basis of federal question subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 1). On July 6, 2018, Defendants filed their answer, asserting a number of affirmative defenses. (Doc. 6). In so doing, Defendants did not plead the affirmative defense of statute of limitations. (Id.)

         On December 3, 2018, Plaintiff moved to amend the complaint, to add Section 1983 claims against proposed individual defendants Robert Wenzinger and Michael Reynolds, and the City of Chickasaw, AL. (Doc. 31). As grounds, Plaintiff contends that it took 28 months to obtain videos/other evidence related to Carlos Lens' death (obtained October 1, 2018) and as such, when the complaint was filed, Plaintiff lacked knowledge of what occurred in the Chickasaw City Jail on May 26, 2016. (Doc. 31 at 1-2). Plaintiff "now has a clear picture of the events" and so seeks to amend the complaint "to fairly and accurately state what happened in the…Jail and why Carlos Lens died in custody." (Id. at 2). Per Plaintiff, the proposed amendments include the following:

• Dismiss Cynthia Robinson Burt as a Defendant;
• Join Officer Robert Wenzinger as a Defendant;
• Eliminate fictitious parties;
• Add citations and detail to Jurisdiction and Venue section;
• Delete Agency section and respondeat superior references;
• Revise Parties section to reflect change in Defendants;
• Add substantial detail to the Facts section;
• Change Count I from Fourteenth Amendment Violations against all Defendants to claim against Wenzinger;
• Change Count II from Fourteenth Amendment Violations against the City of Chickasaw to Fourteenth Amendment claims against Chief Michael Reynolds and add additional allegations and details;
• Change Count III from Fourteenth Amendment Violations against Chief Michael Reynolds to Fourteenth Amendment claims against the City of Chickasaw;
• Eliminate fictitious parties and the City of Chickasaw from the Wrongful Death claim and revise the ...

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