Williams v. Maiben et al
ORDER denying 17 Motion for Reconsideration ; denying 17 Motion to Amend Complaint as set out. Signed by Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 2/3/2017. (copy to plaintiff) (cmj)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
RONALD VINCENT WILLIAMS,
WILLIE MAIBEN, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION 16-00253-KD-C
This matter is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and
motion to amend complaint, with proposed amended complaint. (Doc. 17).
Pro se prisoner Plaintiff Ronald Vincent Williams (Williams) initiated this Section 1983
action against the Defendants on May 31, 2016. (Doc. 1). Following the screening process
provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation recommending that Williams’ action be dismissed without prejudice prior to
service because his claims are either frivolous or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. (Doc. 11). After allowing Williams to submit exhibits and a sworn statement (Docs.
12, 14) and after a de novo determination of those portions of the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation to which Williams objected (Doc. 13), on January 17, 2017 the undersigned
adopted the Report and Recommendation and issued a final judgment, dismissing Williams’
action without prejudice. (Docs. 15, 16). On January 30, 2017, Williams filed a motion to
reconsider and to amend his complaint, attaching a proposed amended complaint. (Doc. 17).
At the outset, because Williams’ motion was filed less than 28 days after entry of the
final judgment, it is assessed under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as a
motion to alter or amend judgment. See, e.g., U.S. ex rel., Heesch v. Diagnostic Phy. Group,
P.C., 2014 WL 1948326, *1 (S.D. Ala. May 15, 2014) (assessing a motion to reconsider under
Rule 59 rather than Rule 60 as it was filed within 28 days after entry of the judgment). Grounds
for granting a Rule 59(e) motion consist of 1) newly-discovered evidence or 2) correcting
manifest errors of law or fact. See generally Caraway v. Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Transp., 550
Fed. Appx. 704 (11th Cir. 2013); Arthur v. King, 500 F.3d 1335 (11th Cir. 2007).
In his motion, Williams neither alleges nor submits new evidence. Williams also fails to
assert the need to correct manifest errors of law or fact. Instead, Williams simply states that he
wishes to “correct what is wrong” with his original complaint, referencing an “error [he] made”
and “for good cause.” (Doc. 17 at 1). Williams does not specify what is being “corrected” in his
proposed amended complaint, and the fact remains that this action has already been dismissed.
Moreover, even when the Court compares the original complaint with Williams’ proposed
amended complaint, he is not making “corrections,” he is asserting new allegations.
example, a Fifth Amendment action by Ronald Vincent Williams/Ronnie Williams in Doc. 1 and
a Fourteenth Amendment action by Ronald Vincent Williams in the proposed amended
complaint (compare Doc. 1 at 1 and Doc. 17-1 at 1). Williams has also revised his explanation
of his claim (compare Doc. 17-1 at 3 to Doc. 1 at 3), and adds four (4) pages of new handwritten
allegations (Doc. 17-1 at 7-11). While Williams’ handwriting is difficult to read, the amended
complaint appears to be Williams’ attempt to assert a new case against the Defendants (adding
allegations to that which he previously asserted). The Court is unable to discern any “error”
Williams endeavors to correct, post-judgment, in his original complaint.
Upon consideration, Plaintiff’s motion fails to establish newly discovered evidence or
manifest errors of law or fact. At best, Williams reiterates arguments already made, which the
Court already rejected. Rule 59(e) is not an appropriate vehicle to “relitigate old matters, raise
argument or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.” Frantz
v. Walled, 513 Fed. Appx. 815, 822 (11th Cir. 2013). See also e.g., McCorvey v. Weaver, 2014
WL 6388515, *2 (S.D. Ala. Nov. 14, 2014). In short, Williams has not set forth any basis for
Rule 59(e) relief. See, e.g., McCall v. Mitchem, 2012 WL 2946268, *1 (S.D. Ala. Jul. 19, 2012).
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Williams’ motion for reconsideration (Doc. 17) is DENIED.
With regard to Williams’ request to amend his complaint (Doc. 17), the Court finds that
this request should be DENIED. While Rule 15 does not apply once the court has dismissed the
complaint and entered final judgment, requiring a plaintiff, post-judgment, to instead seek leave
to amend “under [Federal Civil Procedure] Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b)(6),” Jacobs v. TempurPedic Int'l, Inc., 626 F.3d 1327, 1344-1345 (11th Cir. 2010), Rule 15(a)'s lenient amendment
standards still govern the Court's analysis, Dussouy v. Gulf Coast Inv. Corp., 660 F.2d 594, 597
n. 1 (5th Cir. 1981). Nevertheless, “[w]hile a pro se litigant must generally be given an
opportunity to amend his complaint, a…court need not allow any…amendment [that] would be
futile.” Lee v. Alachua Cty., Fl., 461 Fed. Appx. 859, 860 (11th Cir. 2012). “Leave to amend a
complaint is futile when the complaint as amended would still be properly dismissed...” Id.
The Court cannot discern how any of the amended (added) allegations in Williams’
proposed amended complaint provide a basis for the relief he requests. Williams’ original
Section 1983 complaint was dismissed because his claims were found to either be frivolous, as a
matter of law, or failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 11). For
example, as to Defendant Brown, the Court concluded that he was not acting under color of state
law – one of the required elements -- and so Williams cannot pursue a claim against him in a
Section 1983 action. (Doc. 11 at 4-5). As for Defendants Grant and Phillips, Williams’ claims
were found not to be cognizable as they arose in connection with these defendants’ roles as
advocates for the state, and Williams’ claims were barred under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 486-484 (1994) as well as deemed premature. (Id. at 5-7). Concerning Defendant Maiben,
Williams’ claims were likewise found to be barred under Heck, and his claim to be released from
confinement was noted as pursuable in habeas corpus, but not in a Section 1983 action. (Id. at
8). Thus, based on the foregoing, any amended to Williams’ complaint would be futile such that
his motion to amend (Doc. 17) is DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED this the 3rd day of February 2017.
/s/ Kristi K. DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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