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Tidaback v. City of Georgetown

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Lexington

April 14, 2017

CITY OF GEORGETOWN, GEORGETOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT, RICHARD WILLIAMS, in his individual capacity, and RICHARD WILLIAMS, as an employee of the City of Georgetown and Georgetown Police Department, Defendants.


          Joseph M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Reconsider filed by Plaintiff [DE 12], in which she requests that the Court reconsider its March 31, 2017 Judgment dismissing Plaintiff's claims [DE 11]. Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Seal a Document [DE 13], seeking permission to submit a copy of a competency/criminal responsibility evaluation in support of her Motion to Reconsider under seal.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On March 31, 2017, the Court granted the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Defendants, City of Georgetown, Georgetown Police Department, and Richard Williams in his individual capacity and as an employee of the City of Georgetown and Georgetown Police Department (collectively, “Defendants”) [DE 10] and entered a Judgment in favor of Defendants [DE 11]. As explained more fully in the Court's Memorandum Opinion & Order [DE 10], dismissal of Plaintiff's claims was warranted because Plaintiff's claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 were untimely; Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim is not yet ripe; and Plaintiff's claims for fraud and municipal liability were insufficiently pled [Id.]. The Court also dismissed the Georgetown Police Department, as it is a city police department and is, accordingly, not a legal entity capable of being sued.

         Plaintiff has now filed a Motion to Reconsider the Court's Order dismissing her case, arguing that the allegations in her Complaint contain sufficient facts upon which relief may be granted and that material issues of fact exists, such that Defendants are not entitled to Judgement in their favor.

         II. Standard of Review

         Although Plaintiff fails to specify the legal basis for her motion, as Plaintiff seeks to alter or amend a judgment, her motion to reconsider is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). A motion to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e) should be granted only when there has been (1) an intervening change of the controlling law; (2) discovery of evidence not previously available which has since become available; or (3) a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice. GenCorp., Inc. v. Am., Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999)(citations omitted). The motion does not serve as “an opportunity to re-argue a case.” Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir.1998). Accordingly, a party should not use this motion “to raise arguments which could, and should, have been made before judgment issued.” Id. (quoting FDIC v. World Univ. Inc., 978 F.2d 10, 16 (1st Cir.1992)).

         Moreover, Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 also provides for grounds for reconsideration. Rule 60(b) permits the Court to provide relief from a final judgment or order when 1) there has been mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect; 2) there is newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); 3) there has been fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; 4) the judgment is void; 5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable or 6) any other reason that justifies relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60. See also GenCorp., Inc., 477 F.3d at 372.

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff's motion to reconsider essentially re-hashes the arguments made in response to Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. She does not identify any of the grounds for altering or amending a judgment under Rule 59(e) as the basis for her motion, nor does she argue that relief from the Court's judgment or order is appropriate for the reasons provided by Rule 60. For these reasons alone, Plaintiff's Motion is not well-taken.

         Plaintiff does seek to submit additional evidence regarding her allegation of “temporary memory loss” in a further attempt to equate this allegation with an allegation of “unsound mind” sufficient to toll the statute of limitations for her § 1983 claims pursuant to KRS § 413.170(1). KRS § 413.170(1) tolls the statute of limitations applicable to Plaintiff's § 1983 claims while the person entitled to bring the claim is “an infant or of unsound mind.” Id. “The term ‘unsound mind' within the meaning of KRS 413.170(1) has been interpreted by [the Kentucky Supreme Court] to mean that the person claiming the disability must show that he has been rendered incapable of managing his own affairs.” Rigazio v. Archdiocese of Louisville, 853 S.W.2d 295, 297 (Ky. Ct. App. 1993)(citing Southeastern Kentucky Baptist Hosp. v. Gaylor, Ky., 756 S.W.2d 467 (1988)).

         The Court held that Plaintiff's allegations of “temporary memory loss” regarding the injuries sustained the night of her arrest and booking did not rise to the level of “unsound mind” for purposes of KRS § 413.170(1). In her Motion to Reconsider, Plaintiff now attempts to submit additional evidence that she was of “unsound mind, ” specifically a February 5, 2016 Competency/Criminal Responsibility evaluation of Plaintiff prepared by John D. Ranseen, Ph.D., a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, pursuant to an order entered by the Honorable Paul F. Isaacs of the Scott Circuit Court in Plaintiff's criminal case [DE 13-2, Evaluation]. According to Plaintiff, this evaluation is the basis for the diagnosis of Plaintiff's condition, which she claims includes neurocognitive impairment due to traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mild cognitive impairment and memory loss [DE 12 at p. 2, 3].

         As an initial matter, the competency evaluation submitted by Plaintiff is not “newly discovered” evidence that would justify altering or amending the Court's prior Order and Judgment. “To constitute ‘newly discovered evidence, ' the evidence must have been previously unavailable.” GenCorp, Inc., 178 F.3d at 834 (citations omitted). Plaintiff does not argue that this evaluation was previously unavailable to her when she filed her response to Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. In fact, Plaintiff's counsel is specifically copied on the February 5, 2016 Report [DE 13-2, Evaluation at p. 10]. Thus, to the extent that Plaintiff wished to rely on this evaluation, she should have done so in her response to the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

         Regardless of the untimeliness of Plaintiff's submission, the Court has, nevertheless, reviewed the evaluation and finds that it does not justify altering or amending its prior Order and Judgment. The “Diagnostic Impressions (DSM-5)” section of the evaluation does not relate Plaintiff's Psychiatric Diagnoses to the incident leading to her arrest on July 2-3, 2014. Rather, the evaluation states that Plaintiff's “primary problem is clearly Polysubstance Abuse with Alcohol as the primary substance of abuse” [DE 13-2, at p. 5]. The evaluation also states that Plaintiff likely has a mild degree of generalized cognitive impairment, given a probable severe traumatic brain injury suffered in a four-wheeler accident in 2005, her diabetic condition, and her substance abuse history [Id.]. It also states that Plaintiff's history (which includes an abusive childhood, alcohol and drug abuse, the aforementioned severe four-wheeler accident after ...

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