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Amending the Complaint

District Court Decisions

Stanko v. BOP, No. 10-724, 2012 WL 336173 (D.D.C. Feb. 3, 2012) (Boasberg,J.). Holding: Granting BOP's renewed motion for summary judgment on the basis that it conducted an adequate search and properly withheld certain information pursuant to Exemption 7(C); and denying plaintiff leave to amend his complaint. The court denies plaintiff leave to amend his complaint to add a claim "solely on the Privacy Act and forego any FOIA claim." The court concludes that, in this case, "[a]mendment would be futile because Plaintiff cannot maintain a Privacy Act claim against BOP here, as Defendant is exempt from the provisions of the Act." The court also determines that plaintiff's claim based on the Privacy Act and his First Amendment rights is futile. Additionally, the court notes that plaintiff's delay in raising these claims "a full eighteen months after the filing of his initial Complaint here, over four months after the Court dismissed most of his case" also provide "an independent ground for denial of leave to amend." The court comments that "[t]hese are claims [plaintiff] certainly knew of at the outset of this litigation, and, even if they had a shred of merit, they should have been brought then."

Pickering-George v. Cuomo, No. 11-741, 2011 WL 3652211 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 19, 2011) (D'Agostino, J.) (adopting magistrate's recommendation). Holding: Granting plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis; and ordering plaintiff to file an amended complaint within thirty days. The court adopts the magistrate's recommendation and order granting plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis on his FOIA claim. The court also concludes that although the magistrate "correctly found that plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim," "in light of plaintiff's pro se status, [he] will be provided an opportunity to amend his complaint to provide additional factual support of his claims."

Brown v. FBI, No. 10-1292, 2011 WL 2516420 (D.D.C. June 24, 2011) (Lamberth,J.). Holding: Denying as futile plaintiff's motion for leave to amend for all FOIA claims, except one brought against the Tax Division of DOJ; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the basis that he has not demonstrated that he exhausted his administrative remedies; and denying FBI's motion to dismiss. The court denies as futile plaintiff's motion for leave to amend his complaint to add new FOIA claims, except for his request to the Tax Division of DOJ. The court finds that plaintiff "has not placed information into the record showing that [any of the other] agenc[ies] denied his request or that he appealed their denial, and he has therefore failed to allege administrative exhaustion." However, with respect to his claim against the DOJ's Tax Division, the court notes that plaintiff, in his reply, alleged that he filed an administrative appeal of the agency's denial. The court finds that plaintiff’s claims "would survive a motion to dismiss" and, accordingly, grants him leave to amend his complaint, but also "urges plaintiff to submit evidence clearly demonstrating exhaustion of his administrative remedies should defendant file for summary judgment."

Rojas-Vega v. Cejka, No. 09-2489, 2011 WL 2417130 (S.D. Cal. June 10, 2011) (Benitez,J.). Holding: Dismissing plaintiff's third amended complaint without leave to amend for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). As an initial matter, the court notes that "[a] complaint filed by any person proceeding, or seeking to proceed, [in forma pauperis] under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) is subject to mandatory sua sponte review and dismissal if the complaint is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from suit." In accordance with this review, the court dismisses plaintiff's third amended complaint without leave to amend. The court concludes that in terms of plaintiff's FOIA claim his "conclusory allegations that an agency improperly withheld tapes and transcripts of state court proceedings is not sufficient." The court notes that "[f]ederal agencies are not caretakers of state court documents" and finds that "[p]laintiff provides no basis for an agency to maintain tapes and transcripts of Plaintiff's state court plea proceedings decades after those proceedings took place and years after the state court destroyed those records."

Pickard v. DOJ, No. 10-5253, 2011 WL 2199297 (N.D. Cal. June 7, 2011) (Beeler, Mag.). Holding: Granting government's motion to transfer the case based on improper venue; and denying plaintiff's request for leave to amend his complaint without prejudice with leave to seek to amend in the district court to which the action was transferred. "Given the court's ruling that venue is not proper here, the court denies [plaintiff] leave to amend without prejudice to his seeking leave in the Eastern District of Virginia."

Penn v. DOJ, No. 10-2494, 2011 WL 1627343 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2011) (Brennan, Mag.). Holding: Denying without prejudice plaintiff's motion for leave to amend his complaint and his request for appointment of counsel. The court denies plaintiff's leave to amend his complaint to add additional state entities without prejudice, but notes that "because the proposed new defendants are not 'agencies' within the meaning of FOIA, it appears amendment to state a FOIA claim against those defendants would be futile."

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