Poff v. Pollard et al
ORDER signed by Judge J.P. Stadtmueller on 4/9/2018 DENYING 72 Plaintiff's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. (cc: all counsel, via mail to Jeff Poff at Wisconsin Secure Program Facility) (jm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
JOHN SCHETTLE, MAN LEE,
AMANDA COLE, and JASON
Case No. 15-CV-954-JPS
On May 22, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment
as to Plaintiff’s claims that they were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs. (Docket #59). Plaintiff responded, but did so in a fashion
that was not in compliance with the federal or local rules of civil procedure
governing summary-judgment practice. See (Docket #66, #67); Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56; Civ. L. R. 56(b)(2). As a result, the Court determined that all of
Defendants’ proffered facts were undisputed, and on the basis of those
undisputed facts, the Court was obliged to grant summary judgment to
Defendants. See (Docket #70 at 2–19). The Court issued its order and
judgment dismissing this action on June 23, 2017. (Docket #70, #71).
Nearly ten months later, on April 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion to
alter or amend the Court’s judgment, arguing that his failure to make a
proper summary judgment submission shows that he should have been
appointed counsel, particularly after his jailhouse lawyer was transferred
to another institution. (Docket #72 at 1). He also appears to dispute the
Court’s substantive rulings, contending that perhaps the Court
inappropriately dismissed his complaints of pain from the tooth injury that
underlay this case. Id. at 2.
Although Plaintiff cites no authority supporting his motion, two
rules allow a court to revisit a final judgment in civil cases. First, Rule 59(e)
empowers a court to alter or amend a judgment on motion by a party. Fed.
R. Civ. P. 59(e). The party seeking relief under this Rule must establish “a
manifest error of law or present newly discovered evidence.” Obriecht v.
Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 494 (7th Cir. 2008). Whether to grant a motion to
amend a judgment “is entrusted to the sound judgment of the district
court,” In re Prince, 85 F.3d 314, 324 (7th Cir. 1996), but the movant must
first “clearly establish” his right to relief, Romo v. Gulf Stream Coach, Inc., 250
F.3d 1119, 1122 n.3 (7th Cir. 2001).
Similarly, Rule 60 allows the Court to vacate a judgment based on,
inter alia, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, fraud by a party,
satisfaction of the judgment, or “any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 60(b). Relief under Rule 60 is an “extraordinary remedy and is
granted only in exceptional circumstances.” Wickens v. Shell Oil Co., 620 F.3d
747, 759 (7th Cir. 2010). The Court’s determination is constrained only by
its sound discretion. Venson v. Altamirano, 749 F.3d 641, 656 (7th Cir. 2014).
Neither Rule affords Plaintiff any relief here. First, a motion under
Rule 59(e) must be made no later than 28 days after the entry of judgment.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). This deadline cannot be extended. Id. 6(b)(2). Plaintiff’s
motion was filed well past the deadline.
Second, though a motion under Rule 60(b) does not have a similarly
severe time constraint, see id. 60(c)(1), Plaintiff points to no newly
discovered evidence supporting his claim of deliberate indifference.
Instead, he simply repeats the prior contentions made in his legal brief,
which the Court has already addressed and rejected. Further, he makes
Page 2 of 3
little effort to explain his failure to properly respond to Defendants’
statement of material facts, other than to blame it on his lack of counsel.
Notably, Plaintiff did not ask the Court to reconsider its order
denying him the appointment of counsel. (Docket #52). Nor would the
Court question that decision, as Plaintiff has made no showing that he
lacked the capacity to competently litigate this case himself. In its earlier
order, the Court noted that Plaintiff’s submissions were cogent, and
although he was entitled to use a jailhouse lawyer if one was available, he
was not guaranteed such services and needed to show that he himself was
incompetent to litigate his case in order to receive the appointment of
counsel. See id. at 2.
Thus, the Court does not find any excusable neglect, newly
discovered evidence, or any other reason justifying the extraordinary relief
provided by Rule 60(b). The motion will be denied.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend the Court’s
judgment of June 23, 2017 (Docket #72) be and the same is hereby DENIED.
Dated at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this 9th day of April, 2018.
BY THE COURT:
U.S. District Judge
Page 3 of 3
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?