United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
MANDREY D. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
JIMMY HILBOURN, Defendant.
C. FOX Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court upon the following motions: (1)
Plaintiffs motion to appoint counsel [DE-30]; (2)
Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [DE-37];
(3) Defendant's motion to stay [DE-41]; and (4)
Plaintiffs motion to amend the complaint [DE-50]. For the
following reasons: (1) Plaintiffs motion to appoint counsel
is DENIED as moot; (2) Plaintiffs motion to amend is ALLOWED;
(3) Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is
DENIED without prejudice; and (4) Defendant's motion to
stay is DENIED as moot.
December 22, 2014, Plaintiff, a state inmate who was
proceeding pro se at the time, filed this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Compl. [DE-1]. Plaintiffs original claims
were dismissed as frivolous on July 24, 2015 [DE-16].
Plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for
the Fourth Circuit [DE-19]. On February 8, 2016, the Fourth
Circuit vacated this court's dismissal of Plaintiffs
claims and remanded the case for further proceedings [DE-25].
Specifically, the Fourth Circuit stated:
[Plaintiff] alleged that he fell from the top bunk of his bed
face-first onto the concrete floor and suffered significant
and permanent injuries. Captain Hilborn observed Davis lying
face-down on the floor and transported him to the medical
ward. Davis asserts that Hilborn then denied Davis access to
any medical care and transferred him to segregation when
Davis demanded treatment, resulting in three days passing
before Davis was treated by prison medical staff. The
district court did not address this claim, concluding that
Davis merely complained about the course of treatment
eventually provided by prison officials. Because the court
did not address the three-day delay in treatment, we vacate
the district court's order and remand for further
Davis v. Hilborn. 632 F.App'x 148, 149 (4th Cir.
Fourth Circuit issued its mandate on March 1, 2016 [DE-27],
and, on March 2, 2016, the court directed the Clerk of Court
to continue management of Plaintiffs claims [DE-28]. On March
21, 2016, Plaintiff filed a pro se motion to appoint counsel
[DE-30]. Since the filing of that motion, Charles Ali Everage
has entered a notice of appearance on behalf of Plaintiff
7, 2016, Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the
pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure [DE-37]. In this motion, Defendants argue,
inter alia, that Plaintiffs complaint should be
dismissed because it is "confusing and
incomprehensible", and therefore fails to state any
viable claim. Def. Mem. [DE-38], p. 2. Defendants also argued
that Plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies
with regard to his claims against Defendant Hardie.
Id. at 7. Contemporaneous with their motion for
judgment on the pleadings, Defendants filed a motion to stay
discovery pending the resolution of their dispositive motion
27, 2016, the parties filed a joint stipulation of voluntary
dismissal of Defendant Hardie, leaving Defendant Hilborn as
the sole remaining defendant [DE-47]. Finally, on August 31,
2016, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint,
seeking to replace his disjointed pro se complaint with one
drafted by counsel [DE-50]. These matters are now ripe for
initial matter, because counsel has now entered a notice of
appearance on behalf of Plaintiff, Plaintiffs motion to
appoint counsel [DE-30] is DENIED as moot.
regard to Plaintiffs motion to amend his complaint, under
Rule 15(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
plaintiff may amend his complaint once as a matter of course
within 21 days after the earlier of (1) service of a
responsive pleading or (2) service of a motion under Rule
12(b), (e), or (f). After expiration of this time period, a
party may amend only with either the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Under Rule 15, a "motion to amend should be
denied only where it would be prejudicial, there has been bad
faith, or the amendment would be futile." Nourison
Rug Corp. v. Parvizian. 535 F.3d 295, 298 (4th Cir.
2008); see Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
Defendant argues that this motion should be denied because it
is futile. The court disagrees. Even when framed in a
"confusing and incomprehensible" pro se complaint,
the Fourth Circuit reviewed Plaintiffs claims and determined
that they merited further proceedings. Plaintiffs proposed
amended complaint prepared by counsel simply clarifies claims
that this court has already stated survive initial review on
remand [DE-28]. Given the liberal standard in favor of
amendment, Plaintiffs motion to amend [DE-50] is ALLOWED.
similar reasons, Defendant's motion for judgment [DE-37]
on the pleadings is likewise due to be denied. To the extent
Defendant argues Plaintiffs complaint should be dismissed
because it is "confusing and incomprehensible", the
amended complaint will correct that deficiency. Moreover, as
noted above, after Plaintiffs claim was remanded by the
Fourth Circuit, the court determined that Plaintiffs
remaining claim survived initial review [DE-28]. Thus, even
in its "confusing and incomprehensible" pro se
form, the complaint stated a claim worthy of further
analysis. Accordingly, Defendant's motion for judgment on
the pleadings [DE-37] is DENIED without prejudice. The court
emphasizes that Defendant may renew his ...