Walker v. Baldwin et al
ORDER denying as moot 37 Motion for Extension of Time; denying 38 Motion for Reconsideration. Plaintiff is GRANTED an extension of time to file a motion to amend complaint. Motions to amend now due 10/5/2020. Signed by Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel on 9/15/2020. (anp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EDWARD WALKER, JR.,
Case No. 19-cv-1179-NJR
JOHN BALDWIN, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSENSTENGEL, Chief Judge:
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Edward Walker, Jr.’s motion to
reconsider (Doc. 38) and motion for extension of time to identify John Doe Defendants
(Doc. 37). Defendants have filed a response in opposition (Doc. 39).
On June 16, 2020, the Court entered an initial scheduling order (Doc. 31). As part
of that Order, Walker was directed to provide Defendants with information to help
identify the John Doe Defendants by July 15, 2020. Defendants then had until July 30,
2020, to produce to Walker the identity of those unknown Defendants. Walker had until
August 14, 2020 to file a motion to substitute specific defendants for the John Does
(Doc. 31, pp. 2-3). He was warned that a failure to comply with the scheduling order
would result in the dismissal of the John Does (Doc. 31, p. 3). Walker failed to comply
with the deadlines set forth in the scheduling order and on August 21, 2020, the John
Does were dismissed without prejudice (Doc. 35). Walker subsequently filed the pending
motion to reconsider and motion for extension of time.
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Although Walker’s motion fails to set forth the procedural basis for his motion to
reconsider, the Seventh Circuit has held that a motion challenging the merits of a district
court order will automatically be considered as having been filed pursuant to Rule 59(e)
or Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures. See, e.g., Mares v. Busby, 34 F.3d
533, 535 (7th Cir. 1994). “[W]hether a motion filed within  days of the entry of
judgment should be analyzed under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) depends on the substance
of the motion, not on the timing or label affixed to it.” Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489,
493 (7th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in the original) (citing Borrero v. City of Chicago, 456 F.3d 698,
701-02 (7th Cir. 2006) (clarifying that “the former approach-that, no matter what their
substance, all post-judgment motions filed within  days of judgment would be
considered as Rule 59(e) motions – no longer applies”)). Nevertheless, a motion to
reconsider filed more than 28 days after entry of the challenged order “automatically
becomes a Rule 60(b) motion.” Hope v. United States, 43 F.3d 1140, 1143 (7th Cir. 1994)
(citing United States v. Deutsch, 981 F.2d 299, 301 (7th Cir. 1992)); see also Talano v. N.W.
Med. Faculty Found., Inc., 273 F.3d 757, 762 (7th Cir. 2001).
The Court finds that Walker’s motion falls under Rule 59(e) given the timing of
the motion (within 28 days of the relevant Order) and the nature of his arguments. A
motion to alter or amend judgment filed pursuant to Rule 59(e) may only be granted if a
movant shows there was a mistake of law or fact, or presents newly discovered evidence
that could not have been discovered previously. Matter of Prince, 85 F.3d 314, 324 (7th Cir.
1996), reh’g and suggestion for reh’g en blanc denied, cert. denied 519 U.S. 1040; Deutsch v.
Burlington N. R. Co., 983 F.2d 741 (7th Cir. 1993). “‘[M]anifest error’ is not demonstrated
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by the disappointment of the losing party. It is the wholesale disregard, misapplication,
or failure to recognize controlling precedent.” Oto v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d
601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (internal citations omitted). A movant may not use a Rule 59(e)
motion to present evidence that could have been submitted before entry of the judgment.
Obriecht, 517 F.3d at 494 (citing Sigsworth v. City of Aurora, Ill., 487 F.3d 506, 512 (7th Cir.
Walker argues that he should have been given more time to identify the John Does
and that the Court failed to take into consideration his motion for extension of time
submitted in June 2020 (Doc. 38). Along with his motion to reconsider, he also filed a
motion for extension of time (Doc. 37). Although the motion is dated June 10, 2010
(Doc. 37, p. 2), the motion was not filed in June and the attached certificate of service
indicates that it was submitted at the same time as his motion to reconsider (Id. at p. 4).
Defendants also note in their response that they did not receive the motion in June as
Walker alleges (Doc. 39, p. 2). Further, the Court notes that the motion for extension of
time states that he cannot comply with the deadline set by the Court to identify the John
Does (Id. at p. 1) but at the time the motion was dated, June 10, 2020, no deadline had
been set by the Court for identifying the unknown defendants. The Court did not enter
its initial scheduling order setting forth the process and deadlines for identifying the John
Does until June 16, 2020. Thus, it appears to the Court that Walker tried to backdate his
motion for extension of time to suggest that it was timely submitted. But he did not
submit the motion in June nor is there any indication on the docket that he timely sought
to extend the deadlines after the scheduling order was entered. Further, as Defendants
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point out in their response, Walker failed to comply with scheduling order’s directive to
provide the Defendants with identifying information. Although Walker submitted his
initial disclosures to Defendants on August 10, 2020, he never provided them with any
information to help identify the John Does (Doc. 39, p. 2). Because Walker failed to
comply with the initial scheduling order and failed to timely seek an extension of time,
the Court was correct in dismissing the John Does. Accordingly, his motion to reconsider
(Doc. 38) is DENIED. His motion for extension of time (Doc. 37) is DENIED as moot.
To the extent that Walker seeks to amend his complaint and add any additional
individuals, the deadline for filing a motion to amend is currently September 14, 2020,
but the Court GRANTS Walker additional time, up to and including October 5, 2020, to
file a motion to amend.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: September 15, 2020
NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL
Chief U.S. District Judge
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