United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MIGUEL A. SUAREZ, Plaintiff,
WARDEN RICHARD HARRINGTON, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion for Reconsideration filed by
Plaintiff Miguel A. Suarez. (Doc. 37). Suarez filed this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging that his constitutional rights were
violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional
Center. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). After Suarez's amended
complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
Suarez was allowed to proceed against Defendants Lt. Timothy
R. Veath and C/O David T. Johnson for an Eighth Amendment
violations based on the premise that an inmate's
constitutional rights may be violated when prison officials
impose disciplinary sanctions against a prisoner that are not
proportional to the conduct at issue. (See Doc 6, p.
4; Doc. 16, pp. 5-7). Defendants Veath and Johnson then filed
a motion to dismiss asserting that they were entitled to
qualified immunity on Suarez's Eighth Amendment claim.
(Doc. 23, ¶6). Magistrate Judge Wilkerson then granted
Suarez leave to file a Second Amended Complaint, which added
a claim against Defendant Harrington. (Doc. 32, p. 2).
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson found that the Amended Complaint
did not state any additional claims against Defendants Veath
and Johnson and thus the claims against those Defendants
remained unchanged, and the Motion to Dismiss filed remained
pending. (Doc. 31, p. 5). This Court ultimately granted the
Motion to Dismiss, finding that Defendants Veath and Johnson
were entitled to qualified immunity. (Doc. 36, p. 5).
now asks the Court to reconsider that ruling, explaining that
his failure to comprehend the deadline to respond to the
motion to dismiss was due to his lack of knowledge on legal
procedures. (Doc. 37, p.1). Suarez asserts that he has only a
ninth grade education and did not know that he still had to
respond to the motion to dismiss after being granted leave to
file a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 37, p.1). Defendants
Veath and Johnson have filed a response opposing Suarez's
motion. (Doc. 38).
Defendants Veath and Johnson suggest that it is appropriate
to consider Suarez's motion under the standards set forth
in Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b), the motion is governed by Rule
54(b), because the order granting the Motion to Dismiss as to
Defendants Veath and Johnson did not adjudicate all claims,
and final judgment has not yet been entered in this case.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) (Non-final orders “may be revised at
any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the
claims and all the parties' rights and
liabilities.”); see also Encap, LLC v. Scotts Co.,
LLC, No. 11-C-685, 2014 WL 6386910, at *1 (E.D. Wis.
Nov. 14, 2014) (“Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) is not
applicable here since no final judgment has been
entered.”). Regardless, “motions to reconsider an
order under Rule 54(b) are judged by largely the same
standard as motions to alter or amend a judgment under Rule
59(e).” Woods v. Resnick, 725 F.Supp.2d 809,
827-28 (W.D. Wisc. 2010).
motion to reconsider is proper where the Court has
misunderstood a party, where the Court has made a decision
outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the
parties, where the Court has made an error of apprehension
(not of reasoning), where a significant change in the law has
occurred, or where significant new facts have been
discovered. Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales,
Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990). The Court has
the inherent power to reconsider non-final orders, as justice
requires. Akzo Coatings, Inc. v. Aigner Corp., 909
F.Supp. 1154, 1160 (N.D. Ind. 1995) (“[A] motion to
reconsider an interlocutory order may be entertained and
granted as justice requires”). A motion to reconsider
“essentially enables a district court to correct its
own errors, sparing the parties and the appellate courts the
burden of unnecessary appellate proceedings.”
Russell v. Delco Remy Div. of Gen. Motors Corp., 51
F.3d 746, 749 (7th Cir. 1995). “Disposition of a motion
for reconsideration is entrusted to the district court's
discretion.” Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v.
CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir. 1996).
claims that he failed to comprehend the deadline to respond
to the Motion to Dismiss and he did not know that he still
had to respond to said motion after being granted leave to
file a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 37, p.1). This Court,
however, did not grant the Motion to Dismiss based on
Suarez's procedural failure to respond, which it could
have done pursuant to this Court's Local Rule 7.1(c).
Instead, the Court considered the merits of the motion and
ultimately determined Veath and Johnson were entitled to
qualified immunity because there was no clearly established
case law finding imposition of a term of segregation in
violation of a state statute violates a defendant's
Eighth Amendment rights, and that imposition of such a term
was not “so egregious that no reasonable person could
have believe that it would not violated clearly established