McClinton, Frank v. State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections et al
ORDER that plaintiff Frank McClinton's motion to alter or amend (dkt. # 56 ) is DENIED. Signed by District Judge William M. Conley on 4/26/2021. (lam),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
OPINION and ORDER
Case No. 17-cv-472-wmc
DR. KARL HOFFMAN,
The court granted pro se plaintiff Frank McClinton leave to proceed against Dr. Karl
Hoffman under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for discontinuing his tramadol prescription, in violation
of his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care. On January 19, 2021, the court
granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the merits of McClinton’s claim.
(Dkt. #54.) On February 8, 2021, McClinton filed a letter, which the court construes as
a timely motion to alter or amend pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) (dkt.
#56), and denies, for the reasons that follow.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), a court has the opportunity to consider
newly discovered material evidence or intervening changes in the controlling law or to
correct its own manifest errors of law or fact to avoid unnecessary appellate procedures.
See Moro v. Shell Oil Co., 91 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 1996); Harrington v. City of Chi., 433
F.3d 542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006). A “manifest error” occurs when the district court commits
a “wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.”
Burritt v. Ditlefsen, 807 F.3d 239, 253 (7th Cir. 2015) (internal quotations and citations
omitted). Rule 59(e) “does not provide a vehicle for a party to undo its own procedural
failures, and it certainly does not allow a party to introduce new evidence or advance
arguments that could and should have been presented to the district court prior to the
judgment.” Moro, 91 F.3d at 876. Rule 59(e) relief is only available if the movant clearly
establishes one of the foregoing grounds for relief. Harrington, 433 F.3d at 546 (citing Romo
v. Gulf Stream Coach, Inc., 250 F.3d 1119, 1122 n.3 (7th Cir. 2001)).
The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment because the
undisputed evidence of record established that Dr. Hoffman exercised medical judgment
in deciding to discontinue plaintiff’s tramadol prescription and did not leave plaintiff
without pain relief.
In particular, Dr. Hoffman opined that tramadol would be an
appropriate prescription only if plaintiff were able to lose weight while he was taking that
medication, and because he was not losing weight, Dr. Hoffman decided to taper him off
of that medication. (Dkt. #54, at 7-8.) Even then, Dr. Hoffman did not leave him without
any pain medication; he prescribed plaintiff 500 mg Tylenol, then increased that dosage
and added another pain medication when plaintiff’s pain complaints continued. (Id. at 9.)
In his motion for reconsideration, plaintiff does not identify a manifest error of law
or fact in these conclusions. Instead, plaintiff takes issue with the court’s observation that
McClinton did not file a response to defendants’ proposed findings of fact (see dkt. #54,
at 1-2 n.2), claiming that he “disputed everything” that the court deemed undisputed.
Specifically, McClinton claims that he showed how his weight was not a problem and that
he pointed out that Dr. Hoffman treated him with deliberate indifference with the
medications he provided. He further argues that if the court had recruited counsel for him,
his documents would not have gone missing. However, plaintiff does not direct the court
to any specific evidence of record that the court omitted from its consideration, and the
court did consider the proposed findings of fact that plaintiff submitted in support of his
own motion for summary judgment, which were properly filed (see dkt. #39), as well as
plaintiff’s supporting declaration. Specifically, the court considered plaintiff’s assertions
that he had previously been prescribed oxycodone and that Dr. Hoffman left him in pain
(dkt. #54, at 2), as well as his declaration and attachments (id. at 4 n.4), but ultimately
plaintiff’s proposed findings of fact did not create a genuine issue of material fact with
respect to whether Dr. Hoffman exercised medical judgment in prescribing plaintiff pain
medication. As such, the court sees no basis to reconsider its decision granting defendant’s
motion for summary judgment.
IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff Frank McClinton’s motion to alter or amend
(dkt. #56) is DENIED.
Entered this 26th day of April, 2021.
BY THE COURT:
WILLIAM M. CONLEY
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