Paul Luxama v. John McHugh
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:15-cv-01586-CMH-JFA Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. . Mailed to: Paul Luxama CENTURY CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION 400 Tedder Road Century, FL 32535. [16-6830]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
Plaintiff - Appellant,
JOHN MCHUGH, Secretary of the U.S. Army; DAVID D. VELLENFE,
JAG Counsel at Discharge proceedings; READ G. HARRIS, Major,
Assistant Adjutant of the UCMJ; B. BELL, Major, special
President of the Army Review Agency; GERARD G. SCHWARZ,
Acting Director of the Army Review Board Agency,
Defendants - Appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia, at Alexandria.
Claude M. Hilton, Senior
District Judge. (1:15-cv-01586-CMH-JFA)
December 29, 2016
January 17, 2017
Before KING, AGEE, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.
Reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded by unpublished
per curiam opinion.
Paul Luxama, Appellant Pro Se.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Paul Luxama appeals the district court’s order denying his
motion to reopen his case.
We reverse the district court’s
order denying the motion to reopen, vacate the district court’s
Luxama filed a complaint in November 2015 in the Alexandria
Division of the Eastern District of Virginia (“first action”).
The court received letters from Luxama on December 28, 2015, and
February 2, 2016, requesting an update on the status of his
The district court did not respond until March 4, 2016,
update on the status of his case, and having not yet received
the district court’s order, Luxama mailed an identical copy of
the complaint to the Richmond Division of the Eastern District
The Alexandria Division received the second complaint on March
30 and proceeded to open the second action.
After he received
the district court’s March 4 order, Luxama mailed two documents
on March 21.
On March 25, the Alexandria Division received
Luxama’s consent form authorizing collection of filing fees from
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Dismissal of Luxama v. McHugh, etc.” to the Richmond Division,
explaining that the court could dismiss his complaint because he
had previously filed an action in another court and that he had
notice in Luxama’s first action on the same day it received
Luxama’s complaint in the second action.
The district court
construed Luxama’s notice as a motion to voluntarily dismiss and
dismissed Luxama’s first action without prejudice on April 7.
explaining why he had sent a second complaint and that he had
pending and he was not entitled to have two separate actions
involving the same matter pending at the same time.
On June 28,
the court dismissed the second action without prejudice under
Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a).
Because Luxama filed his motion to reopen his case within
properly considered under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e).
v. Wix Filtration Corp., 599 F.3d 403, 412 (4th Cir. 2010).
review a district court’s order denying a Rule 59(e) motion for
abuse of discretion.
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Wilkins v. Montgomery, 751 F.3d 214, 220
(4th Cir. 2014).
“A Rule 59(e) motion may only be granted in
(1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not available
at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent
Mayfield v. Nat’l Ass’n for Stock Car Auto
quotation marks omitted).
We conclude that—although understandable given the flurry
of papers crossing in the mail—the district court abused its
discretion in denying Luxama’s motion.
See GO Computer, Inc. v.
Microsoft Corp., 508 F.3d 170, 177 (4th Cir. 2007).
received no responses to his requests asking for a status update
complaint to a different division of the district court.
he realized that the Alexandria Division had received his first
complaint, he then took action to remedy any confusion he caused
when he mailed a second copy of his complaint to the Richmond
dismissal was sent to the Richmond Division, and Luxama mailed
clear to have the second action dismissed while proceeding with
the first action.
In light of the unique circumstances of this
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case, the district court should have granted the Rule 59 motion
and reopened the first action.
Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s order denying
Luxama’s motion to reopen, vacate the district court’s order
dismissing his complaint, and remand for further proceedings.
this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.
REVERSED IN PART,
VACATED IN PART, and REMANDED
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