United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division
C. HANKS, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
is a "motion for reconsideration" filed by the
plaintiff, which the Court construes as a motion to alter or
amend the Court's judgment under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) (Dkt. 68). For the reasons given below, the
motion is DENIED.
plaintiff, Robert Rodriguez Trevino (TDCJ #00729766), is an
inmate in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice - Correctional Institutions Division
("TDCJ"), and he has filed this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs at TDCJ's Carole Young Medical
Facility ("CYMF"). Although Trevino is proceeding
in forma pauperis (Dkt. 52), he is not pro
se-his sister is proceeding as next friend for him (Dkt.
26) and has retained an attorney.
Rule 59(e) motion challenges the Court's granting of a
motion to dismiss filed by the defendants pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) (Dkt. 59). The defendants
invoked qualified immunity in their motion (Dkt. 59 at p. 9).
Before granting the defendants' motion, the Court gave
Trevino an extension of his deadline to respond (Dkt. 62).
Trevino's response to the Rule 12(c) motion did not
contain an amended pleading but instead insisted that
Trevino's live pleading contained factual allegations
sufficient to rebut the defendants' qualified immunity
(Dkt. 63 at pp. 16-18). The Court then entered an order
outlining the deficiencies in Trevino's live pleading and
ordering Trevino to cure those deficiencies by submitting an
amended pleading within 14 days of the date of the order
(Dkt. 64). See, e.g., Young v. City of Houston, 599
Fed.App'x 553, 555 (5th Cir. 2015) (affirming the
district court's granting of the defendant's Rule
12(c) motion when the district court gave the plaintiff 14
days to replead). Trevino did not respond, and the Court
granted the defendants' Rule 12(c) motion (Dkt. 66).
Trevino then filed this Rule 59(e) motion.
The governing standard
"Rule 59(e) serves the narrow purpose of allowing a
party to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present
newly discovered evidence." Templet v. HydroChem
Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004) (quotation marks
and brackets omitted). However, a Rule 59(e) motion
challenging a judgment entered on the pleadings should
typically be analyzed under the standard applicable to
motions for leave to amend brought under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 15(a). Rosenzweig v. Azurix Corp.,
332 F.3d 854, 863-64 (5th Cir. 2003). Under that standard,
leave should be freely given, but it may be denied based on
"undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part
of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party by virtue of the allowance of the amendment,
[and] futility of the amendment" Id. (quoting
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)) (brackets
in Rosenzweig). Where the pleadings, viewed under
the individual circumstances of the case, "demonstrate
that the plaintiff has pleaded his best case[, ]"
dismissal on the pleadings is appropriate if the pleadings do
not adequately state a cause of action. Jacquez v.
Procunier, 801 F.2d 789, 793 (5th Cir. 1986); see
also Bazrowx v. Scott, 136 F.3d 1053, 1054 (5th Cir.
1998) (holding that a court may sua sponte dismiss
for failure to state a claim "as long as the procedure
employed is fair") (quotation marks omitted). If a
plaintiff repeatedly declares his complaint's sufficiency
despite being given fair notice that the complaint is
inadequate and an opportunity to cure the inadequacy, the
court will assume that the plaintiff pleaded his best case.
Jacquez, 801 F.2d at 793.
Trevino's Rule 59(e) motion
Rule 59(e) motion, Trevino requests that the Court's
judgment of dismissal "be reversed" (Dkt. 68 at p.
1) or, in the alternative, that he be given the opportunity
to replead (Dkt. 68 at p. 8). The request for
"reversal" is based, remarkably, on Trevino's
continued insistence that his allegations rebut the
defendants' qualified immunity. The Court continues to
disagree. Trevino's request is denied.
request for a chance to replead is a bit more infuriating. In
a ten-page order, the Court explained to Trevino that his
live pleading's allegations were too vague and conclusory
to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, let alone rebut
the defendants' qualified immunity; the Court gave
Trevino 14 days to amend his live pleading and cure the
problems (Dkt. 64). Trevino did not respond, even to request
more time, so the Court dismissed the complaint for failure
to state a claim (Dkt. 66). The Court finds it startling that
Trevino, after the defendants' motion to dismiss has been
granted, now seeks the chance to craft the curative
amendments that the Court actually ordered him to
file when that motion was still pending. Needless to say, the
request for an opportunity to replead is denied.
Court concludes, as it did previously, that Trevino has not
sufficiently pled a cause of action despite having pled his
best case. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 "does not
unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with
nothing more than conclusions." Ashcroft v.
Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). Trevino's ...