Mitchell v. Hopper et al

Filing 40

ORDER Denying 39 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Because Plaintiff does not seek to vacate the Court's judgment in this case based on any mistake, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, or other reason justifying relief pursuant to Rule 60(b), the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 39 ). Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 4/27/2021. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service) (tcf)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CORREY MITCHELL, Case No.: 19-cv-006 JLS (LL) Plaintiff, 12 13 14 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION v. LT. G. HOPPER, et al., 15 Defendants. (ECF No. 39) 16 17 Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Correy Mitchell’s Request for Reconsideration 18 by the District Court Judge’s Ruling Granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment 19 on Plaintiff’s Claims (“Mot.,” ECF No. 39). After reviewing Plaintiff’s arguments and the 20 law, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration. 21 BACKGROUND 22 On January 2, 2019, Plaintiff Correy Mitchell, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, 23 commenced this action under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. On 24 January 25, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff IFP status. ECF No. 3. 25 On September 27, 2019, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint. ECF No. 12 26 (“FAC”). Plaintiff alleged Defendants violated his First and Eighth Amendment rights 27 during an attack on Plaintiff while he was housed at Centinela State Prison. Id. ¶¶ 9–22. 28 On October 23, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment alleging Plaintiff 1 19-cv-006 JLS (LL) 1 failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. See ECF No. 13. On July 1, 2020, Magistrate 2 Judge Linda Lopez issued a report and recommendation (“R&R”) recommending 3 Defendants’ motion for summary judgment be granted. ECF No. 27. Plaintiff filed 4 objections to the R&R, ECF No. 28, and Defendants filed a reply, ECF No. 29. On August 5 25, 2020, the Court overruled Plaintiff’s objections, adopted the R&R in its entirety, and 6 granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 30 (“Order”). 7 On September 30, 2020, Plaintiff filed his notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit. ECF 8 No. 32. The Ninth Circuit determined that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because 9 the notice of appeal was not filed within 30 days after the Court’s judgment entered on 10 August 25, 2020. See ECF No. 36. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of 11 jurisdiction. ECF No. 37. 12 On April 12, 2021, Plaintiff filed the present motion seeking reconsideration of the 13 Court’s Order overruling Plaintiff’s objections, adopting the R&R, and granting 14 Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 39. 15 LEGAL STANDARD 16 Under Rule 60, a motion for “relief from a final judgment, order or proceeding” may 17 be filed within a “reasonable time,” but usually must be filed “no more than a year after 18 the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c)(1). 19 Rule 60(b) provides for reconsideration where one or more of the following is shown: (1) 20 mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which 21 by due diligence could not have been discovered before the court’s decision; (3) fraud by 22 the adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied; (6) any 23 other reason justifying relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b); School Dist. 1J v. ACandS Inc., 5 F.3d 24 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). 25 “Although the application of Rule 60(b) is committed to the discretion of the district 26 courts . . ., as a general matter, Rule 60(b) is remedial in nature and must be liberally 27 applied.” TCI Group Life Ins. Plan v. Knoebber, 244 F.3d 691, 695–96 (9th Cir. 2001) 28 (internal quotation marks and ellipsis omitted). Nevertheless, Rule 60(b) provides for 2 19-cv-006 JLS (LL) 1 extraordinary relief and may be invoked only upon a showing of “exceptional 2 circumstances.” Engleson v. Burlington N.R. Co., 972 F.2d 1038, 1044 (9th Cir. 1994). 3 ANALYSIS 4 Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of the Court’s August 25, 2020 Order, wherein the 5 Court overruled Plaintiff’s objections, adopted Magistrate Judge Lopez’s R&R, and 6 granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Court found in the Order that 7 Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Order at 4. 