Legare v. Byrne et al
ORDER denying 54 Motion to Alter Judgment Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 7/5/2017.(abuc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Albarr-Ali Abdullah, a/k/a Albert Legare,
Mr. Thomas E. Byrne, Kershaw C.I.
Doctor; Mr. Donnie Stonebreaker,
Associate Warden at Kershaw C.I. ;
Mr. Samual L. Soltis, Step 2
Grievance Health/Hearing Officer, in
their individual or personal capacities,
Civil Action No. 8:16-cv-3000 -RMG
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs motion (Dkt. No. 54) to alter or amend this
Court's Order (Dkt. No. 50) adopting the Magistrate' s Report and Recommendation ("R&R")
(Dkt. No. 48) and granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons below,
Plaintiffs motion to alter or amend the judgment (Dkt. No. 54) is denied.
The Magistrate issued an R&R on May 9, 2017 (Dkt. No. 48), recommending that this
Court grant Defendants ' motion for summary judgment. The deadline for Plaintiff to file
objections to the R&R was May 26, 2017. On May 31 , 2017, this Court issued an order adopting
the Magistrate's R&R and granting summary judgment for Defendants. (Dkt. No. 50.) Plaintiff
filed objections to the R&R on May 30, 2017, which this Court received on June 1, 2017. 1 (Dkt.
Prisoner pleadings are considered filed when they are delivered to the prison mailroom. Houston v.
Lack, 487 U.S . 266, 270-71 (1988). Plaintiffs objections were received in the prison mailroom on May
30, 2017. (Dkt. No. 53-2 at 2.)
Plaintiff re-filed his objections as a motion to alter or amend this Court's judgment on
June 13, 2017. (Dkt. No. 54-2 at 2.) In that motion, Plaintiff explains that he received the R&R
on May 16, 2016 (Dkt. No. 54 at 1) which means he had ten (10) days to deliver his objections to
the prison mailroom. He asks the Court to consider his objections to be timely filed because he
had just a short period of time to file them. Plaintiff had adequate time (ten days) to file his
objections to the R&R. If Plaintiff needed more time to file his objections, he could have filed a
motion for an extension of time. For this reasons, the Court has construed Petitioner's late
objections as a motion to alter or amend the judgment.
Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to alter or amend a
judgment but does not provide a standard for such motions. The Fourth Circuit provides "three
grounds for amending an earlier judgment: (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 prevent manifest injustice." Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat '! Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d
396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998). "Rule 59( e) motions may not be used, however, to raise arguments
which could have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment, nor may they be used to
argue a case under a novel legal theory that the party had the ability to address in the first
instance." Id. at 403 (citations omitted). Rule 59(e) provides an "extraordinary remedy that
should be used sparingly." Id. (citation omitted).
Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate (1) failed to consider his arthritis or degenerative joint
disease (Dkt. No. 54 at 7); (2) failed to consider evidence that Defendant Byrne concealed that
Plaintiff had previously been recommended an MRI, orthopedic consult shoes, NSAIDS, braces,
and insoles (id. at 7-8); (3) failed to consider evidence that Plaintiffs knee is swollen (id. at 8);
(4) erroneously found that Plaintiff was denied new shoes because they were not orthopedic
shoes when in fact he was never approved for any type of new shoe (id. at 9); (5) erroneously
found that Plaintiffs knee brace was in "fair to good" condition (id. at 9); (6) erroneously found
that Plaintiff was approved for and issued insoles on November 30, 2015 (id. at 9); and (7) failed
to find that degenerative joint disease constitutes a serious medical condition (id. at 10).
The Magistrate closely considered every aspect of Plaintiffs medical record (Dkt. No. 48
at 8-10), including Plaintiffs degenerative joint disease. For example, the Magistrate noted
Plaintiffs bone spurs, pain, swelling, crepitus, and the narrowing of the medial joint space in his
knee - all symptoms of degenerative joint disease. While degenerative joint disease could
constitute a serious medical condition, that determination is heavily fact-specific. For example,
Plaintiff refers to a case about social security benefits where the plaintiffs physician determined
that a knee brace and crutch were absolutely necessary because his degenerative joint disease had
progressed substantially. Peck v. Barnhardt 2004 WL 1595198 (6th Cir. 2004). Plaintiffs
physician made no such finding in this case. In any event, the Magistrate explained that even
assuming that Plaintiff does suffer from a serious medical condition, nothing on the record shows
that he has been denied treatment or received grossly inadequate treatment. Instead, the record
shows that plaintiff has received continuous evaluation and treatment for his complaints while at
Kernshaw. (Dkt. No. 48 at 12-13.)
Plaintiffs objections to the Magistrate's findings amount to mere quibbles with her
recitation of the medical record. Even assuming Plaintiffs assertions about the swelling in his
knee at a specific point in time and the exact condition of his knee brace are true, Plaintiff has
still failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical
need. The record shows that Plaintiff has received prompt evaluation and treatment for his jointrelated medical needs.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs motion to alter or amend the judgment (Dkt. No.
54) is denied.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
July $, 2017
Charleston, South Carolina
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