Fletcher v. Miller et al
ORDER denying 25 Motion for Reconsideration Signed by Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr on 2/13/2018. (ail)
United States District Court
Southern District of Florida
Damian A. Fletcher, Plaintiff,
S. Miller, and others, Defendants.
) Civil Action No. 16-62551-Civ-Scola
Order Denying Plaintiff’s Motion For Reconsideration
This matter is before the Court on Damian A. Fletcher’s motion for
reconsideration of the Court’s Order Adopting Magistrate’s Report and
Recommendation, which adopted Magistrate Judge White’s recommendation
that the Court dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. (Mot., ECF No. 25.) Judge White construed the
Complaint as challenging the lawfulness of Fletcher’s arrest, his continued
detention, the criminal charges against him, and the actions of the state
prosecutors. (Report, ECF No. 7.) Judge White recommended that the Court
dismiss the Complaint because Fletcher’s criminal case was still pending at the
time he filed the Complaint. (Id. at 6-12.) In addition, Judge White noted that
prosecutors are immune from § 1983 suits relating to activities that are
intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process, and found
that the Complaint failed to state a claim for a constitutional violation against
the prosecutor’s supervisor. (Id. at 12-13.) Finally, Judge White opined that
Fletcher’s slander claim did not rise to the level of a due process violation. (Id.
Rule 59(e) permits a motion to alter or amend a judgment. “The only
grounds for granting a Rule 59 motion are newly-discovered evidence or
manifest errors of law or fact. A Rule 59(e) motion cannot be used to relitigate
old matters, raise argument or present evidence that could have been raised
prior to the entry of judgment.” Arthur v. King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir.
2007) (internal quotations omitted). Rule 60(b) permits a court to relieve a
party from a final judgment or order for the following reasons: (1) mistake,
inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence
that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move
for a new trial . . . ; (3) fraud . . . , misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an
adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied,
released, or discharged . . . ; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the
operation of the judgment.
The decision to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration is committed
to the district court’s sound discretion. See Chapman v. AI Transport, 229 F.3d
1012, 1023-24 (11th Cir. 2000) (reviewing reconsideration decision for abuse of
discretion). Reconsideration is appropriate only in very limited circumstances,
such as where “the Court has patently misunderstood a party, where there is
an intervening change in controlling law or the facts of a case, or where there is
manifest injustice.” See Vila v. Padron, 2005 WL 6104075, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Mar.
31, 2005) (Altonaga, J.). “Such problems rarely arise and the motion to
reconsider should be equally rare.” See id. (citation omitted). In order to obtain
reconsideration, “the party must do more than simply restate its previous
arguments, and any arguments the party failed to raise in the earlier motion
will be deemed waived.” See id. “[A] motion for reconsideration should not be
used as a vehicle to present authorities available at the time of the first
decision or to reiterate arguments previously made.” Z.K. Marine Inc. v. M/V
Archigetis, 808 F. Supp. 1561, 1563 (S.D. Fla. 1992) (Hoeveler, J.).
Fletcher filed a Description of Violations and Facts to Support Claim (the
“Description”) in support of his motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 26). As a
threshold matter, the Court notes that multiple pages of the Description are
illegible. (Id. at 20-29.) However, the majority of the pages that are legible
simply elaborate on the allegations set forth in the Complaint and Amended
Complaint. Fletcher has not alleged that he has discovered new evidence, and
he has not demonstrated that the Court’s previous decision was based on a
manifest error of law or fact.
The only new piece of information in the motion is that Fletcher’s
criminal case has been dismissed. (Mot. 1.) However, the dismissal of the
criminal case does not constitute newly-discovered evidence, nor does it justify
reconsideration under any of the Rule 60(b) factors. Moreover, a review of the
state court record reveals that Fletcher’s case was nolle prossed. To the extent
that Fletcher is attempting to utilize the dismissal of his case to revive his
malicious prosecution claim, he must “present evidence that the nol pros was
not the result of a negotiated plea or bargain.” Alamo Rent-A-Car, Inc. v.
Mancusi, 632 So.2d 1352, 1356 (Fla. 1994). It is unclear from Fletcher’s
allegations whether the nol pros was the result of a negotiated plea or bargain.
Accordingly, the Court denies the motion for reconsideration, as well as
Fletcher’s request that the Court appoint an attorney to represent him (ECF
No. 25). If Fletcher wishes to re-assert the claims that were dismissed because
his criminal case was still pending at the time he filed the Complaint, he must
file a new complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 3.
Done and ordered in chambers at Miami, Florida on February 13, 2018.
Robert N. Scola, Jr.
United States District Judge
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