McClellan v. Cothron et al
ORDER denying Plaintiff's 36 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 6/3/2021. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(kby)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
IAIAN EVANS MCCLELLAN,
TODD SCHETTER, et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for
Reconsideration [Doc. 36], which the Court construes as a motion to alter or
amend the judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Pro se Plaintiff Iaian Evans McClellan (“Plaintiff”) is a prisoner of the
State of North Carolina currently incarcerated at Marion Correctional
Institution in Marion, North Carolina. Plaintiff filed this action on July 10,
2020, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming as Defendants Berry Carver,
identified as the Superintendent at Marion; David E. Cothron, identified as
the Assistant Superintendent at Marion; Jeff James, identified as the Unit
Manager at Marion; Jodi Bradley, identified as a Correctional Officer at
Marion; Todd Schetter, identified as a Correctional Officer at Marion; and
Robert T. Barker, identified as Disciplinary Hearing Officer at Marion.1 [Doc.
1 at 3-4].
Before the Court conducted its initial review, Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint. [Doc. 15]. He named nearly the same Defendants, omitting
Defendant Carver, and adding Defendant A. Corpening, whom Plaintiff
identified therein as the Superintendent at Marion. [Id. at 2-4]. Then, on
September 28, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint, but failed
to seek leave of Court to do so. [See Doc. 18]. For the sake of efficiency,
the Court allowed Plaintiff to amend his complaint. In his Second Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff named the same Defendants as in his Amended
Complaint. [See id.].
On October 13, 2020, Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint [Doc. 18]
survived initial review as to Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment failure to protect
claim against Defendant Todd Schetter only. [Doc. 19]. The Court dismissed
the claims against Defendants Cothran, James, Corpening, Barker, and
Bradley with prejudice for the reasons stated in the Court’s Order. [Doc. 19
at 12-13]. Thereafter, Plaintiff asked the Court to allow him to “withdraw” his
Complaint and “void” the filing fee or, in the alternative, to amend his
Plaintiff originally filed his action in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The same day,
the Richard E. Meyers II, United States District Judge, transferred the action to this District
where venue is appropriate. [Doc. 5].
Complaint a third time “to add officers who were directly involved in the
‘failure to protect incident.’” [Doc. 26]. The Court denied Plaintiff’s motion to
withdraw his Complaint and for return of the filing fee but granted Plaintiff’s
motion to amend his Complaint. [Doc. 27].
Plaintiff then filed a Third Amended Complaint. [Doc. 28]. Plaintiff
named the following individuals as Defendants, who were all alleged to be
employees of Marion: (1) Toni L. Banks, identified as a Lieutenant and
investigating officer; (2) Todd Schetter, identified as a Correctional Officer;
(3) Caleb M. Davis, identified as a Correctional Officer; (4) Wesley E. Ward,
identified as a registered nurse; (5) Saint T. Tapp, identified as a Correctional
Sergeant; (6) Jacob A. Hicks, identified as a Correctional Sergeant; (7) R.
Riles, identified as a Captain; and (8) T. McMahan, identified as a Lieutenant.
[Doc. 28 at 2-4]. Plaintiff’s claims in his Third Amended Complaint all arose
from an attack on Plaintiff by another inmate. [See id.]. On initial review, the
Court found that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted under § 1983 as to Defendants McMahan, Banks, Ward, Tapp,
Hicks, and Riles. [Doc. 29 at 12]. The Court, however, allowed Plaintiff’s
claims against Defendants Schetter and Davis to proceed. [Id.].
Plaintiff now moves the Court to reconsider its October 13, 2020 Order
on initial review of Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint.
Specifically, Plaintiff asks the Court to amend its Order dismissing
Defendants Cothron, Bradley, Barker, James, and Corpening with prejudice
to a dismissal without prejudice “so that [Plaintiff] can bring suit against them
in the future.” [Id. at 2]. Plaintiff then alleges certain facts relative to these
Defendants that he believes would have, if alleged in Plaintiff’s Second
Amended Complaint, saved these Defendants from dismissal with prejudice.
[Id. at 3].
Regarding motions to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e), the
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated:
A district court has the discretion to grant a Rule
59(e) motion only in very narrow circumstances: “(1)
to accommodate an intervening change in controlling
law; (2) to account for new evidence not available at
trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or to prevent
Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Collison v. Int’l
Chem. Workers Union, 34 F.3d 233, 236 (4th Cir. 1994)). Furthermore, “Rule
59(e) motions may not be used to make arguments that could have been
made before the judgment was entered.” Id. Indeed, the circumstances
under which a Rule 59(e) motion may be granted are so limited that
“[c]ommentators observe ‘because of the narrow purposes for which they are
intended, Rule 59(e) motions typically are denied.’” Woodrum v. Thomas
Mem’l Hosp. Found., Inc., 186 F.R.D. 350, 351 (S.D. W. Va. 1999) (quoting
11 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995)).
Plaintiff has not shown the existence of the limited circumstances
under which a Rule 59(e) motion may be granted. Plaintiff’s motion does not
present evidence that was unavailable when he filed his Complaint, nor does
his motion stem from an intervening change in the applicable law.
Furthermore, Plaintiff has not shown that a clear error of law has been made,
or that failure to grant the motion would result in manifest injustice to him.
See Hill, 277 F.3d at 708. Moreover, none of the additional facts alleged by
Plaintiff in the instant motion would have changed the Court’s original
decision dismissing these Defendants.
The Court, therefore, denies
Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider.
Reconsideration [Doc. 36] is DENIED.
Signed: June 3, 2021
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