Lemons v. Watkins et al
Memorandum of Opinion and Order For the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiff's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (ECF No. 11 ) is denied. Furthermore, Plaintiff is enjoined from filing additional post judgment motions in this case. The Clerk is directed to return, unfiled, any further motions submitted by Plaintiff for filing in this action. The court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this order could not be taken in good faith. Judge Benita Y. Pearson on 10/24/2017. (JLG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
CHARLES LEMONS, III,
DENNIS WATKINS, et al.,
CASE NO. 4:16CV2793
JUDGE BENITA Y. PEARSON
ORDER [Resolving ECF No. 11]
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s second Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. ECF No. 11.
In this motion, Plaintiff continues to challenge his 2009 rape conviction claiming the prosecution
withheld evidence. The Court dismissed the action on January 30, 2017, holding that Plaintiff could
not attack his conviction in a civil rights action for damages, unless his conviction was overturned
on appeal or invalidated by a federal writ of habeas corpus. ECF No. 5. Plaintiff filed a Motion for
Reconsideration, which the Court construed as a motion to alter or amend judgment, again claiming
the prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence resulting in his 2009 conviction. ECF No. 7. The
Court denied the motion because Plaintiff did not provide a basis for relief under Rule 59(e) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 10. Twenty days later, Plaintiff filed this motion to alter
or amend judgment. He continues to restate the arguments presented in his complaint to attack his
2009 rape conviction. He does not dispute the Court’s rationale for dismissing his case, and does
not present a basis for relief under Rule 59(e).
A party may seek to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e) by filing a motion “no later
than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). The Court dismissed this action
on January 30, 2017. Plaintiff filed this motion on May 18, 2017, well more than 28 days after the
judgment was entered. Inasmuch as the Court lacks jurisdiction to enlarge the time for filing a Rule
59(e) motion, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(2); Denley v. Shearson American Express, Inc., 733 F.2d 39,
41 (6th Cir. 1984), superseded by statute on other grounds by Arnold v. Arnold Corp. Printed
Communications for Business, 920 F.3d 1269 (6th Cir. 1990), Plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend
is dismissed as untimely.
Where a party’s Rule 59 motion is not filed within the mandatory time period, it is
appropriate for the Court to consider the motion as one filed pursuant to Rule 60(b) for relief from
judgment. Feathers v. Chevron U.S.A., 141 F.3d 264, 268 (6th Cir.1998); see, e.g., Van Skiver v.
United States, 952 F.2d 1241, 1243 (10th Cir.1991), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 828 (1992). The standard
for granting a Rule 60 motion, however, is significantly higher than the standard applicable to a Rule
59 motion. A timely Rule 59 motion may be granted “for any of the reasons for which rehearings
have heretofore been granted in suits in equity in the courts of the United States.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
59(a). A Rule 60(b) motion, by contrast, may be granted only for certain specified reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have
been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic),
misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior
judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise
vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have
prospective application; or
(6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the
Because the motion does not invoke any of the first five grounds for relief enumerated in the
rule, Plaintiff’s request may be construed under subsection (b)(6), “any other reason justifying relief”
from judgment. However, this subsection is only properly invoked in “unusual and extreme
situations where principles of equity mandate relief.” Olle v. Henry & Wright Corp., 910 F.2d 357,
365 (6th Cir. 1990). This is not an unusual or extreme situation. Plaintiff is once again asserting
a claim that was considered as dismissed in his complaint, and in his first motion to alter or amend.
Plaintiff, therefore, is not entitled to relief from judgment.
Up to this point, the Court has been tolerant of Plaintiff’s pro se motions that sought to
vacate the Court’s January 2017 judgment. The Court, however, will no longer permit Plaintiff to
attempt to litigate a matter on which the Court has now ruled three times. Federal courts have both
the inherent power and constitutional obligation to protect their jurisdiction from conduct which
impairs the ability to carry out Article III functions. Filipas v. Lemons, 835 F.2d 1145 (6th Cir.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (ECF No.11) is denied.
Furthermore, Plaintiff is enjoined from filing additional post judgment motions in this case. The
Clerk is directed to return, unfiled, any further motions submitted by Plaintiff for filing in this action.
The court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this order could not be
taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
October 24, 2017
/s/ Benita Y. Pearson
Benita Y. Pearson
United States District Judge
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?