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Allen v. Kernan

United States District Court, S.D. California

March 9, 2017

COLUMBUS ALLEN, Jr., CDCR #AE-1543, Plaintiff,
SCOTT KERNAN, et al., Defendants.



         COLUMBUS ALLEN, Jr., (“Plaintiff”), is currently incarcerated at Calipatria State Prison (“CAL”) and is proceeding pro se in this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         I. Procedural Background

         In his original Complaint, Plaintiff claimed more than a dozen CAL and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials violated his First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by requiring he submit to random urinalysis and subjecting him to discipline when he refused. (ECF No. 1 at 4-21.)

         On November 3, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but dismissed his Complaint sua sponte and in its entirety for failing to state a claim upon which § 1983 relief can be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). (ECF No. 3.) In its 19-page Order, the Court thoroughly reviewed each and every potential constitutional basis for Plaintiff's claims, provided him notice of his pleading deficiencies, and granted him 45 days leave in which to amend them. (Id.)

         Plaintiff has not submitted an Amended Complaint. Instead, he has filed a “Motion for leave to File a Motion for Reconsideration of Order Dismissing Complaint sua sponte pursuant to Rule 46.” (ECF No. 5.)[1]

         II. Plaintiff's Motion

         Because Plaintiff is proceeding without counsel, and he claims the “Order to Dismiss is clearly erroneous and contrary to law, ” (ECF No. 5 at 3), the Court liberally construes his Motion as one seeking reconsideration of the Court's November 3, 2016 Order pursuant to S.D. Cal. CivLR 7.1.i.1.

         An order that resolves fewer than all of the claims among the parties “is subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b); S.D. Cal. CivLR 7.1.i.1 (authorizing applications for reconsideration of “any motion … for any order or other relief [that] has been made to any judge and has been refused in whole or in part…”). Here, the Court did not enter a final order of dismissal when it screened and dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint on November 3, 2016; instead, it afforded him leave to amend. See WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136-37 (9th Cir. 1997) (“[W]hen a district court expressly grants leave to amend, it is plain that the order is not final.”); see also Martinez v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 12-CV-802-CAB (BGS), 2014 WL 12035852, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Mar. 21, 2014). The Court retains its inherent power, rooted in the common law, to reconsider or modify an interlocutory order for cause. See City of Los Angeles, Harbor Div. v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 887 (9th Cir. 2001); see also United States v. Martin, 226 F.3d 1042, 1048-49 (9th Cir. 2000) (where reconsideration of a non-final order is sought, the court has “inherent jurisdiction to modify, alter or revoke it.”).

         However, reconsideration is an “extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of judicial resources.” Kana Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000); Century Indem. Co. v. The Marine Grp., LLC, No. 3:08-CV-1375-AC, 2016 WL 96147, at *2 (D. Or. Jan. 7, 2016). Generally, reconsideration is only appropriate where there has been an intervening change in controlling law, new evidence has become available, or it is necessary to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice. See Sch. Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah Cnty., Or. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993).[2]

         In the absence of new evidence or a change in the law, a party may not use a motion for reconsideration to raise arguments or present new evidence for the first time when it could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation. Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003); see also Orange St. Partners v. Arnold, 179 F.3d 656, 665 (9th Cir. 1999); United States v. Munguia, No. 1:08-CR-000228-LJO-1, 2016 WL 1452011, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2016). Motions to reconsider are also “not vehicles permitting the unsuccessful party to ‘rehash' arguments previously presented.” United States v. Navarro, 972 F.Supp. 1296, 1299 (E.D. Cal. 1997), rev'd on other grounds, 160 F.3d 1254 (9th Cir. 1998). Ultimately, a party seeking reconsideration must show “more than a disagreement with the Court's decision, and recapitulation of the cases and arguments considered by the court before rendering its original decision fails to carry the moving party's burden.” United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F.Supp.2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001) (citations and internal quotes omitted); Wood v. Carey, No. 2:04-CV-1225 MCE AC, 2015 WL 4617773, at *3 (E.D. Cal. July 31, 2015). “While a motion for reconsideration allows a party to bring a material oversight to the court's attention, it is not appropriate for a party to request reconsideration merely to force the court to think about an issue again in the hope that it will come out the other way the second time.” Brown v. S Nev. Adult Mental Health Servs., 2014 WL 2807688, at *2 (D. Nev. 2014) (internal quotation omitted); see also Palmer v. Champion Mortgage, 465 F.3d 24, 30 (1st Cir. 2006).

         That is what Plaintiff essentially seeks here-he disagrees with the Court's November 3, 2016 conclusion that his Complaint failed to contain facts sufficient to state any plausible constitutional claim upon which relief can be granted, and he claims the Court erred by failing to construe his pleading liberally and afford him the benefit of the doubt. (ECF No. 5 at 2-3). But the Court noted and applied the appropriate standards for determining whether Plaintiff failed to state a claim under both § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A in its Order. (See ECF No. 3 at 4, citing Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012)). And while the Court agrees it “ha[s] an obligation where the petitioner is pro se, particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the petitioner the benefit of any doubt, ” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2010), it “may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 954 (9th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted).

         Thus, because Plaintiff points to no intervening change in the law, material oversight, or any error whatsoever, his ...

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