United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Raner C. Collins Senior United States District
before the Court is Defendants Shartle and McCintock's
(“Wardens”) Motion to Amend/Correct Order Denying
Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 49) and
Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion to Reconsider Order on Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 57). The Court will grant Defendants'
motion and deny Plaintiffs'.
March 15, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint
alleging that the Wardens failed to protect inmate Clinton
Dewayne Smith under the Eighth Amendment, and
unconstitutionally denied Plaintiffs' right to
companionship and familial association under the Fifth
Amendment. (Doc. 28.) Plaintiffs claim the Wardens did not
prevent Smith from being housed with Romeo Giovanni, a
violent gang member who threatened to kill any sex offender
placed in his cell. Id. After the threat, Bureau of
Prisons employees transferred Smith, a convicted sex
offender, to Giovanni's cell; within twenty-four hours,
Giovanni had murdered Smith. Id. at 4.
Wardens filed a Motion to Dismiss to which Plaintiffs
responded on April 29, 2019, arguing that the motion should
be denied because: (1) Plaintiffs' Bivens claims
did not present a new context, (2) there were no
“special factors” preventing the Court from
recognizing the claim, and (3) the Wardens were not subject
to qualified immunity. (Doc. 35.) Plaintiffs generally stated
that the Wardens knew of the risk of violence against sex
offenders and of Smith's assignment in the Special
Housing Unit, and failed to take measures to prevent the
housing of sex offenders with gang members. (Doc. 35 at 11.)
Plaintiffs' response did not suggest that they had
additional facts demonstrating the Wardens' personal
knowledge of Smith's placement with Giovanni. The motion
was fully briefed on May 15, 2019.
21, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Leave to File a
Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 41-2.) Plaintiffs conceded
that the additional information included in the Second
Amended Complaint had been received two months prior, but
that they had waited to ask for leave to amend because they
anticipated further disclosure. (Doc. 41-3 at 7.) They
suggested the additional facts asserted in the Second Amended
Complaint would help resolve the pending Motion to Dismiss
because the new facts showed that the Wardens knew about the
risk of harm posed to Smith by placing him with a gang
member. Id. at 8.
28, 2019, the Court denied Plaintiffs' motion for leave
to amend without prejudice, finding that because Plaintiffs
would likely obtain the names of the John Doe employees
(aside from the Wardens) through discovery, in the interests
of judicial economy, the Court would wait to evaluate the
John Doe claims until Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint
with the named individuals. (Doc. 44 at 2.)
Court also granted the Wardens' Motion to Dismiss.
Id. at 11. The Court found that Plaintiffs' suit
asserted that the Wardens failed to formulate a policy for
housing sex offenders. Id. at 3, 7. This argument,
the Court stated, improperly extended the Bivens
remedy to a new context. Id. at 3. In addition, the
Court found that “special factors” weighed
against expanding a Bivens remedy to this case.
Id. at 6. Moreover, the Wardens enjoyed qualified
immunity because (1) there was no clearly established law
putting the Wardens on notice that failing to implement a
policy was unlawful, and (2) the Wardens were not liable for
the actions of their subordinates. Id. at 6. The
Court noted that Plaintiffs had not alleged facts indicating
that the Wardens knew that Giovanni and Smith were placed
together, and even if they had, Giovanni was also a convicted
sex offender “so it is questionable that the simple
placement of the two together would cause the Wardens alarm
absent the additional knowledge of Giovanni's
threats.” Id. at 7.
12, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Reconsideration,
asking the Court to reconsider the Wardens' dismissal
until further discovery was received and a Third Amended
Complaint filed. (Doc. 47-1 at 10.) The Court denied the
motion as moot, stating that the dismissal was without
prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2).
(Doc. 48.) The Wardens pointed out that dismissal by the
Court is under Rule 41(b) and the dismissal is with
prejudice. (Doc. 49 at 2.) With no opposition, the Court
struck the Order that found Plaintiffs' motion moot, and
permitted Plaintiffs to refile their Motion for
Reconsideration. (Doc. 56.)
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel Disclosure from the
Department of Justice (“DOJ”). (Doc. 55) The
motion detailed alleged deficiencies in the production of
information about employees involved in Smith's transfer.
(Doc. 55.) Yet, it did not indicate that the DOJ was
withholding information about the Wardens, only that of the
unnamed John Does.
renewed Motion for Reconsideration, filed August 15, 2019,
claimed that because the Court dismissed the Second Amended
Complaint without consideration, it had not evaluated
additional material facts which alleged that the Wardens had
personal knowledge of the risks posed to Smith by placing him
with Giovanni. (Doc. 57.) Plaintiffs again asked the Court to
hold off on dismissing the claims until they received further
discovery and filed a Third Amended Complaint. (Doc. 57-1 at
Standard of Review
Motion to Reconsider
for reconsideration should be granted only in rare
circumstances. Defenders of Wildlife v. Browner, 909
F.Supp. 1342, 1351 (D. Ariz. 1995). Granting such a motion
may occur when the Court “(1) is presented with newly
discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial
decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an
intervening change in controlling law.” Sch. Dist.
No. 1J, Multnomah Cty. v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255,
1263 (9th Cir. 1993). A motion for reconsideration “may
not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the
first time when they could reasonably have been raised
earlier in the litigation.” Kona Enters., Inc. v.
Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000). Nor
may a motion for reconsideration repeat any argument
previously made in support of or in opposition to a motion.
Motorola, Inc. v. J.B. Rodgers Mech. Contractors,
Inc., 215 F.R.D. 581, 586 (D. Ariz. 2003). A motion for
reconsideration need not be granted if it asks the ...