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Garrett v. Ruiz

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 10, 2013

WILLIAM ALLEN GARRETT, CDCR #AM-6925, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDRES RUIZ; BRANDON JORDAN; BRETT H. BURKETT; SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION PURSUANT TO FED.R.CIV.P. 59(e) AND S.D. CAL. CIVLR 7.1(i)(1) [ECF Doc. No. 111]

IRMA E. GONZALEZ, District Judge.

On April 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed a document entitled "Objection to Magistrate Ruling Dismissing Plaintiff's Claim and Request for Reconsideration" [ECF Doc. No. 111], which the Court now construes as a Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 59(e) and/or for reconsideration of that judgment pursuant to S.D. CAL. CIVLR 7.1(i).

I. Procedural History

On April 3, 2013, the Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c), and directed the Clerk to enter a judgment in favor of Defendants [ECF Doc. Nos. 97, 98]. Specifically, the Court found that while Plaintiff's claims of excessive force against Defendants Ruiz and Jordan were not barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)'s "favorable termination" rule, see April 3, 2013 Order [ECF Doc. No. 97] at 11, Ruiz and Jordan were nevertheless entitled to summary judgment as to those claims because "no triable issues of fact exist[ed in the record] to support Plaintiff's claims that [their] use of force under the totality of the circumstances presented to them was anything other than objectively reasonable." Id. at 20 (citations omitted). The Court further found Defendant Burkett was entitled to summary judgment as to Plaintiff's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, id. at 13, and that the City of San Diego (which Plaintiff erroneously sued as the "San Diego Police Department") was likewise entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the record before the Court failed to show that any constitutional violation occurred. Id. at 22.

On April 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed both a Notice of Appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as this Motion for Reconsideration [ECF Doc. Nos. 107, 111].[1]

II. Plaintiff's Motion

Plaintiff now asks this Court to reconsider its April 3, 2013 judgment claiming, as he did on several occasions prior to summary judgment, that Defendants "failed to produce documents" he sought both before and after he was represented by counsel throughout the course of discovery, and that these documents would have shown genuine issues of material fact necessitating trial. See Pl.'s Mot. at 2-4.

Specifically, Plaintiff again refers to " Pitchess " motions[2] regarding Officer Ruiz which were denied by the magistrate judge before he secured counsel, id. at 4; trial transcripts of the testimony of two doctors and a criminologist who testified during his criminal trial, id., and other unspecified "documents" which would have shown the City "kn[ew] or should have known that Officer Ruiz had sadistic, malicious tendencies, " which he claims were not produced in response to his attorney's attempts to discover them. See Pl.'s Mot. Ex. A "Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents, " signed by Daniel A. Vespi, Attorney for Plaintiff William Garrett, on August 13, 2012.

In addition, Plaintiff also refers to Defendants' Exhibits H and X-previously offered in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF Doc. No. 65], which he claims "clearly show[]" "genuine" disputes. Id. at 3.

A. Standard of Review

Motions for reconsideration filed pursuant to a Court's Local Rules may be construed as motions to alter or amend judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney, 489 U.S. 169 (1989). In Osterneck, the Supreme Court stated that "a postjudgment motion will be considered a Rule 59(e) motion where it involves reconsideration of matters properly encompassed in a decision on the merits.'" 489 U.S. at 174 (quoting White v. New Hampshire Dep't of Employ't Sec., 455 U.S. 445, 451 (1982)).

"A motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) should not be granted, absent highly unusual circumstances, unless the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, committed clear error, or if there is an intervening change in the controlling law." McQuillion v. Duncan, 342 F.3d 1012, 1014 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal citations and emphasis omitted). This type of motion seeks "a substantive change of mind by the court." Tripati v. Henman, 845 F.2d 205, 206 n.1 (9th Cir. 1988) (quoting Miller v. Transamerican Press, Inc., 709 F.2d 524, 526 (9th Cir. 1983)). Local Rule 7.1 similarly requires the party seeking reconsideration to set out in an affidavit "what new or different facts and circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist, or were not shown, " upon the prior application for relief. S.D. CAL. CIVLR 7.1(i)(1).

Thus, under either FED.R.CIV.P. 59 or Local Rule 7.1, it is clear that "motions to reconsider are not vehicles permitting the unsuccessful party to rehash' arguments previously presented." United States v. Navarro, 972 F.Supp. 1296, 1299 (E.D. Cal. 1997) (rejecting "after thoughts" and "shifting of ground" as appropriate grounds for reconsideration under FED.R.CIV.P. 59(e)). The district court may also decline to consider an issue raised for the first time in a motion for reconsideration. Rosenfeld v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 57 F.3d 803, 811 (9th Cir. 1995). In fact, the Ninth Circuit has specifically cautioned that a motion for reconsideration filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) "may not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the first time when they could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation." Kona Enterprises, Inc. v. Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000); see also ...


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