United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING RULE 60(b)(6) MOTION [Doc.,
Marilyn L. Huff United States District Judge
13, 2014, Plaintiff Michael Louis Beattie
(“Plaintiff”) filed a civil rights action,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against correctional
officers L. Romero, I. Marquez, and I. Ugalde
(“Defendants”) alleging excessive use of force.
(Doc. No. 1.) On October 14, 2014, Defendants filed a
pre-answer motion for summary judgment, arguing Plaintiff
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing
suit, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). (Doc. No.
10.) On December 8, 2014, the Court granted Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 16.) On the record
before it, the Court found that Plaintiff had not exhausted
his administrative remedies. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff
timely appealed the Court's decision. (Doc. No. 18.)
April 20, 2016, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
affirmed this Court's decision granting summary judgment
to Defendants because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies. Beattie v. J. Romero et
al., No. 15-55034 slip op. at 2 (9th Cir. April 20,
2016). On October 4, 2016, the Ninth Circuit denied
Plaintiff's motion to rehear the matter en banc. (Doc.
No. 23.) On October 24, 2016, the Ninth Circuit issued its
mandate, affirming the grant of summary judgment to
Defendants. (Doc. No. 27.)
8, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion, pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 60(b), to amend the Court's judgment
granting summary judgment to Defendants. (Doc. No. 29.)
Plaintiff argues a recent Ninth Circuit case, Andres v.
Marshall, No. 15-56057 (9th Cir. April 21, 2017), shows
the Court erred by granting summary judgment to Defendants.
Thus, Plaintiff argues the Court should vacate its prior
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) lists when a party may seek
relief from a final judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1-6). The
first three bases for relief are unavailable to Plaintiff
because more than a year has passed since the grant of
summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c)(1). Similarly, relief is
unavailable under (b)(4) and (b)(5) as Plaintiff has not
presented any arguments regarding why the judgment is void,
satisfied, or inequitable. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4), (5). Thus,
Plaintiff's only possible avenue of relief is pursuant to
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) allows a district court to
provide relief from final judgment for “any other
reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6).
However, “[j]udgments are not often set aside under
Rule 60(b)(6). Rather the Rule is used sparingly as an
equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice.”
Latshaw v. Trainer Wortham & Co., Inc., 452 F.3d
1097, 1103 (9th Cir. 2006). Courts must be wary of using Rule
60(b)(6) “to circumvent the strong public interest in
timeliness and finality.” Flores v. Arizona,
516 F.3d 1140, 1163 (9th Cir. 2008) (rev'd on other
grounds). To justify relief under Rule 60(b)(6) a party must
show “extraordinary circumstances.” Gonzalez
v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 536 (2005); Washington v.
Ryan, 833 F.3d 1087, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016). A district
court's decision to deny a motion for reconsideration is
reviewed for abuse of discretion. Phelps v.
Alameida, 569 F.3d 1120, 1131 (9th Cir. 2009).
argues that reconsideration is merited here in light of the
Ninth Circuit's subsequent decision in Andres,
No. 15-56057, which relied on a recent Supreme Court case,
Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850 (2016). Plaintiff
argues these decisions, published after the Ninth Circuit
affirmed this Court's decision granting summary judgment
to Defendants, justify relief under Rule 60. (Doc. No. 29 at
5.) Plaintiff is wrong because the Ninth Circuit's
decision in Andres is factually distinct and would
not affect the outcome in this case.
Andres, a California state prisoner brought a
federal § 1983 claim against a correctional officer for
excessive use of force. Andres, No. 15-56057, slip
op. at 3. The alleged excessive force occurred on January 23,
2013 and Andres filed an administrative grievance two days
later. Id. Andres never received a response to his
grievance and filed his federal suit on July 24, 2013,
arguing his administrative remedies were effectively
unavailable. Id. at 4. While the federal suit was
proceeding, a California state court held an evidentiary
hearing in a parallel state action and found that Andres had
timely filed a grievance and the prison administration failed
to process it. Id. at 4, 6. The Ninth Circuit
treated the state court documents as part of the record on
appeal and relied on those factual findings to conclude that
Andres had exhausted his available administrative remedies.
Id. at 6. As the Ninth Circuit explained it:
The state habeas court held an evidentiary hearing and found
that defendants improperly failed to process Andres'
timely filed grievance. Under the circumstances present here,
Andres exhausted his available administrative remedies prior
to filing suit, thereby satisfying Ross and
unlike in Andres, Plaintiff never established that
he took the necessary steps to exhaust his administrative
remedies or that Defendants' actions rendered those
remedies unavailable. In California prisons, administrative
exhaustion requires proceeding through three levels of
review. Cal. Code Regs. Tit. 15, §§ 3084.2(a),
3084.7(a)-(d) (Jan 1, 2014). A final decision from the third
level of review exhausts administrative remedies under 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(a). See Lira v. Herrera, 427
F.3d 1164, 1166-67 (9th Cir. 2005). At summary judgment, the
Court concluded that Plaintiff had not exhausted his
administrative remedies because he did not submit a third
level appeal. (Doc. No. 16 at 6.) Although Plaintiff alleges
he submitted a third level appeal to the Office of Appeals,
the Court held that Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of
establishing a material question of fact existed. (Doc. No.
16 at 6). As the Court explained at the time:
On the record before the Court, Plaintiff has not exhausted
his administrative remedies. Defendants' evidence shows
that Plaintiff did not obtain a decision at the third level
of review, as required to exhaust administrative remedies.
Furthermore, Defendants provide evidence that there is no
record of Plaintiff sending legal mail to the third level
appeals office on or around the date the he claims he used
the legal mail process. Plaintiff's self-serving
allegations do ...