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Jackson v. Palombo

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 9, 2016

RICHARD JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MIKE PALOMBO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S THIRD MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (ECF NO. 25)

          LAWRENCE J. O’NEILL, UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff Richard Jackson (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner, proceeded pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On June 4, 2014, the Magistrate Judge dismissed Plaintiff’s original complaint, filed on June 27, 2013, with leave to amend. In order to determine whether or not the action was barred by the favorable termination rule, Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 78, 125 S.Ct. 1242 (2005), the Magistrate Judge expressly directed Plaintiff to address, if he could do so in good faith, his failure to allege that his time credits had been restored or that his disciplinary conviction had been overturned or otherwise invalidated. (ECF No. 13, p. 4.)

         On June 16, 2014, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. On June 19, 2014, the Magistrate Judge screened the complaint and issued Findings and Recommendations that this action be dismissed, without prejudice, based on Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Court’s screening order. In particular, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff had failed to comply with the direction to allege whether or not his time credits had been restored or that his disciplinary conviction was overturned or otherwise invalidated. (ECF No. 17.) Plaintiff objected to the Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendations on July 3, 2014.

         On July 15, 2014, following consideration of Plaintiff’s objections, the undersigned adopted the Findings and Recommendations in full and dismissed this action without prejudice. (ECF No. 19.) On the same date, the Clerk of the Court entered judgment. (ECF No. 20.)

         On July 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration. (ECF No. 21.) On July 31, 2014, the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), finding that Plaintiff had not provided the Court with a valid ground to alter or amend the judgment, such as newly discovered evidence, clear error or a change in the controlling law. Further, the Court found that Plaintiff essentially confirmed he could not allege, in good faith, that his good time credits were restored or that his prison disciplinary conviction was overturned or otherwise invalidated. (ECF No. 22.)

         On May 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed a second motion for reconsideration. (ECF No. 23.) On May 27, 2015, the Court denied that motion, finding that it set forth no grounds entitling Plaintiff to reconsideration of the Court’s order dismissing this action. Specifically, that motion included exhibits demonstrating that Plaintiff had been denied restoration of his time credits, and thus Plaintiff again confirmed that he cannot allege, in good faith, that his time credits were restored.

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff’s third motion for reconsideration. (ECF No. 25.)

         II. Third Motion for Reconsideration

         Plaintiff states in his third motion for reconsideration that he did not appeal the relevant rules violation. (Id. at 1.) He has also attached documents showing that he was assessed, among other punishments, a loss of time credits for the violation. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff contends that the allegations in the rules violation report were falsified.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) allows the court to relieve a party from an order for any reason that justifies relief. “A motion for reconsideration 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, ” Marlyn Nutraceuticals, Inc. v. Mucos Pharma GmbH & Co., 571 F.3d 873, 880 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotations marks and citations omitted, and “[a] party seeking reconsideration must show more than a disagreement with the Court’s decision, and recapitulation . . . ” of that which was already considered by the Court in rendering its decision, ” U.S. v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F.Supp.2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         Plaintiff’s third motion for reconsideration once again sets forth no grounds entitling him to reconsideration of the Court’s order dismissing this action. As Plaintiff has been previously, and repeatedly, informed, his claims in this action are barred by the favorable termination rule.

         It has long been established that state prisoners cannot challenge the fact or duration of their confinement in a section 1983 action and their sole remedy lies in habeas corpus relief. Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 78, 125 S.Ct. 1242 (2005) (action for restoration of good-time credits demands immediate release or a shorter period of detention and attacks duration of physical confinement). Often referred to as the favorable termination rule or the Heck bar, this exception to section 1983’s otherwise broad scope applies whenever state prisoners “seek to invalidate the duration of their confinement - either directly through an injunction compelling speedier release or indirectly through a judicial determination that necessarily implies the unlawfulness of the State’s custody.” Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 81 (emphasis in original). Thus, “a state prisoner’s [section] 1983 action is barred (absent prior invalidation) - no matter the relief sought (damages or equitable relief), no matter the target of the prisoner’s suit (state conduct leading to conviction or internal prison proceedings) - if success in that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its duration.” Id. at 81-2.

         The Court understands that Plaintiff argues the events for which he was issued a rules violation report, and found guilty of a violation, did not occur as alleged, and he wishes to bring an action against certain correctional officers and other staff involved in the incident based on his version of the events. That is exactly what the favorable termination rule or the Heck bar will not permit him to do in this section 1983 civil rights action. Once again, Plaintiff is informed that he may not bring a section 1983 action that will by necessity invalidate a previous judicial determination that affected the validity or duration of his confinement, if he cannot show that his good time credits have been restored, or ...


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