United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Christopher Cremeans, pro se
Edward Sakowski, Esq.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. JOHNSTONE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is plaintiff Christopher Cremeans's motion to
amend (Doc. No. 25) his complaint (Doc. No. 1) in this
matter. Construed liberally in light of Cremeans's pro se
status, see Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007), the motion to amend appears to seek leave to add a
claim to this case alleging that defendants'
implementation of PPD 7.09 runs afoul of a consent decree
issued in a class action case in 1978, see Laaman v.
Helgemoe, Civ. No. 75-cv-258 (D.N.H.), which related to
the conditions of confinement at the New Hampshire State
Prison. Defendants object to the motion to amend.
See Doc. No. 27.
general matter, under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, "[l]eave to amend should be 'freely
given . . . when justice so requires[, ]' absent an
apparent or declared reason such as 'futility of
amendment.'" Rife v. One West Bank, F.S.B.,
873 F.3d 17, 20-21 (1st Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). A
proposed amendment is futile if the claim at issue would be
subject to dismissal. If the factual allegations comprising
the proposed claim, taken as true and with all reasonable
inferences drawn in plaintiff's favor, would fail to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted,
id. at 21, or would comprise a claim that is not
within the court's subject matter jurisdiction, a court
may find a proposed amendment to be futile, see Muskat v.
United States, 554 F.3d 183, 195-96 (1st Cir. 2009).
original complaint, Cremeans asserted claims alleging that
the defendant prison officials in this case have violated his
First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to familial
association, due process, and equal protection, by denying
him visits with his minor grandson. Cremeans's original
complaint also included claims that his federal
constitutional rights were violated when he was denied those
visits in contravention of the New Hampshire Department of
Corrections ("DOC") Policy and Procedure Directive
("PPD") 7.09, which "establish[es] a policy
and procedures for facilitating a safe, secure, orderly,
manageable and pleasant visiting process for persons under
[DOC] custody with their family members and friends."
PPD 7.09, I (Doc. No. 1, at 15) .
case was closed however, on July 6, 2001, when the
Laaman court approved the parties' settlement
agreement and stipulation of dismissal. See Laaman
(ECF No. 523). The July 6, 2001 Order in Laaman
terminated federal court jurisdiction over matters in that
consent decree, and provided that the Laaman consent
decree's terms, as modified by the settlement agreement,
would be enforceable only in the state courts of New
Hampshire. Id. This court therefore lacks original
jurisdiction over claims arising out of an alleged violation
of the Laaman Consent Decree. Cf. Dupont v.
Dubois, 99 F.3d 1128, 1996 WL 649340, at *1 & n.3,
1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 29142, at *3 & n.3 (1st Cir. 1996)
(unpublished table decision) (order to enforce federal
consent decree or state court settlement agreement is
unavailable in individual action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983). Supplemental jurisdiction over such claims is also not
properly exercised here, claims of violations of
Laaman agreement would raise issues regarding
plaintiff's standing to seek relief and defendants'
compliance that would be likely to substantially predominate
over the remaining claims here. Cf. 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(2). Cremeans's proposed claims based on the
Laaman case are thus subject to dismissal for lack
of jurisdiction, and, therefore, the district judge should
deny the motion to amend as futile.
foregoing reasons, the district judge should deny
Cremeans's motion to amend (Doc. No. 25). Any objections
to this Report and Recommendation must be filed within
fourteen days of receipt of this notice. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b)(2). The fourteen-day period may be extended
upon motion. Failure to file specific written objections to
the Report and Recommendation within the specified time
waives the ...