United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
RICKY J. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
Dr. SHARON LEWIS, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
E. SELF, III, JUDGE
the Court's Order [Doc. 178] adopting of the United
States Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [Doc.
171], Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration [Doc. 180]
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which
states that “[a] motion to amend or alter judgment must
be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the
judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). In its Order, following
a de novo review of the record in light of
Plaintiff's Objection [Doc. 177], the Court adopted the
magistrate judge's recommendation on two Motions for
Summary Judgment [Doc. 144]; [Doc. 145] and ultimately
dismissed his case. [Doc. 178 at p. 2]. For the following
reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's
Motion for Reconsideration [Doc. 180].
Standard of Review
Plaintiff realizes, “‘motions for reconsideration
are disfavored'” and “‘relief under
Rule 59(e) is an extraordinary remedy to be employed
sparingly.'” Mercer v. Perdue Farms, Inc.,
No. 5:10-cv-324 (CAR), 2012 WL 1414321, at *1 (M.D. Ga. Apr.
20, 2012) (quoting Krstic v. Princess Cruise Lines,
Ltd., 706 F.Supp.2d 1271, 1282 (S.D. Fla. 2010));
see also Daker v. Dozier, No. 5:17-cv-25 (CAR), 2017
WL 4797522, at *1 (M.D. Ga. Oct. 24, 2017); [Doc. 180 at pp.
2-3]. Furthermore, Rule 59(e) “cannot serve as a
vehicle to relitigate old matters or present the case under a
new legal theory . . . [or] give the moving party another
‘bite at the apple' by permitting the arguing of
issues and procedures that could and should have been raised
prior to judgment.” Daker, 2017 WL 4797522, at
*1 (internal quotation marks omitted) (alterations in
Court recognizes only three circumstances that warrant
reconsideration of a prior order under Rule 59(e): “(1)
an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence; and (3) the need to correct
clear error or manifest injustice.” Daker v.
Humphrey, Civil Action No. 5:12-CV-461 (CAR), 2013 WL
1296501, at *2 n.1 (M.D. Ga. Mar. 27, 2013) (quoting Fla.
College of Osteopathic Med., Inc. v. Dean Witter, 12
F.Supp.2d 1306, 1308 (M.D. Fla. 1998)).
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration
Motion, Plaintiff contends that the Court's explanation
regarding his deposition questions to non-parties “is a
clearly erroneous assessment of the facts and evidence
contained in the record, and works a manifest
injustice.” [Doc. 180 at p. 4]. As Plaintiff states,
the Court “[o]n September 6, 2019, . . . issued an
Order granting Plaintiff's motion to submit written
deposition questions to [non-parties].” [Id.];
see also [Doc. 153 at p. 2]. In that Order, the
magistrate judge afforded Plaintiff 28 days to submit his
written deposition questions, and on October 4, 2019-28 days
later- Plaintiff filed a Notice of Filing of Deposition
Questions to Non-Parties [Doc. 160] “as a courtesy to
the Court.” [Doc. 153 at p. 2]; [Doc. 180 at p. 6].
This Notice contained two sets of questions: one to Dr. Guy
Augustin, [Doc. 160-1], and the other to Dr. Yvonne Neau,
[Doc. 160-2]. Plaintiff did not, notably, file any responses
to those questions for the Court to consider as evidence.
Plaintiff was not specifically instructed to file these
responses, it goes without saying that if he wanted the Court
to consider them-they needed to be filed. See [Doc.
153 at p. 2]. Plaintiff was, however, instructed to file a
“response to Defendants' motion for summary
judgment, relying on the non-parties' responses to his
deposition questions, ” 28 days from September 6, 2019.
[Id. at pp. 2, 7]. Again, that would have made his
response deadline October 4, 2019. However, Dr. Neau did not
even respond to Plaintiff's deposition questions until
October 16, 2019. [Doc. 168-1 at p. 5]. Ideally, in light of
Dr. Neau's response time, Plaintiff would have sought an
extension of time from the Court so that he could include her
and (presumably) Dr. Augustin's responses in his
opposition brief to Defendants' summary judgment motion.
It was not until October 18, 2019, that Defendants filed Dr.
Neau's responses to Plaintiff's deposition questions
in the record. Compare [Doc. 160-2] with
[Doc. 168-1]. Dr. Augustin's actual responses, however,
are nowhere to be found.
argues that the magistrate judge, and by extension the
District Court via its adoption of the Report and
Recommendation, “did not even consider Dr. Neau's
sworn response, ” that (according to Plaintiff)
“reveals that someone is lying to the Court.” [Doc.
180 at p. 15]. Based on this, he asserts that Dr. Neau's
responses should be considered as “new evidence”
warranting reconsideration. [Id.]. Dr. Neau's
responses, however, were not “new evidence” at
the time the Court adopted the magistrate judge's Report
and Recommendation. While the magistrate judge certainly
could not have reviewed Plaintiff's Response [Doc. 173]
“relying on the non-parties' responses to his
deposition questions, ” because the magistrate judge
had already filed his Report and Recommendation two weeks
earlier (and because Plaintiff did not even have the
responses yet-as far as Dr. Neau is concerned), the Court
did, however, have the full opportunity to review the entire
record. [Doc. 153 at p. 2]; [Doc. 163]; see also
[Doc. 171] in connection with [Doc. 173]. Then, and
now once again, in light of Plaintiff's reconsideration
motion, it is clear that Dr. Neau's responses and Dr.
Augustin's supposed responses (which Plaintiff never
filed but only referenced in his response to Dr.
Augustin's deposition questions) would not change the
Court's ruling. See generally [Doc. 173].
Plaintiff contends that “[t]he Court's reliance on
[Defendant] Marler's opinion in the field of hepatology
and gastroenterology in making a determination of [his]
medical condition is clearly erroneous” due to his bias
and lack of training or other specialized knowledge in that
particular field. [Doc. 180 at pp. 8-11]. This argument is
clearly an attempt to relitigate a matter already settled by
the Court, and is exactly the type of argument forbidden by
Rule 59(e) motions. See [Doc. 171 at pp. 48-53
(discussing Defendant Marler's course of treatment for
Plaintiff)]; see also Daker, 2017 WL 4797522, at *1,
supra. True, the magistrate judge considered
Defendant Marler's testimony concerning the medical basis
for his diagnosis and treatment of Plaintiff's medical
condition (Hepatitis C), but when evaluating deliberate
indifference claims, courts are required to determine whether
a medical professional, such as Defendant Marler, exercised
medical judgment in treating a medical condition. See
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106-08 (1976);
Harris v. Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1507-09 (11th Cir.
1991); see also [Doc. 171 at p. 48 (citing Adams
v. Poag, 61 F.3d 1537, 1545 (11th Cir. 1995))].
on the foregoing, the Court DENIES
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration [Doc. 180], and
the Court's previous Order [Doc. 178] stands as filed and
the Clerk's Entry of Judgment [Doc. 179] shall remain