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Myers v. Prindel

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington

February 13, 2015

REGINALD MYERS, Plaintiff,
v.
EDWARD PRINDEL, JAILER, [1], Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DAVID L. BUNNING, District Judge.

Plaintiff Reginald Myers is an inmate confined by the Bureau of Prisons in the Federal Correctional Institution located in Terre Haute, Indiana. Proceeding without counsel, Myers has filed a motion seeking reconsideration of the prior order and judgment dismissing his civil rights complaint. For the reasons set forth below, Myers' Motion for Reconsideration [R. 8] will be denied.

BACKGROUND

In July 2014, Myers filed a pro se civil rights complaint asserting constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [R. 1] Myers alleged that on August 9, 2012, while he was confined in the Boone County Jail ("BCJ"), Jailer Edward Prindle failed and/or refused to ensure that he (Myers) received proper medical treatment for an eye condition, and that Prindle's alleged inaction violated his rights guaranteed under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. [ Id., p. 2] Myers also alleged that Prindle denied him "due process" in violation of his federal constitutional rights, and demanded $2 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages from Prindle. [ Id., pp. 2-3]

On July 30, 2014, the Court entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order ("the Opinion and Order") [R. 6] and Judgment [R. 7] dismissing Myers's § 1983 complaint, finding that his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim was barred by Kentucky's one-year statute of limitation period applicable to general personal injury actions, including claims alleging constitutional torts. See KRS § 413.140(1)(a). The Court noted that it was unclear whether Myers' retina became detached from his right eye before he underwent cataract surgery, or whether he underwent cataract surgery before his retina became detached from his right eye, but that it was clear from the express wording of Myers' complaint that his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Prindle accrued on August 9, 2012. [ Id. p. 3]

The Court concluded that, based on Myers's description of the alleged events, he knew or should have known of the relevant facts underlying his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim on or about August 9, 2012; that he should have filed suit on his claim on or before August 9, 2013; but that Myers did not file suit on his claim until July 2, 2014, almost one year after the statute of limitations had expired. [ Id., pp. 3-4] The Court also dismissed Myers' due process claim, finding that he had not alleged any facts supporting his broadly worded assertion that Prindle had denied him due process of law. [ Id., pp. 4-6]

In his Motion for Reconsideration, Myers alleges, for the first time, the following facts: that after he arrived at the BCJ, his eyesight began to fade and that in March 2013, he was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for evaluation; that in March 2013, the staff at St. Elizabeth Hospital told him that his retina had become detached and that immediate surgery was required; that in March 2013, the staff at St. Elizabeth's Hospital recommended that he undergo surgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio; that on August 15, 2013, he underwent the eye surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital, and that he did not learn until that date that his detached retina resulted from the cataract surgery which had been performed on August 2, 2012, at the Jewish Hospital. [R. 8, pp. 1-2] In his motion, Myers also alleges that he was "... further informed that the delay in seeking treatment for the injury would prevent full recovery from the injury, and that the plaintiff's blindness may be permanent as a result of the delay in treatment or surgery to repair the retina." [ Id., p. 2]

Myers now asserts that it was not until August 15, 2013 that he learned that Prindle's alleged actions or inactions caused his eye condition to worsen, and that it was on that date when the Good Samaritan medical staff first told him that the alleged delay in treatment had caused his eye condition(s) to worsen. Myers argues that his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference medical claim therefore did not accrue until August 15, 2013; that because his cause of action did not accrue until August 15, 2013, he had one year from that date (until August 13, 2014) in which to file his § 1983 complaint; and that because he filed his § 1983 complaint on July 2, 2014, his complaint fell within the one-year statute of limitations period set forth in KRS § 413.140(1)(a) and was therefore timely filed. Myers thus asserts that the Court incorrectly determined that his complaint was time-barred.

DISCUSSION

Because Myers seeks reconsideration of the Opinion and Order, a final and appealable order, his motion falls under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which provides that a judgment can be set aside or amended for one of four reasons: (1) to correct a clear error of law; (2) to account for newly discovered evidence; (3) to accommodate an intervening change in the controlling law; or (4) to otherwise prevent manifest injustice. See also ACLU of Ky. v. McCreary County, Ky., 607 F.3d 439, 450 (6th Cir. 2010 ); Gen. Corp, Inc., v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999); Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005). The grant or denial of a Rule 59(e) motion "is within the informed discretion of the district court." GenCorp., Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 832 (6th Cir. 1999); see also Leisure Caviar, 616 F.3d 612, 615 (6th Cir. 2010) ("A district court, generally speaking, has considerable discretion in deciding whether to grant [a Rule 59(e)] motion.")

Myers has not satisfied either the first or second criteria of Rule 59(e), because the Court did not erroneously apply the law applicable to the statute of limitations in § 1983 civil rights actions, and Myers has not alleged the existence of newly discovered evidence. In his complaint, Myers stated:

That on August 9, 2012, following surgery to the plaintiff's right eye, for cataract removal, and due to the conduct, actions and omissions of the defendant, the plaintiff was caused to lose all sight in the right eye, rendering the plaintiff nearly blind in both eyes since his left eye was, also, partially blind.

[R. 1, p. 2, ¶ 5]

Myers thus clearly and unambiguously conveyed in the above passage that Prindle denied him necessary medical treatment, demonstrated deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, and violated his Eighth Amendment rights on August 9, 2012. He alleged none of the other facts which he now asserts for the first time in his motion for reconsideration, such as his claim that it was not until August 15, 2013 that he learned from the Good Samaritan ...


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