Ulrich v. Scott et al
MEMORANDUM RULING re 64 and 67 MOTIONS for Reconsideration, and 70 MOTION to Amend Complaint. Signed by Judge S Maurice Hicks on 9/12/2017. (crt,Keifer, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
AMBER HAHMER ULRICH
CIVIL ACTION NO. 14-0037
JUDGE S. MAURICE HICKS, JR.
CHARLES R. SCOTT, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HORNSBY
Before the Court are three motions filed by Plaintiff Amber Hahmer Ulrich (“Ulrich”):
(1) Motion to Reconsider Summary Judgment FRCP 59(e) and Rule 60(b) (Record
Document 64); (2) Motion to Reconsider Motion to Dismiss Detective Ray FRCP 59(e) and
Rule 60(b) (Record Document 67); and (3) Motion to Amend Complaint (Record Document
70). Defendants oppose all three motions. See Record Documents 66, 69, 72, and 73.
For the reasons contained in the instant Memorandum Ruling, Ulrich’s motions are
Rule 59(e) provides that “a motion to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no
later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.” F.R.C.P. 59(e). “Generally, a motion
to alter or amend a judgment, filed under Rule 59(e) may be granted: (1) to correct
manifest errors of law or fact upon which judgment is based; (2) the availability of new
evidence; (3) the need to prevent manifest injustice; or (4) an intervening change in
controlling law.” Hill v. Kervin, No. CIV A 08-272-P, 2009 WL 2254295, at *1 (W.D. La.
July 28, 2009). Altering or amending a judgment is considered “an extraordinary measure,
which courts should use sparingly.” In the Matter of Self, 172 F.Supp.2d 813, 816 (W.D.
Rule 60(b) provides that “the court may relieve a party or its legal representative
from a final judgment, order, or proceeding 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 under
Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation,
or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been
satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed
or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or (6) any other reason that
justifies relief.” F.R.C.P. 60(b). “Relief under Rule 60(b) is considered an extraordinary
remedy,” as the “desire for a judicial process that is predictable mandates caution in
reopening judgments.” Carter v. Fenner, 136 F.3d 1000, 1007 (5th Cir.1998) (citation
Motion to Reconsider Summary Judgment FRCP 59(e) and Rule 60(b) (Record
While labeled as a motion to reconsider a summary judgment ruling, Ulrich asks the
Court to reconsider its ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. On August 16, 2016,
this Court granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion filed by Defendants, Caddo Parish Assistant
District Attorneys Geya Prudhomme (“Prudhomme”), Jordan Bird (“Bird”) and Kenya Ellis
(“Ellis”). See Record Documents 60 & 61. All federal and state law claims against
Prudhomme, Bird and Ellis were dismissed.
As to Defendants Bird and
Prudhomme, Ulrich contends the Court’s ruling was in error and creates manifest injustice.
See Record Document 64 at 2.1 She asks the Court to apply “relevant case law,”
specifically Loupe v. O’Bannon, 824 F.3d 534 (5th Cir. 2016) and Cole v. Carson, 802 F.3d
Ulrich does not request reconsideration as to the dismissal of Ellis. See Record
Document 64-1 at 5.
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752 (5th Cir. 2015), and reconsider the dismissal of all claims against Defendants
Prudhomme and Bird. See id. Ulrich argues that she has plead actions on the part of
Prudhomme and Bird which form a cause of action not protected by absolute immunity.
See Record Document 64-1 at 7.
The Court has reviewed both Loupe and Cole and finds neither case dictates
reconsideration in this instance. In Loupe, the Fifth Circuit addressed the applicability of
absolute immunity to a claim against a prosecutor who had ordered a warrantless arrest
after a judge refused to issue a bench warrant. See Loupe, 824 F.3d at 540. In Cole, the
Fifth Circuit discussed absolute immunity in the context of law enforcement officers and
prosecutors who lie or provide false information. See Cole, 802 F.3d at 774-776. The
court noted that a prosecutor is not entitled to absolute immunity when he falsifies an
affidavit supporting an arrest warrant. See id. at 775. Here, Defendants Prudhomme and
Bird did not order a warrantless arrest. Moreover, they did not execute an affidavit or
testify under oath as witnesses in order to secure a bench warrant. Loupe and Cole are
factually distinguishable from the instant matter and neither case serves as intervening
change in controlling law. See Hill, 2009 WL 2254295, at *1. Ulrich has failed to
demonstrate that the extraordinary remedy of reconsideration, whether it be under Rule
59(e) or Rule 60(b), is warranted.
