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Paul v. South Carolina Department of Transportations

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

January 11, 2017

RONALD I. PAUL, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONS; PAUL D. DE HOLCZER, individually and as a partner of the law firm of Moses, Koon & Brackett, PC; MICHAEL H. QUINN, individually and as a senior lawyer of Quinn Law Firm, LLC, ; J. CHARLES ORMOND, JR., individually and as a partner of the Law Firm of Holler, Dennis, Corbett, Ormond, Plante & Garner; OSCAR K. RUCKER, in his individual capacity as Director, Rights of Way South Carolina Department of Transportation; MACIE M. GRESHAM, in her individual capacity as Eastern Region Right of Way Program Manager South Carolina Department of Transportation; NATALIE J. MOORE, in her individual capacity as Assistant Chief Counsel, South Carolina Department of Transportation, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Ronald Paul's amended motion for reconsideration of the judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF Nos. 18 (original motion), 21 (amended motion). The challenged judgment, entered November 8, 2016, was based on the Opinion and Order adopting the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge dismissing the action without prejudice. ECF Nos. 15 (Opinion and Order), 16 (Judgment). The Order also imposed a pre-filing injunction in this District on new actions relating to the subject matter of the condemnation of the property located at 2115 Two Notch Road, Columbia, South Carolina, formerly leased by Paul. Plaintiff has also filed two motions for judicial notice (ECF Nos. 20, 25) and a motion for a “copy of the settlement agreement between SCDOT and the Buckles in case 4800, referenced and referred to by the District Judge.” ECF No. 19.

         For reasons set forth below, the court denies Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, motions for judicial notice, and motion for settlement agreement.

         STANDARD

         The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has interpreted Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to allow the court to alter or amend 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.” Becker v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d 284, 290 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l 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 judgment, nor may they be used to argue a case under a novel theory that the party had the ability to address in the first instance.” Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403. Relief under Rule 59(e) is “an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.” Id. (internal marks omitted). “Mere disagreement does not support a Rule 59(e) motion.” Becker, 305 F.3d at 290 (quoting Hutchinson v. Stanton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1082 (4th Cir. 1993)).

         DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         Plaintiff has filed an initial motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 18) and an amended motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 21). Both argue that ground three applies to his motion for reconsideration: to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. In support, Plaintiff offers arguments that merely rehash the contentions in his previous cases and in his objections to the Report (ECF No. 12) in this case.

         i. Civil Conspiracy Claim

         Plaintiff again argues that the Magistrate Judge and District Court failed to “fully explain and clearly address and clearly rule on the elements of a civil conspiracy as set forth in Paul's Complaint (ECF 1), proffered evidence (Paul I-V) and written objections (ECF 12 at.5-12 in argument one (arguments 1-5)) to prevent and correct a clear error of law, and abuse of discretion.” ECF No. 21 at 8 (emphasis in original). However, contrary to Plaintiff's argument, and as set forth in the Order dismissing this case, this court found that the Magistrate Judge “did set out the elements of a civil conspiracy, and found that Paul's conclusory factual allegations did not plausibly set forth a claim for conspiracy.” ECF No. 15 at 4. The court has ruled upon this cause of action and will not revisit it at this stage, as Plaintiff has provided no grounds to do so.

         ii. Declaratory Judgment

         Plaintiff argues that this court failed to address his written objections regarding the declaratory judgment claim and ignored his proffered evidence. This is nearly the identical argument Plaintiff advanced in his objections, which was ruled upon in the court's Order of dismissal. As this argument has been advanced by Plaintiff and ruled upon by this court, and Plaintiff provides no new reason for reevaluation, it will not be reconsidered at this stage.

         iii. Substantive and Procedural Due Process

         Plaintiff relies on Williamson Cty. Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank ofJohnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985) in support of his substantive and procedural due process claims, arguing the ‚Äúprior Orders and ...


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