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Nolley v. McLaughlin

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

April 11, 2018

DARNELL NOLLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
GREGORY MCLAUGHLIN, et al., Defendant

         Proceedings Under 42 U.S.C. §1983 Before the U.S. Magistrate Judge

          ORDER

          TILMAN E. SELF, III, JUDGE.

         Currently pending before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 154), in which Plaintiff challenges the Court's denial of his Motion for Default Judgment, and Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 158). Plaintiff has also filed several letters (Docs. 155, 156, 157). Each of Plaintiff's filings is discussed, in turn, below.

         Motion for Reconsideration

         In his Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff contends the Court committed two errors: (1) denying his Motion for Default Judgment because Defendants failed to file an Answer to Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint; and (2) “holding that the remaining claims going forward are Plaintiff's due process claims against Defendants McLaughlin, Myrick, Fountain, Demundo, and Ellison” because he has also alleged an Eighth Amendment claim that must go forward. Doc. 154; Doc. 148. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion is denied.

         Local Rule 7.6 cautions that “[m]otions for reconsideration shall not be filed as a matter of routine practice.” M.D. Ga., L.R. 7.6. “Reconsideration is appropriate ‘only if the movant demonstrates (1) that there has been an intervening change in the law, (2) that new evidence has been discovered which was not previously available to the parties in the exercise of due diligence, or (3) that the court made a clear error of law.'” Bingham v. Nelson, No. 5:08-CV-246 (CAR), 2010 WL 339806, at *1 (M.D. Ga. Jan. 21, 2010) (quoting McCoy v. Macon Water Authority, 966 F.Supp. 1209, 1222-23 (M.D. Ga. 1997)). Importantly, “[a] motion for reconsideration does not provide an opportunity to simply reargue the issue the Court has once determined.” Pennamon v. United Bank, No. 5:09-CV-169 (CAR), 2009 WL 2355816, at *1 (M.D. Ga. July 28, 2009) (quotation omitted). It does not appear that Plaintiff alleges that the governing law has changed or that new evidence has been discovered; rather, Plaintiff alleges that the Court made a clear error of law. Doc. 154.

         First, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the Court erred in denying his Motion for Default Judgment. A defendant must respond to every complaint, and a default judgment may be entered when a defendant has failed to answer, or otherwise respond to, a complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(a)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a)-(b)(2); Estate of Faull by Jacobus v. McAfee, 2018 WL 834244, at *4 (11th Cir. Feb. 13, 2018); Surtain v. Hamlin Terrace Found., 789 F.3d 1239, 1244 (11th Cir. 2015). District courts have broad discretion to determine whether a default judgment is appropriate, and default judgments are generally disfavored. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2); McAfee, 2018 WL 834244, at *4; Surtain, 789 F.3d at 1244-45.

         Generally, “an amended complaint supersedes the initial complaint and becomes the operative pleading in [a] case.” Krinsk v. SunTrust Banks, Inc., 654 F.3d 1194, 1202 (11th Cir. 2011)(quoting Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., 483 F.3d 1184, 1219 (11th Cir.2007)). When a plaintiff files an amended complaint that “changes the theory or scope of the case, ” the “defendant will be allowed to plead anew in response to an amended complaint, as if it were the initial complaint [. . . .]” Dasher v. RBC Bank (USA), 882 F.3d 1017, 1025 (11th Cir. 2018) (quoting Krinsk v. SunTrust Banks, Inc., 654 F.3d 1194, 1202 (11th Cir. 2011)). The Eleventh Circuit has held that “[i]t simply would be unfair to allow [a] plaintiff to change the scope of the case without granting the defendant an opportunity to respond anew.” Krinsk, 654 F.3d at 1202.

         This case has a long and complicated procedural history, with multiple Defendants, Motions to Dismiss, and Motions to Amend. Plaintiff has filed several amended complaints, and Defendants have litigated their position at every step of this case. Plaintiff filed his Initial Complaint on April 27, 2015. Doc. 1. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend in March of 2016 (Doc. 44), and upon an Order of this Court (Doc. 45), Plaintiff's complaint from another case was consolidated to this case to serve as Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. Doc. 46. Following a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 31), the Court Ordered the following:

1. Plaintiff was allowed to add due process claims against Defendants Bobbitt, Henderson, Bostick, and Giles.
2. Plaintiff's due process claim relating to an October 2014 disciplinary hearing against Defendants Ellison, Demundo, McLaughlin, Myrick, and Upton was allowed to proceed.
3. Plaintiff's excessive force claims against Defendants McLaughlin, Blakely, Jones, McIntyre, Jackson, Ridley, Eddie, Cox, and Woolfork were dismissed.
4. Plaintiff's failure to provide adequate medical treatments claims against Defendants Haynes and Frazier were dismissed.

Doc. 65, p. 4. Defendants Ellison, Demundo, McLaughlin, Myrick, and Upton filed another Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 71), which the Court denied, adding that “Plaintiff's claims against Defendants McLaughlin, Myrick, Upton, Demundo, and Ellison are to proceed ...


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