United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Margaret B. Seymour Senior United States District Judge.
Brian Franklin Evans (“Plaintiff”), a prisoner in
custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections
(“SCDC”), is currently housed at the Broad River
Correctional Institution in Columbia, South Carolina. On
April 8, 2016, Plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that Defendants Michael McCall, Donikia Gray, Joette
Scarborough, Larry Cartledge, and Christine Long, each in
their individual and official capacities
(“Defendants”), violated his constitutional
rights during his time in custody of SCDC. ECF No. 1 at 4. As
pertinent to this order, Defendant Cartledge was a warden
with Perry Correctional Institution while Plaintiff was
housed at Perry Correctional Institution. Defendant Cartledge
also served on the Statewide Protective Custody
(“SWPC”) Review Board at the time of
Plaintiff's removal from SWPC. ECF Nos. 40-4 at 1; ECF
No. 1 at 3.
is serving a thirty year sentence pursuant to a guilty plea
for the murder of his estranged wife and an acquaintance in
two separate incidents. See ECF No. 62-1 at 4. In
exchange for pleading guilty, Plaintiff requested placement
in SWPC (ECF No. 1 at 6) because he believed he
had a reputation among the population as a
“snitch” due to his prior assistance to law
enforcement (ECF No. 28 at 1-2). Plaintiff alleged that he
had been threatened that he would be killed if placed in
general population. Id. at 2-3. Upon entering SCDC
in October 2013, Plaintiff was placed in SWPC. ECF No. 1 at
4. Plaintiff was returned to the general population in April
2015. Plaintiff alleges that after his return to general
population he spoke to Defendant Cartledge about concerns he
had for his safety. Id. at 1. Defendant Cartledge
allegedly told Plaintiff to “return to his unit and not
create no problems and there wouldn't be any.” ECF
Nos. 1 at 8, 73 at 1.
complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated his
rights pursuant to the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments by taking him out of, and failing to return him
to, SWPC. Id. at 6. Plaintiff is currently housed in
the Restrictive Housing Unit, which is separated from the
general population. ECF No. 58-3 at 2. Plaintiff requested a
preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, compensatory
damages, punitive damages, costs, and any additional relief
that the court deemed proper. ECF No. 1 at 16.
August 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking both a
preliminary and permanent injunction placing him back into
SWPC. ECF No. 21. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B)
and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)92)(d), D.S.C., the preliminary
and permanent injunction and cross motions for summary
judgment were referred to Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D.
Austin. The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation on September 29, 2016, recommending that
Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction be granted.
ECF No. 30. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on
October 19, 2016. ECF No. 46. Defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment on October 31, 2016. ECF No.
March 31, 2017, after considering the motions of each party,
as well as the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation regarding the preliminary injunction, the
court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The
court found there was no genuine issue of material fact that
Plaintiff does not have a Fourteenth Amendment right in his
custody status.ECF No. 68 at 10-12. Further, the court
found no genuine issue of material fact that Plaintiff's
limited Fourth Amendment rights were not violated.
Id. at 14-15. Lastly, the court determined that
Plaintiff failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material
fact that any of Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment
rights by being deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's
safety. ECF No. 68 at 13-14. The court noted that
Plaintiff's safety concerns were taken into consideration
and he was placed in the Restrictive Housing Unit. The court
denied Plaintiff's motion for preliminary and permanent
injunctions as moot. Id. at 15.
April 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). ECF No.
73. Although Rule 59(e) addresses grounds for new trials,
some courts have reasoned that the concept of a new trial
under Rule 59 is broad enough to include a rehearing of any
matter decided by the court without a jury. 11 Wright &
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2804.
Notwithstanding the broad nature of Rule 59, motions for
reconsideration are considered extraordinary remedies and are
not a matter of routine practice. McCall v.
