United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
BRITTNEY MCDOUGLE, individually and on behalf of the heirs and wrongful death beneficiaries of Michael D. McDougle, Sr. PLAINTIFF
NESHOBA COUNTY, MISS., ET AL. DEFENDANTS
Carlton W. Reeves UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Brittney McDougle has filed six complaints in this case, from
her original to the present fifth amended complaint. She now
wants to file a sixth amended complaint. The defendants named
in the fifth and sixth amended complaints-Neshoba County
General Hospital, Neshoba Ambulance Enterprise, Neshoba
County, Brandi Wyatt, and Dereck Moore- are, as one can
imagine, exasperated. They ask the Court to bring this case
to a close.
2016, the Court found that the second and third amended
complaints failed to state a claim against the Hospital. The
Hospital was dismissed.
case proceeded against the defendants listed in the fourth
amended complaint. Discovery closed and motions for summary
judgment followed. Before those motions could be resolved,
the Magistrate Judge convened a settlement conference where
McDougle and the remaining defendants successfully resolved
should have been the end of it. McDougle, however, asked the
Magistrate Judge for permission to file yet another
complaint. She proposed reviving her claims against the
Hospital and adding Hospital employees Wyatt and Moore as new
defendants. Because McDougle told the Magistrate Judge that
her motion was “unopposed, ” it was granted.
representation was false. It turns out she had never asked
the Hospital's attorneys to state a position on amending
her complaint. Had she done so, she must have known that
the party who had been dismissed would not agree to be sued
in this action again.
matters to the Court, deplorable as it is, happens with some
frequency. See In re Ramos, No. 16-10353, 2017 WL
605292, at *4 (5th Cir. Feb. 14, 2017) (collecting recent
cases in which attorneys were sanctioned for
misrepresentations to the Court). Whether this
misrepresentation was a result of carelessness, or
purposefully made and shrouded in deceit, we do not know. But
we do know that McDougle's misrepresentation enabled her
to avoid (1) a motion to reconsider the Hospital's
dismissal, and (2) another motion for leave to amend the
complaint. Both would have been opposed. Both would
have faced an unfavorable standard of review. See,
e.g., Moore v. Bryant, --- F.Supp.3d ---, 2016
WL 4703825, at *18 & n.163 (S.D.Miss. Sept. 8, 2016)
(denying motion to file fourth amended complaint).
event, the Court has now reviewed the updated allegations
against the Hospital. Nothing in them warrants
reconsideration of the July 2016 Order which dismissed that
entity. McDougle should not have named the Hospital again in
her fifth amended complaint.
remainder of the analysis will proceed as if McDougle was
requesting, for the first time, leave to amend her fifth and
file her sixth amended complaints.
The Motions to Amend
motion to amend the complaint is filed after the amendment
deadline, a four-part test applies. The Court considers
“(1) the explanation for the failure to timely move for
leave to amend; (2) the importance of the amendment; (3)
potential prejudice in allowing the amendment; and (4) the
availability of a continuance to cure such prejudice.”
S&W Enterprises, L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala.,
NA, 315 F.3d 533, 536 (5th Cir. 2003) (quotation marks,
citation, and brackets omitted).
motions to amend somehow do not mention this standard. We
therefore should not be surprised that the standard is quite
unfavorable to her.
McDougle has no explanation for the late amendment. She had
previously litigated to conclusion her claims
against Neshoba County (via settlement) and the Hospital (via
Court-ordered dismissal). In other words, she had already
lost her case against the Hospital. McDougle also has no
explanation for why she allowed three months to pass between
her deposition of Wyatt and Moore-where she apparently
learned about the Ambulance ...