United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. CAMPBELL, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is death-sentenced inmate Ruben Garza Jr.'s
motion to reconsider the Court's ruling on his
third-party motion to enforce a settlement agreement between
Plaintiff Scott Nordstrom and Defendants Arizona Department
of Corrections (“ADOC”) and others. Doc. 111. For
the reasons that follow, the Court will deny the motion.
October 2015, Plaintiff Nordstrom, a death-sentenced inmate
in state custody, brought an action against Defendants for
violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments related to
death row conditions. Doc. 1. Having already planned to make
death row inmates eligible for reclassification to
close-custody housing, ADOC settled with Plaintiff on March
3, 2017 (“the Settlement”). Doc. 39. Based on
this settlement, the Court dismissed Mr. Nordstrom's
action, incorporated the Settlement terms in its order, and
retained jurisdiction to enforce the agreement. Doc. 45.
2019, seven death-sentenced inmates, including Mr. Garza,
filed motions to enforce the Settlement, asserting standing
as third-party beneficiaries under Rule 71. Docs. 71, 75, 76,
80, 81, 85, 86. In a May 15, 2019 order, the Court found that
the seven inmates lacked standing because they were not
recognized as the Settlement's primary parties in
interest and were not privy to the promise of the Settlement.
for reconsideration are disfavored and should be granted only
in rare circumstances. See Stetter v. Blackpool, No.
CV 09-1071-PHX-DGC, 2009 WL 3348522, at *1 (D. Ariz. Oct. 15,
2009). A motion for reconsideration will be denied
“absent a showing of manifest error or a showing of new
facts or legal authority that could not have been brought to
[the Court's] attention earlier with reasonable
diligence.” LRCiv 7.2(g)(1); see Carroll v.
Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003). Mere
disagreement with an order is an insufficient basis for
reconsideration. See Ross v. Arpaio, No. CV
05-4177-PHX-MHM, 2008 WL 1776502, at *2 (D. Ariz. 2008). Nor
should reconsideration be used to ask the Court to rethink
its analysis. Id.; see N.W. Acceptance Corp. v.
Lynnwood Equip., Inc., 841 F.2d 918, 925-26 (9th Cir.
asserts that the Settlement affected all death row inmates,
not just Mr. Nordstrom and created a vehicle for all
death-sentenced inmates to be reclassified to close custody.
Doc. 111 at 6. Mr. Garza seems to argue that because all
death-sentenced inmates benefitted from the Settlement, they
should all have standing to enforce it. Id. at 7. He
further argues that because the Settlement mentions all
death-sentenced inmates as a group, they were the intended
third-party beneficiaries. Id.
Garza's arguments are all addressed by the Court's
previous order. While the Settlement mentions all
death-sentenced inmates as a group, the underlying case was
only between Mr. Nordstrom and Defendants. As stressed in the
previous order, Mr. Nordstrom never took steps to represent
interests other than his own, and the Settlement was the
result of an agreement between Mr. Nordstrom and ADOC only.
Further, under Arizona law it is not enough that the inmates
are affected by the Settlement or that it operates to their
benefit. See Sherman v. First Am. Title Ins., 38
P.3d 1229, 1232 (Ariz.Ct.App. 2002). The death-sentenced
inmates must be the intended, primary parties in interest,
which they were not. Basurto v. Utah Const. & Mining
Co., 485 P.2d 859, 863 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1971).
also argues that if the death-sentenced inmates do not have
standing to enforce the Settlement, then Plaintiff Nordstrom
would not have had standing to originally assert his claims.
This clearly is incorrect. To assert standing in the
underlying suit, Mr. Nordstrom needed to show that he
suffered an injury and the injury could be redressed by the
Court's favorable opinion. See Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). As a party to the
underlying suit and the Settlement, Mr. Nordstrom's
continues to have standing to enforce the Settlement. Doc. 72
at 4-5. But as nonparties, Garza and the other
death-sentenced inmates need third-party beneficiary status
to have standing to enforce the Settlement. Sherman,
P.3d at 1232. As discussed in the Court's previous order,
they do not.
also does not address the Court's alternative ground for
dismissing the death-sentenced inmates' motions - that
none of the inmates asserted claims are covered by the terms
of the Settlement. Doc. 110 at 6-8. Specifically for Mr.
Garza, the Court found that the Settlement does not address
disciplinary procedures for death-sentenced inmates following
reclassification. Id. at 7. Thus, even if the Court
agreed that the inmates have standing, the May 2019 order
would not change.
IS ORDERED that Mr. Garza's motion to reconsider