United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
GREGORY J. TURLEY, Plaintiff,
FRANK LAWRENCE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Gilbert C. Sison, United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Defendant's October 25, 2018 motion
to reconsider the Court's Order and injunction (Doc. 370)
and Judgment (Doc. 371). Plaintiff opposes the motion (Doc.
376). After reviewing the entire record and the
applicable law, the Court denies the motion.
Gregory Turley, pro se and a former inmate at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”), filed suit for
violations of his constitutional rights. Turley alleges,
inter alia, that being housed in the North I cell
house of Menard with a cellmate constituted deliberate
indifference to his health and well-being as a result of the
cells being cramped and too small for two adult inmates.
Turley's claims were dismissed from the case at the
initial 28 U.S.C. § 1915A review while other claims
proceeded to trial. Turley appealed and the Seventh Circuit
reversed the dismissal of Turley's cell size claims and
those claims went to trial. At the close of Turley's
evidence, the Court dismissed the individual capacity claims
against the named defendants leaving a claim for injunctive
relief, which sought an Order prohibiting the Warden of
Menard from placing Turley in the North I cell house with a
September 26, 2018, Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams
issued an Order and Injunction enjoining then Menard Warden
Jacqueline Lashbrook in her official capacity, and any of her
successors in their official capacity, from housing Turley in
the North I cell house with one or more inmates or cellmates
(Doc. 370).The following day, the Clerk of Court
entered Judgment, inter alia, reflecting the same
(Doc. 371). On October 25, 2018, Lashbrook filed a motion to
reconsider the Court's Order and Injunction (Doc. 370)
and Judgment (Doc. 371). Turley opposes the motion (Doc.
376). As the motion is ripe, the Court turns to the merits of
Seventh Circuit has held that a motion challenging the merits
of a district court order will automatically be considered as
having been filed pursuant to either Rule 59(e) or Rule
60(b). See Mares v. Busby, 34 F.3d 533, 535
(7th Cir. 1994). Different timetables and
standards govern these motions. Rule 59(e), for example,
permits a court to amend a judgment only if the movant
demonstrates a manifest error of law or fact or presents
newly discovered evidence that was not previously available.
See Sigsworth v. City of Aurora, 487 F.3d 506,
511-512 (7th Cir. 2007). Rule 60(b), on the other hand,
permits a court to relieve a party from an order or judgment
based on such grounds as mistake, surprise or excusable
neglect by the movant; fraud or misconduct by the opposing
party; a judgment that is void or has been discharged; or
newly discovered evidence that could not have been discovered
within the 28-day deadline for filing a Rule 59(b) motion.
However, the reasons offered by a movant for setting aside a
judgment under Rule 60(b) must be something that could not
have been employed to obtain a reversal by direct appeal.
See Bell v. Eastman Kodak Co., 214 F.3d 798, 801
(7th Cir. 2000).
Rule 59(e) and 60(b) eliminate the finality of a judgment and
permit further proceedings, but Rule 59(e) generally requires
a lower threshold of proof than does Rule 60(b). See Helm
v. Resolution Trust Corp., 43 F.3d 1163, 1166 (7th Cir.
1995). See also Ball v. City of Chicago, 2 F.3d 752,
760 (7th Cir. 1993)(distinguishing the “exacting
standard” of Rule 60(b) from the “more liberal
standard” of Rule 59(e)).
purpose of a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule
59(e) is to ask the court to reconsider matters
“properly encompassed in a decision on the
merits.” Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney, 489
U.S. 169, 174 (1989). “A Rule 59(e) motion will be
successful only where the movant clearly establishes: (1)
that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or
(2) that newly discovered evidence precluded entry of
judgment.” Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v. Beyrer,
722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation and quotation
pursuant to a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend is an
“extraordinary remed[y] reserved for the exceptional
case.” Foster v. DeLuca, 545 F.3d 582, 584
(7th Cir. 2008). A Rule 59(e) motion may be used “to
draw the district court's attention to a manifest error
of law or fact or to newly discovered evidence.”
United States v. Resnick, 594 F.3d 562, 568 (7th
Cir. 2010). A manifest error “is not demonstrated by
the disappointment of the losing party. It is the wholesale
disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize
controlling precedent.” Oto v. Metropolitan Life
Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000)(citation and
quotation marks omitted). Furthermore, “a Rule 59(e)
motion is not an opportunity to relitigate motions or present
arguments, issues, or facts that could and should have been
presented earlier.” Chapman v. United States,
No. 3:16-CV-0691-DRH, 2016 WL 6095316, at *1 (S.D. Ill. Oct.
the Court addresses the untimeliness issue raised by Turley
in his opposition. Turley argues that Defendant's motion
is untimely as it was filed 29 days after the September 26,
2018 Injunction Order was entered. By the Court's
calculation, however, the Court finds the motion is timely
filed. The final Judgment in this case was entered
on September 27, 2018. The motion to reconsider the Order and
Injunction and the Judgment was filed on October 25, 2018,
which is 28 days after the Judgment was entered. Therefore,
the Court will address the motion under the easier to prove
Rule 59(e) standard. See, e.g., United States v.
Deutsch, 981 F.2d 299, 301-302 (7th Cir.
1992)(recognizing bright line rule for determining whether a
motion falls under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) as dependent on
the date of service of the motion).
Court finds that Defendant is not entitled to relief under
the Rule 59(e) standard. After reviewing the record, the
Court finds that Defendant identifies no manifest error of
law or newly discovered evidence which would warrant the
granting of relief under the rule. For example, Defendant has
not presented new evidence or new arguments that were not
previously unavailable at the time of the Court's
rulings. Instead, Defendant merely reiterates arguments that
could have been and should have been raised previously.
Specifically, Defendant contends that the Court erred when it
found that Turley's transfer was pretextual. Rather, the
Defendant contends that as a result of the transfer the case
was moot. The Defendant further contends that the Court erred
when it made findings regarding Turley's medical
conditions absent the support of medical evidence. The Court
rejects these arguments.
the pretextual transfer, Judge Williams specifically found as
“As Plaintiff points out, the reasons relating to
visitation makes no sense. He has not had any visitors for 27
years and did not request the transfer to Hill in the first
place. A second explanation given is that Mr. Turley meets
the criteria for under 30 years to transfer to a Medium
Security Facility. On its face, this seems like a simple,
concrete, and non-pretextual reason for a transfer for which
Plaintiff has no answer. But a quick review of the inmates at
Hill Correctional Center that have cases currently open in
this district, reveals that at least one inmate who is
detained at Hill, Ricky Patterson, still has 37 years
remaining on his sentence. The final rationale for
transferring Mr. Turley, good ...