Motion to Reconsider Motion to Dismiss Detective Ray FRCP 59(e) and Rule
60(b) (Record Document 67)
On August 29, 2016, this Court granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion filed by Defendant,
Shreveport Police Officer Jimmy N. Ray (“Officer Ray”). See Record Documents 62 & 63.
The Court held that Officer Ray was entitled to qualified immunity and all of Ulrich’s claims
against Officer Ray were dismissed with prejudice. See id. The Court also granted the
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Rule 12(b)(6) motion as to the federal and state law claims against the City of Shreveport
(“the City”), finding no viable Monell claim and no viable vicarious liability state law claim
because “in the absence of any underlying tortious conduct of City employees, there can
be no vicarious liability on the part of the City.” Record Document 62 at 13. Ulrich now
moves for reconsideration, arguing that the Court’s ruling “was issued in error and creates
manifest injustice as to the dismissal of Detective Jimmy N. Ray and the City under state
law.” Record Document 67 at 2. Ulrich argues that she has plead actions on the part of
Officer Ray that “form a cause of action no protected by qualified immunity” and that
“provide a basis for state law claims.” Id. Ulrich focuses on her malicious prosecution and
double jeopardy claims. See Record Document 67-1 at 4-7.
A review of the Third Amended Complaint reveals that Ulrich asserted a Fifth
Amendment claim grounded in double jeopardy protection and a claim for “violation of due
process, malicious prosecution,” both federal claims. See Record Document 39 at ¶¶ 3944, 51-52. Moreover, Ulrich’s state law claims are asserted against the City and the City
Attorney, not Officer Ray. See id. at ¶¶ 53-58. There is no specific reference to Officer
Ray in the factual allegations relating to Ulrich’s state law claims. See id. Ulrich has not
met her burden of establishing a reason under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) to warrant
reconsideration of this Court’s analysis of qualified immunity as to the federal claims or the
dismissal of the state law claims. At this late stage, rehashing arguments and/or alleging
new factual allegations, which could have previously been pled, are insufficient bases for
Motion to Amend Complaint (Record Document 70)
Ulrich has also filed a motion to amend her Complaint to further details the claims
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against Defendant Prudhomme in her individual capacity, seeking to avoid absolute
immunity. See Record Document 70 at 2. Ulrich likewise seeks to amend her Complaint
as to the factual allegations relating to Officer Ray. See id. at 2-3.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 governs amended and supplemental pleadings.
“The Court should freely give leave [to amend a complaint] when justice so requires.”
F.R.C.P. 15(a)(2). Ultimately, however, the decision to grant leave to amend a complaint
a second or successive time is at the discretion of the district court, and is subject to
reversal only upon a finding of abuse of discretion. See Carroll v. Fort James Corp., 470
F.3d 1171, 1174 (5th Cir. 2006). “In determining whether to grant leave, a district court
may consider such factors as (1) undue delay; (2) bad faith; (3) dilatory motive on the part
of the movant; (4) repeated failure to cure deficiencies by any previously allowed
amendment; (5) undue prejudice to the opposing party; and (6) futility of amendment.” Ellis
v. Liberty Life Assur. Co. of Boston, 394 F.3d 262, 268 (5th Cir. 2004).
Here, Ulrich seeks to file a fourth amended complaint. The allegations she seeks
to add are not based on any new information or evidence and the Court finds no
justification for allowing Ulrich to attempt to correct deficiencies in her complaint a fifth time.
She has had a fair opportunity to make her case and the Court will permit no further
amendments. See Schiller v. Physicians Res. Grp. Inc., 342 F.3d 563, 567 (5th Cir. 2003)
(“[T]his Court held that ‘at some point a court must decide that a plaintiff has had fair
opportunity to make his case; if, after that time, a cause of action has not been established,
the court should finally dismiss the suit.’”). The Motion to Amend Complaint is, therefore,
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Based on the foregoing analysis, Ulrich’s Motions to Reconsider (Record
Documents 64 and 67) are DENIED. She has failed to demonstrate that the extraordinary
remedy of reconsideration, whether it be under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b), is warranted.
Likewise, her Motion to Amend Complaint (Record Document 70) is DENIED, as she has
had a fair opportunity to make her case in the four previous complaints.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
THUS DONE AND SIGNED, in Shreveport, Louisiana, this 12th day of September,
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