Miller et al v. Salvaggio et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER re 103 Motion to Amend Judgment filed by Jack Miller. Signed by Judge Jason K. Pulliam. (mgr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SAN ANTONIO DIVISION
JACK MILLER, et al.;
Case No. SA-20-CV-00642-JKP
CHIEF JOSEPH SALVAGGIO, et al.;
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is the Plaintiffs’ Rule 59(e) Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. See
ECF No. 103. The Defendants filed a response. See ECF No. 104. The Plaintiffs did not reply
and the deadline to do so has passed. The motion is therefore ripe for ruling. For the reasons
discussed herein, the Court DENIES the motion. See ECF No. 103.
This case is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action in which Jack Miller, a Second
Amendment activist, and members of his family, challenge the Defendant officers’ arrest and
prosecution of Miller, and the search of his family’s home, based on Miller’s alleged violation
the day before of Texas Penal Code Section 46.03, for bringing a firearm into a court or an office
utilized by a court. The undersigned entered final judgment in this matter on August 23, 2023,
finding the Defendant officers are entitled to qualified immunity and granting summary
judgment in their favor. See ECF Nos. 101, 102. Specifically, the Court found insufficient
evidence in the record to support the Plaintiffs’ contention that the gun Miller was carrying
during his interaction with the Defendant officers was fake, nor did it find evidence the
Defendant officers had reason to believe it was fake. Furthermore, the Court found Miller’s entry
into the building’s lobby was sufficient to support the officers’ reasonable belief that Miller
violated the statute. The Plaintiffs now ask the Court to amend its judgment based on arguments
already presented and rejected on summary judgment. The Court, therefore, denies the motion.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) provides a “motion to alter or amend a judgment
must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Under
Rule 59(e), relief is appropriate: (1) where there has been an intervening change in the
controlling law; (2) where the movant presents newly discovered evidence that was previously
unavailable; or (3) to correct a manifest error of law or fact. Id.; Schiller v. Physicians Res. Grp.,
342 F.3d 563, 567 (5th Cir. 2003). A Rule 59(e) motion is not the proper vehicle for rehashing
evidence, legal theories, or arguments that could have been offered or raised before the entry of
judgment. Simon v. U.S., 891 F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th Cir. 1990). Rather, Rule 59(e) serves a
narrow purpose and is an “extraordinary remedy” that should be “used sparingly.” Templet v.
Hydrochem, Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004). Such a motion calls into question the
correctness of the district court’s judgment, which “will not be disturbed in the absence of a
showing that it has worked an injustice.” Id. at 478.
The Plaintiffs offer four reasons why they say the Court should alter or amend its
judgment: (1) even if the Defendant officers had probable cause to obtain a search warrant, they
exceeded the scope of the warrant; (2) the Defendant officers did not provide any facts linking
evidence of a crime to the Miller residence; (3) the Defendant officers could not have had
probable cause to believe Miller possessed a prohibited weapon because they did not know for
certain the gun he was carrying was real; and (4) the Defendant officers targeted Miller in
retaliation for his activism. With these arguments, the Plaintiffs attempt to rehash evidence and
arguments presented, and rejected, on summary judgment. See ECF No. 89 at 35, 43, 48, 49.
This is an inappropriate basis for a Rule 59(e) motion. See Simon, 891 F.2d at 1159. The motion
is, therefore, denied.
The Court finds the Plaintiffs raise no issues giving rise to relief under Rule 59(e) and,
accordingly, DENIES their motion to amend the judgment. See ECF No. 103.
It is so ORDERED.
SIGNED this 13th day of November, 2023.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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