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Hazeltine v. Hicks

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 22, 2018

RICK HAZELTINE, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANCES HICKS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (ECF NO. 100.) ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WITHIN TWENTY (20) DAYS

          GARY S. AUSTIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Rick Hazeltine (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case now proceeds with Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint filed on July 6, 2015, on the following claim: Excessive force in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment against defendants Ian Young, Benjamin Gamez, Rashaun Casper, Julius Oldan, Porfirio Sanchez Negrete, David Avilia, Rickey Smith, and Charles Ho (collectively “Defendants”). (ECF No. 27.) This case is scheduled for trial on July 10, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. before the Honorable Dale A. Drozd.

         On April 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order denying Plaintiff's motion for the attendance of incarcerated witnesses at trial. (ECF No. 100.) On April 24, 2018, Defendants filed an opposition to the motion. (ECF No. 101.) Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is now before the court. Local Rule 230(l).

         II. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

         Rule 60(b)(6) allows the Court to relieve a party from an order for any reason that justifies relief. Rule 60(b)(6) “is to be used sparingly as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice and is to be utilized only where extraordinary circumstances . . .” exist. Harvest v. Castro, 531 F.3d 737, 749 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations marks and citation omitted). The moving party “must demonstrate both injury and circumstances beyond his control . . . .” Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In seeking reconsideration of an order, Local Rule 230(j) requires Plaintiff to show “what new or different facts or circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist or were not shown upon such prior motion, or what other grounds exist for the motion.”

         “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). To succeed, a party must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the court to reverse its prior decision. See Kern-Tulare Water Dist. v. City of Bakersfield, 634 F.Supp. 656, 665 (E.D. Cal. 1986), affirmed in part and reversed in part on other grounds, 828 F.2d 514 (9th Cir. 1987).

         A. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

         Plaintiff requests the court to reconsider its April 11, 2018, order denying Plaintiff's motion for the attendance of incarcerated witnesses. Plaintiff acknowledges that the court denied his motion due to his failure to provide information required by the court. Now, in the motion for reconsideration, Plaintiff has provided the required information, including the names, location, and I.D. numbers of the prospective witnesses, and Plaintiff's declaration asserting that the prospective witnesses can testify to relevant information and are willing to voluntarily testify at trial. Plaintiff seeks to bring four prospective witnesses, Rodney Short #499-4, John Edgington #809-4, Ramiro G. Madera #544-7, and Stephen Arnold #607-2, and he states that all of the witnesses are actual eyewitnesses to the events at issue in the complaint.

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not cited any legal authority for his request, and that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide reconsideration of an order such as the one Plaintiff is seeking. Defendants also argue that Plaintiff was required to file his motion for attendance of incarcerated witnesses pursuant to the requirements in the Amended Scheduling Order, and he failed to do so. Defendants request that if the court is inclined to grant Plaintiff's motion, then discovery be reopened for the limited purpose of deposing the potential witnesses.

         B. Discussion

         Defendants' argument that court rules do not provide for reconsideration of the court's order is without merit. As discussed above, Rule 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the Court to relieve a party from an order for any reason that justifies relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6). Also, Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that any order that does not terminate the action is subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). In addition, Rule 230(j) of the Local Rules for the Eastern District of California also governs reconsideration of such interlocutory orders. Rule 230(j) provides, in part:

(j) Applications for Reconsideration. Whenever any motion has been granted or denied in whole or in part, and a subsequent motion for reconsideration is made upon the same or any alleged different set of facts, counsel shall present to the Judge or Magistrate Judge to whom such subsequent motion is made an affidavit or brief, as appropriate, setting forth the material facts and circumstances surrounding each motion for which reconsideration is sought.

         Plaintiff states in his motion for reconsideration that he was confused whether to provide information about prospective witnesses in the pretrial statement or the motion for the attendance of incarcerated witnesses. Plaintiff also admits that he simply overlooked the court's requirement that he inform the court of the witnesses' addresses due to them being patients in the same hospital as Plaintiff. Because Plaintiff has now provided facts which were not shown upon his prior motion the court shall reconsider its order denying Plaintiff's motion for the attendance of incarcerated witnesses. However, before deciding ...


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