BURGEST v. DANIELS
Entry Denying Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment - For this reason, and the reasons set forth in the Court's previous entries explaining why the plaintiff's claims must be dismissed, the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration [dkt. 16 ] is denied (SEE ENTRY). Copy sent to Plaintiff via US Mail. Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 2/23/2017. (DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
EARL HUGHES BURGEST,
CHARLES DANIELS Warden,
Entry Denying Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment
The Court entered Final Judgment in this action on January 24, 2017, after dismissing the
plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Presently before the Court is the plaintiff’s
motion for reconsideration in which he asks the Court to reconsider that decision. Given its
substance, this motion shall be treated as a Rule 59(e) motion. See Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d
489, 493-94 (7th Cir. 2008) (“[W]hether a motion . . . 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.”).
The purpose of a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e) is to have the Court
reconsider matters “properly encompassed in a decision on the merits.” Osterneck v. Ernst and
Whinney, 489 U.S. 169, 174 (1988). To receive relief under Rule 59(e), the moving party “must
clearly establish (1) that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or (2) that newly
discovered evidence precluded entry of judgment.” Edgewood Manor Apartment Homes, LLC v.
RSUI Indem. Co., 733 F.3d 761, 770 (7th Cir. 2013). A “manifest error” means “wholesale
disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.” Oto v. Metropolitan Life
Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000). Relief through a Rule 59(e) motion for reconsideration
is an “extraordinary remed[y] reserved for the exceptional case.” Foster v. DeLuca, 545 F.3d 582,
584 (7th Cir. 2008).
The plaintiff attempts to show that the Court made a manifest error of law. He does this
by maintaining that his constitutional rights applicable to prison disciplinary proceedings were
violated, for example, in that he was denied exculpatory evidence and a sufficient explanation of
the basis for the decision. But the Court addressed why the plaintiff cannot challenge his
disciplinary proceedings in this action on two occasions. In the Court’s Screening Entry dated
December 20, 2016, the Court explained:
The plaintiff suggests he might have been denied the protection of Wolff because
he was not present during the first disciplinary proceeding. He does not state
whether or not good-time credits were lost as a result of the disciplinary
proceedings at issue. But either way, his claims must be dismissed. If he did not
lose good-time credits, the prison was “free to use any procedures it chooses, or no
procedures at all.” Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 644 (7th Cir. 2001).
Thus he was afforded due process and even fraudulent charges cannot violate his
constitutional rights. See Lagerstrom, 463 F.3d at 624-25. If he did lose good-time
credits, his challenges to the disciplinary proceedings are barred by the doctrine
recognized in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), which holds that “when ‘a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff [in his civil suit] would necessarily imply the
invalidity of his conviction or sentence[,] . . . the complaint must be dismissed
unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been
invalidated.” Hill v. Murphy, 785 F.3d 242, 248 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Heck, 512
U.S. at 484-85)). In other words, when a prisoner makes a claim that, if successful,
could shorten his term of imprisonment, the claim must be brought as a habeas
petition, not as a § 1983 claim. Accordingly, regardless of whether good-time
credits were lost, the plaintiff’s claims must be dismissed.
Filing No. 9 at 2-3.
Again, if the disciplinary proceeding about which the plaintiff complains increased his term
of imprisonment, he may challenge that in a habeas proceeding. If the sanctions have no yet been
vacated, however, he cannot challenge it in a civil rights actions such as this one. The Court did
not make a manifest error of law in concluding as much. For this reason, and the reasons set forth
in the Court’s previous entries explaining why the plaintiff’s claims must be dismissed, the
plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration [dkt. 16] is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
EARL H. BURGEST
COLEMAN - I USP
COLEMAN I U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 1033
COLEMAN, FL 33521
LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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?