Lightfeather v. Beatrice Sun Times et al

Filing 17

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER -The Plaintiff's 16 Motion for Reconsideration and for leave to amend is denied in all respects. Ordered by Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(MKR)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA AUSTIN EDWARD LIGHTFEATHER, 8:21CV114 Plaintiff, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER vs. BEATRICE SUN TIMES, and LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, Defendants. On May 19, 2021, the court entered a judgment of dismissal after finding that Plaintiff’s Complaint lacks an arguable basis in law, and is frivolous. (See Filings 14, 15.) On June 1, 2021, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration and for leave to amend. (Filing 16.) The motion will be denied in all respects. Because Plaintiff has not indicated which provision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure he is relying upon in making the motion, it may be treated either as a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend judgment or as a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment. See Sanders v. Clemco Indus., 862 F.2d 161, 168 (8th Cir. 1988). But whichever rule is applied, the motion fails. Rule 59(e) motions serve the limited function of correcting manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence. United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006). Such motions cannot be used to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments which could have been offered or raised prior to entry of judgment. Id. Under Rule 60(b), a court may grant a party relief from a judgment 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. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Relief under the catchall provision, Rule 60(b)(6), is available only in “extraordinary circumstances.” Buck v. Davis, 137 S. Ct. 759, 777–78 (2017) (quoting Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524 (2005)). Upon consideration of Plaintiff's motion, the court concludes Plaintiff has not demonstrated any legitimate reason for altering, amending, or otherwise obtaining any relief from the court’s judgment of dismissal. He has not shown that the dismissal was the result of manifest error of law or fact nor has he presented any “extraordinary circumstances” justifying relief. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to establish sufficient grounds for setting aside the court’s judgment under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b). The district court has “considerable discretion to deny a post-judgment motion for leave to amend because such motions are disfavored....” Ryan v. Ryan, 889 F.3d 499, 508 (8th Cir. 2018) (quoting United States ex rel. Roop v. Hypoguard USA, Inc., 559 F.3d 818, 824 (8th Cir. 2009). “[F]utility constitutes a valid reason for denial of a motion to amend.” Id. (quoting United States ex rel. Raynor v. Nat'l Rural Utils. Coop. Fin., Corp., 690 F.3d 951, 958 (8th Cir. 2012)). Plaintiff’s proposed amendment would not make this action any less frivolous. The fact remains that the defendants are not state actors, and they are not alleged to 2 have been acting in concert with state actors. Consequently, no civil rights action can be maintained under 42 U.S.C § 1983. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and for leave to amend (Filing 16) is denied in all respects. Dated this 7th day of June, 2021. BY THE COURT: Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge 3

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