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Ingram v. Davis

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

December 4, 2019

PATRICK BERNARD INGRAM (TDCJ No. 1669001), Plaintiff,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, ET AL., Defendants.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          DAVID L. HORAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Patrick Bernard Ingram, a Texas prisoner, filed a pro se complaint against state officials asserting that his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection have been violated based on the defendants' alleged failure to honor a state court order expunging his arrest records. See Dkt. Nos. 3 & 4.

         On October 31, 2019, the Court dismissed Ingram's complaint with prejudice. See Dkt. Nos. 9, 13, & 14. On November 18, 2019, Ingram moved the Court to reconsider its judgment - contending that, in screening his claims, the Court misconstrued them - and he further moved for leave to amend his complaint [Dkt. No. 16] (the “Motion”). United States District Judge Sam A. Lindsay referred the Motion to the undersigned United States magistrate judge, under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), for hearing, if necessary, and to submit proposed findings and recommendations for disposition of the motion. See Dkt. No. 17.

         The undersigned enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that the Court deny the Motion.

         Legal Standards and Analysis

         I. Reconsideration

         “A motion asking the court to reconsider a prior ruling is evaluated either as a motion to ‘alter or amend a judgment' under [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 59(e) or as a motion for ‘relief from a final judgment, order, or proceeding' under [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 60(b). The rule under which the motion is considered is based on when the motion was filed.” Demahy v. Schwarz Pharma, Inc., 702 F.3d 177, 182 n.2 (5th Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (citing Tex. A&M Research Found. v. Magna Transp., Inc., 338 F.3d 394, 400 (5th Cir. 2003)). If, like here, “the motion was filed within twenty-eight days after the entry of the judgment, the motion is treated as though it was filed under Rule 59.” Id.; see also Hanna v. Maxwell, 548 Fed.Appx. 192, 195 (5th Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (“Hanna's pleadings at the district court were not models of precision, but we construe them liberally because he is proceeding pro se. However Hanna labeled his motion, it clearly evinced a desire for the court to reconsider its judgment, and it was filed within the 28-day time limit for filing Rule 59(e) motions.” (citations omitted)).

Under Rule 59(e), amending a judgment is appropriate (1) where there has been an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) where the movant presents newly discovered evidence that was previously unavailable; or (3) to correct a manifest error of law or fact. Schiller v. Physicians Res. Grp. Inc., 342 F.3d 563, 567 (5th Cir. 2003). A motion under Rule 59 cannot be used to raise arguments or claims “that could, and should, have been made before the judgment issued.” Marseilles Homeowners Condo. Ass'n v. Fidelity Nat. Ins. Co., 542 F.3d 1053, 1058 (5th Cir. 2008).

Demahy, 702 F.3d at 182 (footnote omitted).

         Thus, “[i]n school yard parlance, ” a motion for reconsideration is not “a request for a ‘do over.'” Green v. City of New York, No. 05-cv-0429 (DLI)(ETB), 2006 WL 2516468, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2006); see also Deerskin Trading Post, Inc. v. United Parcel Serv. of Am., Inc., 972 F.Supp. 665, 674 (N.D.Ga. 1997) (“[A] motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for the moving party and their counsel to instruct the court on how the court could have done it better the first time.” (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)).

         There has been no intervening change in controlling law. And Ingram presents no previously-unavailable newly-discovered evidence. So the Court should consider whether the judgment should be amended to correct a manifest error of law. Indeed, this is what Ingram appears to argue.

         In denying his due process claim, the Court concluded that,

because [Ingram] does not have a protected liberty interest in parole, he cannot allege a plausible due process claim based on his fear that a future parole determination may rely on an expunged arrest. See Johnson v. Rodriguez, 110 F.3d 299, 308 & n.13 (5th Cir. 2001) (“Johnson's allegations that the Board considers unreliable or even false information in making parole determinations, without more, simply do not assert a federal constitutional violation. ... The underlying dispute on this issue is whether (and if so, to what extent) a prisoner enjoys a federal right to have accurate information in his or her parole file. ... [O]ur precedent is definite and precise on this point: in the absence of a cognizable liberty interest, a state prisoner cannot challenge parole procedures under the Due Process Clause.” (citations omitted)); Mitchell v. Ballard, 253 F.3d 705, 2001 WL 498443, at *1 (5th Cir. Apr. 12, 2001) (per curiam) (“Mitchell argues that he is entitled to prospective injunctive relief prohibiting the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles from considering criminal charges which were dismissed and expunged by a state court in making future parole determinations in violation of his due process rights. Because Mitchell does not have a protected liberty interest in parole, he may not challenge the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles' procedures in making future parole determinations on due process grounds.” (citing Johnson, 110 F.3d at 308)).

Ingram v. Davis, No. 3:19-cv-1858-L-BN, 2019 WL 5685379, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 30, 2019) (footnote omitted), rec. accepted, 2019 WL 5684528 (N.D. ...


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