United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge.
pending and ready for resolution is a motion for
reconsideration by Plaintiff David Brightwell
(“Plaintiff”). (ECF No. 186). The issues have
been fully briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being
deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following
reasons, the motion for reconsideration will be denied.
complete recitation of the factual background can be found in
the court's prior memorandum opinion on summary judgment.
(See ECF No. 183, at 2-8). In that opinion, the
court, inter alia, granted summary judgment with
regard to two Defendants, former warden of Roxbury
Correctional Institution Gregg L. Hershberger and Lt. Gary
Winters, both of whose purported liability relied on a theory
of supervisory liability. (ECF No. 183, at 26-28).
Supervisory liability requires that the supervisor had actual
or constructive knowledge that his subordinates were engaged
in conduct that posed a “pervasive and unreasonable
risk” of constitutional injury. Shaw v.
Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 799 (4th Cir. 1994). A
party asserting supervisory liability “assumes a heavy
burden of proof in establishing deliberate
indifference” to a problem that is
“widespread.” Id. In the opinion on the
motion for summary judgment, the court held that Plaintiff
could not meet that burden based on the evidence in the
record. Plaintiff moves here for reconsideration of that
portion of the decision. (ECF No. 186).
Standard of Review
54(b) provides that “any order or other decision,
however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the
claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the
parties ... may be revised at any time before the entry of a
judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties'
rights and liabilities.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). In the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the
precise standard governing a motion for reconsideration of an
interlocutory order is unclear. Fayetteville Investors v.
Commercial Builders, Inc., 936 F.2d 1462, 1472
(4th Cir. 1991). While the standards articulated
in Rules 59(e) and 60(b) are not binding in an analysis of
Rule 54(b) motions, Am. Canoe Ass'n v. Murphy Farms,
Inc., 326 F.3d 505, 514 (4th Cir. 2003),
courts frequently look to these standards for guidance in
considering such motions. Akeva, LLC v. Adidas Am.,
Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 559, 565-66 (M.D. N.C. 2005).
Public policy favors an end to litigation and recognizes that
efficient operation requires the avoidance of re-arguing
questions that have already been decided. Most courts have
adhered to a fairly narrow set of grounds on which to
reconsider their interlocutory orders and opinions. Courts
will reconsider an interlocutory order in the following
situations: (1) there has been an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) there is additional evidence that was
not previously available; or (3) the prior decision was based
on clear error or would work manifest injustice.
Id. (citations omitted); see also Beyond Sys.,
Inc. v. Kraft Foods, Inc., No. PJM-08-409, 2010
WL 3059344, at *1-2 (D.Md. Aug. 4, 2010) (applying this
three-part test when evaluating a motion for reconsideration
under Rule 54(b)).
argues that it was clear error for the court to enter summary
judgment for the Supervisory Defendants. (ECF No. 186, at 7).
He first asserts that the court overlooked evidence that he
was assaulted twice in 2009. (Id. at 4). The court
considered both of the alleged 2009 assaults, but found these
incidents to be isolated in relation to the 2011 assault.
(ECF No. 183, at 3-5, 28). These alleged assaults would not
have given the Supervisory Defendants actual or constructive
knowledge that Plaintiff was at risk of a constitutional
violation sixteen months later.
also avers he produced evidence that the Supervisory
Defendants were aware of assaults by the nonsupervisory
Defendants on other inmates between October 2009 and his 2011
assault. Although Plaintiff produced testimony from himself,
David Ebb, and Shabazz Watkins that suggested there may have
been assaults on other inmates during this period, none of
this testimony suggests that the Supervisory Defendants were
aware of these alleged assaults. Plaintiff explicitly stated
that he did not file any grievances about these assaults -
grievances that would have provided notification to the
Supervisory Defendants - but instead wrote letters to public
officials about the incidents. (ECF No. 163-1, at 13). The
testimony from the other two inmates makes no mention at all
of filing grievances or any other manner of notification to
the Supervisory Defendants. While the testimony Plaintiff
points to might create a dispute of fact over whether such
assaults occurred, it does not create a dispute of fact over
whether the Supervisory Defendants knew or should have known
that Plaintiff was at risk in February 2011. Plaintiff
therefore has failed to show clear error.
reply brief, Plaintiff adds the argument that the
Petitioner's Lodging in Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct.
1850 (2016), which Defendants attached to their motion for
interlocutory appeal, constitutes new evidence showing that
Supervisory Defendants had notice that Housing Unit 5 staff
were physically abusing inmates. (ECF No. 198, at 6-7). It is
unclear whether the documents in the lodging or the evidence
therein were previously available to ...