Allen JR., II v. Beard et al

Filing 49

ORDER denying 40 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge Michael M. Anello on 11/29/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(acc)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 Case No.: 16cv2713-MMA (KSC) COLUMBUS ALLEN, JR., Plaintiff, 12 13 v. 14 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION JEFFREY BEARD, et al., 15 Defendants. [Doc. No. 40] 16 17 18 Plaintiff Columbus Allen, Jr., a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings 19 this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging various violations of his 20 Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care by more than a dozen individual 21 defendants. See Doc. No. 1. Defendants J. Clark Kelso, M. Ayala, J. Dogonyaro, K. 22 Reilly, P. Nava, K. Allen, G. Hernandez, M. Voong, B. Paul, G. Chavarria, W. 23 Montgomery, E. Estock, C. Espitia, J. Lewis, S. Kernan, J. Beard, and Hull (erroneously 24 sued as Hall) previously moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims against them. See Doc. Nos. 25 26, 28, 35. Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendants’ motions, and the Court granted the 26 motions and dismissed his claims against these Defendants without prejudice. See Doc. 27 No. 38. Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration by the Court of its dismissal order. See 28 Doc. No. 40. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion. 1 16cv2713-MMA (KSC) 1 DISCUSSION 2 1. Legal Standard1 3 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), district courts have the power to 4 reconsider a previous ruling or entry of judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). A motion 5 under Rule 59(e) seeks “a substantive change of mind by the court.” Tripati v. Henman, 6 845 F.2d 205, 205 (9th Cir. 1988). Under Rule 59(e), it is appropriate to alter or amend a 7 previous ruling if “(1) the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) 8 the district court committed clear error or made an initial decision that was manifestly 9 unjust, or (3) there is an intervening change in controlling law.” United Nat. Ins. Co. v. 10 Spectrum Worldwide, Inc., 555 F.3d 772, 780 (9th Cir. 2009). Rule 60(b)(6) provides 11 that a motion for “relief from judgment or order” may be granted “for any other reason 12 justifies relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). 13 To carry the burden of proof, the party seeking reconsideration must show more 14 than a disagreement with the Court’s decision or a recapitulation of the cases and 15 arguments previously considered by the court. See United States v. Westlands Water 16 Dist., 134 F. Supp. 2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001). A motion for reconsideration may 17 not be used as a vehicle to re-litigate old matters, raise new arguments, or present 18 evidence that could have been raised prior to entry of the judgment. See Exxon Shipping 19 Co. v. Baker, 544 U.S. 471, 486-87 (2008); see also Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of 20 Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000) (holding that a motion for reconsideration 21 “may not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the first time when they 22 could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation.”). 23 24 25 26                                                 27 1 28 Although Plaintiff brings this motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6), a timely motion for reconsideration may be brought under either Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b). Taylor v. Knapp, 871 F.2d 803, 805 (9th Cir. 1989). 2 16cv2713-MMA (KSC) 1 2. Analysis 2 Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of the Court’s dismissal order, arguing that 3 dismissal of his claims “conflicts with this Court’s express finding that Plaintiff stated a 4 claim sufficient to survive requisite 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), and 1915A(b) screening.” 5 Doc. No. 40 at 1. Plaintiff asserts that he believed no response to Defendants’ motions 6 was necessary because Defendants’ motions to dismiss were “an attack” on the Court’s 7 screening order, such that Plaintiff “expected an order denying Defendants’ motion[s] to 8 dismiss as frivolous with a warning for sanctions for future disregard of the Court’s time 9 and resources.” Id. at 7. This argument is quickly disposed of, as “the sua sponte 10 screening and dismissal procedure is cumulative of, and not a substitute for, any 11 subsequent Rule 12(b)(6) motion that [a defendant] may choose to bring.” Teahan v. 12 Wilhelm, 481 F. Supp. 2d 1115, 1119 (S.D. Cal. 2007). 13 Plaintiff also laments his lack of a copy of this District’s Local Rules, which he 14 claims contributed to his apparent misunderstanding of the requirement that he respond to 15 Defendants’ motions. Id. at 4. However, the Local Rules merely set forth the ordinary 16 deadline for opposing a motion. See SD CivLR 7.1.e. The Court specifically advised 17 Plaintiff in its screening order that Defendants would be responding to his complaint 18 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12. See Doc. No. 3 at 7 (ordering 19 “Defendants, once they have been served, to reply to Plaintiff’s Complaint within the 20 time provided by the applicable provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(a).”). 21 Moreover, Plaintiff concedes that he has a 2009 copy of the Federal Rules of Civil 22 Procedure at his disposal. See Doc. No. 40 at 4. Even a cursory review of Rule 12 makes 23 clear that a defendant may assert several types of defenses in a motion, and if so, the 24 motion “must be made before pleading if a responsive pleading is allowed.” Fed. R. Civ. 25 P. 12(b). Thus, Plaintiff was on notice that any of the named defendants could respond to 26 Plaintiff’s complaint by filing a motion to dismiss his claims. 27 28 Plaintiff is not a stranger to motion practice, including those challenging the plausibility of his claims under Rule 12(b). Rather, Plaintiff is a seasoned litigant who 3 16cv2713-MMA (KSC) 1 has prosecuted multiple previous federal civil rights actions. See, e.g., Allen v. County of 2 Stanislaus, Case No. 1:13-cv-00012-DAD-SAB (E.D. Cal.); Allen v. Cheung, Case No. 3 1:09-cv-00930-AWI-JLT (E.D. Cal.); Allen v. Kernan, Case No. 3:16-cv-1923-CAB- 4 JMA (S.D. Cal.). Thus, his alleged unfamiliarity with litigation generally, the rules 5 applicable to civil cases, and the requirement that he support his claims, is suspect at best. 6 The Court also notes that Plaintiff has previously failed to oppose motions to 7 dismiss his claims, been advised by the court of his need to actively litigate his case, and 8 then later sought relief based on similar arguments which he raises in his current motion 9 for reconsideration. See Doc. No. 35 at 2, Case No. 1:13-cv-00012-DAD-SAB (E.D. 10 Cal.) (asserting that he failed to oppose the defendants’ motion to dismiss because he 11 construed their motion as “an attempt to delay the filing of an answer.”). As such, 12 Plaintiff’s contention of ignorance of the applicable law and procedure is not credible. In 13 any event, “ignorance of the law, even for an incarcerated pro se prisoner, generally does 14 not excuse prompt filing.” Fisher v. Johnson, 174 F.3d 710, 714 (5th Cir. 1999). 15 Finally, and importantly, Plaintiff has not otherwise demonstrated any meritorious 16 substantive basis for relief under the applicable legal standards, and has therefore not met 17 his burden as the party moving for reconsideration. Mindful of its duty to “construe pro 18 se pleadings liberally,” Bernhardt v. Los Angeles County, 339 F.3d 920, 925 (9th Cir. 19 2003), the Court has carefully considered Plaintiff’s motion, and finds that Plaintiff fails 20 to assert any legally cognizable basis to support reconsideration of the Court’s previous 21 ruling. 22 CONCLUSION 23 Based on the foregoing, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration. 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. 25 26 DATE: November 29, 2017 _______________________________________ HON. MICHAEL M. ANELLO United States District Judge 27 28 4 16cv2713-MMA (KSC)

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?