8 In Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff claims that his access to the 9 courts have been obstructed due to “severe library staff shortages,” “social distancing 10 guidelines due to COVID 19,” “changing protocols by administration due to the 11 pandemic,” “waiting period dating back to August 2020” for law library access, and 12 “unoperable” law library computers. Mot. at 2 (emphasis omitted). Plaintiff argues that 13 “due to these reasons[,] Plaintiff was unable to timely file this petition.” A motion pursuant 14 to Rule 60 may be filed within a “reasonable time,” but usually must be filed “no more 15 than a year after the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding.” Fed. R. 16 Civ. P. 60(c)(1). Plaintiff filed the present Motion on April 12, 2021, which was less than 17 eight months after the Order was entered. Given the circumstances, the Court finds 18 Plaintiff’s motion was filed within a reasonable time. Therefore, Plaintiff’s present motion 19 is timely, and the Court will consider Plaintiff’s arguments on the merits. 20 Plaintiff argues that “incidental should not deny Plaintiff of his constitutional right 21 to petition the Court and obtain redress to his grievance from the Court.” Mot. at 2. 22 Plaintiff contends that “it was an incidental act that brought forth an unexhausted 23 administrative remedy claim” and “Plaintiff clearly thought his administrative remedy had 24 been exhausted[.]” Id. Plaintiff claims that he “would have submitted his grievance to the 25 third level of appeal had he not incidentaled [sic] in believing that: 1. First level of appeal 26 did not address his grievance thus, he must go to the second level of appeal to have his 27 grievance addressed. 2. Second level of appeal addressed his grievance thus, his grievance 28 is now exhausted.” Id. at 3 (emphasis omitted). Plaintiff requests the following relief: 3 19-cv-006 JLS (LL) 1 “nullification of the order granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment,” “a stay,” 2 an order to the “State of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to accept 3 Plaintiff’s grievance on the third level of appeal,” an order to Plaintiff “to submit his 4 grievance to the third level of appeal,” and finally an order for “Plaintiff to return to the 5 United State District Court when he can show exhaustion of his administrative remedy.” 6 Id. 7 Nothing in Plaintiff’s Motion shows or even plausibly suggests the Court’s August 8 25, 2020 Order is subject to question based on the existence of newly discovered evidence, 9 fraud by the opposing party, or any mistake committed by the Court. See generally Bynoe 10 v. Baca, 966 F.3d 972 (9th Cir. 2020) (discussing the circumstances that may justify 11 reopening a final judgment under Rule 60(b)). Plaintiff has not presented any newly 12 discovered evidence. Ybarra v. McDaniel, 656 F.3d 984, 998 (9th Cir. 2011). “Evidence 13 is only newly discover[ed] if it was in fact previously unavailable—i.e. the party asserting 14 the evidence, acting with reasonable diligence, could not have previously discovered the 15 evidence.” Vasquez v. City of Idaho Falls, 2018 WL 1123865, at *3 (D. Idaho 2018) (citing 16 Zimmerman v. City of Oakland, 255 F.3d 734, 740 (9th Cir. 2001)). Although Plaintiff did 17 not previously understand how to administratively exhaust his claims, this information was 18 discoverable through “reasonable diligence.” Nor has Plaintiff demonstrated that “the 19 district court committed clear error or made an initial decision that was manifestly unjust, 20 or . . . [that] there [was] an intervening change in controlling law.” Id. 21 Plaintiff has failed to provide any factual or evidentiary support for any basis under 22 Rule 60(b) that would justify vacating the Court’s Order. A motion for reconsideration 23 cannot be granted merely because Plaintiff is unhappy with the judgment, frustrated by the 24 Court’s application of the facts to binding precedent, or because he disagrees with the 25 ultimate decision. See 11 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller Federal Practice & 26 Procedure § 2810.1 (3d ed.) (“[R]econsideration of a judgment after its entry is an 27 extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.”). A party seeking reconsideration 28 must show “more than a disagreement with the Court’s decision, and recapitulation of the 4 19-cv-006 JLS (LL) 1 cases and arguments considered by the court before rendering its original decision fails to 2 carry the moving party’s burden.” United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F. Supp. 3 2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001). Plaintiff has failed to carry his burden of demonstrating 4 that the Court should employ this extraordinary remedy. 5 CONCLUSION 6 Because Plaintiff does not seek to vacate the Court’s judgment in this case based on 7 any mistake, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, or other 8 reason justifying relief pursuant to Rule 60(b), the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion for 9 Reconsideration (ECF No. 39). 10 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: April 27, 2021 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5 19-cv-006 JLS (LL)

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