Williams, 59 F.Supp.2d 556, 558 (D.S.C. 1999). Several
courts have observed that motions for reconsideration are
neither expressly cognizable under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure nor authorized by the local rules of the district
court. See, e.g., Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998) (“Rule 59(e) does not itself provide a standard
under which a district court may grant a motion to alter or
amend a judgment.”).
for reconsideration are inappropriate to introduce new legal
theories or new evidence that could have been adduced during
the pendency of the prior motion. Pac. Ins. Co., 148
F.3d at 403. The Fourth Circuit recognizes only three limited
grounds for a district court's grant of a motion for
reconsideration: (1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not
available earlier; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or
to prevent manifest injustice. Hutchinson v. Staton,
994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir. 1993). The Fourth Circuit has
emphasized that counsel's mere disagreement with the
court's ruling does not warrant a 59(e) motion.
Id. (citing Atkins v. Marathon Le Tourneau
Co., 130 F.R.D. 625, 626 (S.D.Miss. 1990)).
gravamen of Plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motion is that there
is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant
Cartledge violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights.
Plaintiff's motion does not dispute the court's
rulings as to his allegations of Fourth, Fifth, and
Fourteenth Amendment violations as to any of the defendants,
nor is Plaintiff disputing the court's rulings as to the
allegations of Eighth Amendment violations by Defendants
McCall, Gray, Scarborough, or Long. Plaintiff's Rule
59(e) motion argues that the court erred in determining
Defendant Cartledge did not treat Plaintiff with deliberate
indifference after removing Plaintiff from SWPC. ECF No. 73.
Plaintiff's motion focuses on the specific interaction
between Plaintiff and Defendant Cartledge. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Cartledge's order to go
back to his cell, despite Plaintiff's reputation as a
“snitch” and Plaintiff's stated safety
concerns, demonstrates a genuine issue of material fact as to
whether Defendant Cartledge acted with deliberate
indifference. ECF No. 73 at 1-2.
court previously noted, Defendant Cartledge, along with the
rest of the SWPC Review Board, had heard all of
Plaintiff's safety concerns and found them not credible.
Plaintiff provides no new evidence of Defendant
Cartledge's alleged deliberate indifference. Upon review
of the record, the court did not err in determining that
there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether
Defendant Cartledge was deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's safety concerns.
next alleges that he was not interviewed by Police Services
before being removed from SWPC, which demonstrates a genuine
issue of material fact as to whether the SWPC Review Board
followed proper procedures before releasing Plaintiff to the
general population. ECF No. 73 at 3. However, Rule 59(e)
motions may not be used “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
the party had the ability to discuss in the first
instance.” Reaves v. City of Mullins, No.
07-3559, 2009 WL 4919503, at *1 (D.S.C. Dec. 11, 2009). The
court notes that Plaintiff attached a set of interrogatories
submitted to Defendant Gray to Plaintiff's response in
opposition of Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
ECF No. 62-1 at 19-22. As part of a question, Plaintiff
claimed he never spoke to Investigator Long with Police
Services. See ECF No. 62-1 at 21. However, Plaintiff
did not argue until his Rule 59(e) motion that he had never
spoken to any Police Services investigator “about
anything, ” thereby demonstrating Defendants did not
follow proper procedures. ECF No. 73 at 3. The court finds
Plaintiff's comments in the interrogatories attached as
exhibits do not rise to the level of an allegation about
failure to follow proper procedures. Plaintiff may not argue
that the SWPC Review Board did not follow proper procedures
for the first time in a Rule 59(e) motion.
59(e) motion merely sets forth Plaintiff's disagreement
with the court's ruling granting summary judgment to
Defendants and denying his motions for preliminary and
permanent injunctions as moot. Plaintiff does not allege a
change in controlling law or present new evidence. To the
extent Plaintiff contends the court should revise its
conclusions to correct a clear error of law or prevent
manifest injustice, the court finds no grounds in the record
to support his assertions.
reasons stated above, Plaintiff's motion for