SMITH v. ZANDERS et al
ORDER ADOPTING 11 Report and Recommendations and DENYING 9 Motion to Reopen Case. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 4/13/2017. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
STEVEN EUGENE SMITH,
Warden SAM ZANDERS, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:16-CV-80 (MTT)
Plaintiff Smith, pro se, filed a motion to reopen his case over seven months after
filing a notice of voluntary dismissal. Doc. 9 at 1. Smith’s case was closed after the
Court received a “Request to dismiss 42 [U.S.C.] § 1983 without prejudice,” wherein
someone purporting to be Smith wrote “I request that this court dismissed (sic) the
recently filed 42 [U.S.C.] § 1983 without prejudice.” Doc. 5 at 1. “5:16-cv-80” was
inscribed in the top, right-hand corner. Id. The handwriting in this document matches
Smith’s complaint. Compare Doc. 1 with Doc. 5. Smith does not assert that he filed the
notice of dismissal while operating under a misunderstanding or mistake as to the effect
of his notice of dismissal.1 Rather, Smith argues that he did not file the “request of
motion to voluntarily dismiss this action in above-styled case.” Doc. 9 at 1. Smith
continues by requesting that the Court “either produce the motion alleged by this court
to dismiss this action or reopen the case . . . .” Id.
Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles construed Smith’s motion as a motion for
reconsideration under Rule 60(b). Doc. 11 at 1. The Magistrate Judge concluded that
Smith in fact filed the notice of dismissal and directed the Clerk to mail Smith a copy of
The Magistrate Judge noted that even if Smith filed his notice of dismissal due to a misunderstanding
of the procedural rules, the misunderstanding of the rules would not warrant relief under Rule 60(b)(1) or
Rule 60(b)(6). Doc. at 11 at 2 & n.2.
his notice of dismissal. Id. at 2-3. As the Magistrate Judge noted, the dismissal was
without prejudice. Id. at 3. Further, the statute of limitations would not appear to bar
Smith from refiling his claim—a § 1983 claim for wrongful conviction—because, as the
Magistrate Judge noted, Smith’s claim does not accrue until his underlying conviction
has been invalidated. Id. at 3 n.3. The Magistrate Judge accordingly recommends
denying Smith’s motion. Id. at 3. Smith did not file an objection to the
Recommendation, and the time for doing so has expired.
The Court has carefully reviewed the Recommendation, and accepts and adopts
the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. The
Recommendation (Doc. 11) is ADOPTED and made the order of this Court.
SO ORDERED, this 13th day of April, 2017.
S/ Marc T. Treadwell
MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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