United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
MARIA ARENAS, individually and in her capacity as heir and representative of the Estate of Richard Tavara, Plaintiff,
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; GEORGIA CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE; MARK SHELBY, in his individual capacity; STANLEY WILLIAMS, in his individual capacity; and MARVIN DICKSON, in his individual capacity; Defendants.
WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration.
(Doc. 65.) In her motion, Plaintiff asks this Court to
reconsider part of its previous ruling (Doc. 63) dismissing
her negligence claim against the Georgia Department of
Corrections ("GDOC"). (Doc. 65.) Plaintiff alleges
that the Court incorrectly found that Plaintiff s ante litem
notice was deficient because it failed to properly notify
Defendant GDOC of Plaintiff's negligence claim based on
the conduct of certain officers in response to Decedent
Richard Tavara's suicide. (Id. ) Plaintiff
contends that her ante litem notice was sufficient because it
adequately notified Defendant GDOC of the claim as required
by O.C.G.A. § 50-21-26. (Doc. 65.)
considering a motion for reconsideration, courts within the
Eleventh Circuit have held that reconsideration is
appropriate in a limited number of circumstances.
[r]econsideration 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
Bingham v. Nelson, No. 5:08-CV-246(CAR), 2010 WL
339806, at *l (M.D. Ga. Jan. 21, 2010) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted); see also Wells v. Gen.
Dynamics Info. Tech., Inc., No. 5:12-CV-18 (MTT), 2012
WL 5207519, at *l (M.D. Ga. Oct. 22, 2012). Additionally,
``[i]n order to demonstrate clear error, the party moving for
reconsideration must do more than simply restate his prior
arguments, and any arguments which the party inadvertently
failed to raise earlier are deemed waived."
McCoy v. Macon Water Auth., 966 F.Supp.
1209, 1222-23 (M.D. Ga. 1997).
case, Plaintiff does not argue that there has been any change
in the law or meaningful new evidence for this Court's
consideration. Instead, Plaintiff argues that this Court made
a clear error by finding that the ante litem notice was
deficient and did not put Defendant GDOC on notice of her
potential negligence claim. (Doc. 65 at 1.) Specifically,
Plaintiff contends that the ante litem was sufficient because
(1) Defendant GDOC had actual notice of the potential
negligence claim, (2) Plaintiff was not required to provide
an explanation of legal theories in her notice, and (3)
Plaintiff's claim of deliberate indifference, clearly
stated in her ante litem notice, necessarily included her
claim for negligence. (Doc. 65.)
Plaintiff's arguments, this Court does not find any
reason to reconsider its prior determination that
Plaintiff's ante litem notice was deficient. This Court
never held that Plaintiff was required to provide any
specific legal theories in her ante litem notice.
(See Doc. 63 at 30-32.} Instead, this Court held
that Plaintiff's ante litem notice only focused on the
lack of medical treatment Decedent Tavara received in jail
prior to his suicide. (Id.) In this Court's
view, Plaintiff failed to provide any indication in the ante
litem notice that she intended to bring suit against
Defendant GDOC based on the response to Decedent Tavara's
O.C.G.A. § 50-21-26 (a) (5), an ante litem notice in
Georgia must contain (1) the name of the state government
entity, (2) the time of the transaction or occurrence, (3)
the place of the transaction or occurrence, (4) the nature of
the loss suffered, (5) the amount of the loss claimed, and
(6) the acts or omissions which caused the loss. At issue
here is whether Plaintiff sufficiently provided notice to
Defendant GDOC of the acts or omissions which caused the loss
in this case. In her motion, Plaintiff attempts to highlight
language from her ante litem notice that she contends proves
she notified Defendant GDOC of her potential claim based on
the negligent response of its officers to Decedent
Tavara's suicide. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that
the ante litem notice provided that `` [i] mmediate medical
attention was necessary, but not given by prison
officials." (Doc. 52 at 2.)
first glance this statement does seem to support
Plaintiff's position that she did in fact notify
Defendant GDOC of her intention to bring suit based on the
lack of response to Decedent Tavara's attempted suicide.
When read in context, however, it becomes clear that
Plaintiff never provided any notice about any negligence
claim arising out of the response to Decedent Tavara's
relevant portion of Plaintiff ante litem notice provides:
Mr. Tavera Jaramillo a/k/a Mr. Tavera Arenas requested
medical treatment for depression and his bi-polar disorder,
which treatment was denied. Immediate medical attention was
necessary, but not given by prison officials. The United
States Supreme Court has held that "deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners
constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain,'" Gregg v. Georgia, at 173, 96 S.Ct.
at 2925 (joint opinion), proscribed by the Eighth Amendment
and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Mr. Tavera Jaramillo a/k/a Mr. Tavera Arenas was held in the
segregation or lockdown unit, yet he was not given adequate
medical attention for his severe mental disorder. Such
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs is a
(Doc. 52, Attach 1.) When read in context, it is clear that
Plaintiff s statement about the need for immediate medical
attention and the deliberate indifference by prison officials
referenced Decedent Tavara's access to medical treatment
prior to his suicide. Plaintiff's entire ante
litem notice focuses on the lack of treatment Decedent Tavara
received for his severe mental disorder while in prison.
There is simply no indication that Plaintiff intended to
bring suit based on the negligence of Defendant GDOC's
officers in responding to Decedent Tavara's actual
suicide. Because Plaintiff did not provide any description of
the acts or omissions relating to how the officers
negligently responded to Decedent Tavara's suicide,
Plaintiff's ante litem notice is deficient with respect
to this claim.
final note, the Court rejects Plaintiff's argument that
the Court made a clear error in interpreting the ante litem
notice because Defendant GDOC allegedly had actual notice of
Plaintiff's potential negligence claim. Plaintiff
contends that because Defendant GDOC responded to
Plaintiff's notice and stated that ``[w]e do not find any
negligence or deliberate indifference" (Doc. 52, Attach.
1 at 4), the ante litem must have sufficiently provided
notice to Defendant GDOC of her claim. This Court, however,
rejects Plaintiff's argument for two reasons. First,
Plaintiff has not provided any authority to support her
position that the deficiencies in her ante litem notice can
be overlooked simply because the other party acknowledge the
existence of a potential claim. Even if Defendant GDOCs
admission warranted overlooking the deficiencies in the ante
litem notice, however, Plaintiff's argument would still
fail. Defendant GDOCs statement does not clearly provide that
Defendant GDOC recognized that Plaintiff may have a
negligence claim based on the negligent actions of its
officers in responding to Decedent Tavara's suicide
attempt. Due to the lack of context surrounding Defendant
GDOC s statement, Defendant GDOCs statement could have easily
referred to a potential negligence claim based on Defendant
GDOC s failure to provide mental health treatment to Decedent
Tavara prior to his suicide. Accordingly, Defendant GDOCs
statement is not indicative of whether Defendant GDOC had
actual notice of any claim relating to the officer's
response to Decedent Tavara's suicide.
foregoing reasons, Plaintiff has failed to show that this
Court clearly erred when finding that Plaintiff's ante
litem notice did not provide adequate notice to Defendant
GDOC of any potential negligence claim based on the response
of the officers to Decedent Tavara's suicide.
Accordingly, this Court does not find any reason to overturn
its prior decision to dismiss ...