United States District Court, D. Maryland
January 18, 2017, I dismissed Randy Davis's Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus on statute of limitations grounds,
reasoning that “[t]he filing was untimely, and David
ha[d] not presented facts sufficient to support equitable
tolling of the limitations period.” Mem. 5, ECF No. 8;
Order, ECF No. 9. Notably, I had ordered Respondents to
answer the Petition and directed Davis to file any reply
within thirty days after service of their answer, ECF No. 3;
Respondents filed their answer on October 27, 2016, arguing
that the statute of limitations barred the Petition, ECF No.
7; and as of January 18, 2017, when I issued my Memorandum
and Order, Davis had not filed a reply.
promptly appealed the Order, ECF No. 10, and filed a letter
with this Court on February 7, 2017, ten days later, ECF No.
13, which I stated that I would not address while the appeal
was pending, ECF No. 14. I have received notice that the
Court of Appeals has denied a certificate of appealability
and dismissed the appeal. ECF No. 15. I now will consider
Davis's correspondence from February 7, 2017.
contends that he has “done everything to exercise due
diligence in preserving [his] legal rights, ” while
“wrongful conduct by the State contributed … to
the delay in getting a hearing for this Federal habeas corpus
petition, ” and on this basis he now argues for
equitable tolling. Pet'r's Mot. 1, 3. He asserts
that, in a civil rights action and a previous habeas petition
that he filed in this Court, Case Nos. RWT-11-944 and
PWG-16-1347, he was directed to exhaust his post-conviction
remedies in State court before seeking relief in this Court,
but then once he exhausted those remedies, he filed this
Petition, only to learn that the time for doing so had
passed. Id. at 2.
correspondence, filed within twenty-eight days of the order
denying the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, appears to be
a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend a
judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); MLC
Auto., LLC v. Town of So. Pines, 532 F.3d 269, 277-80
(4th Cir. 2008); Knott v. Wedgwood, No. DKC-13-2486,
2014 WL 4660811, at *2 (D. Md. Sept. 11, 2014) (stating that
a motion to alter or amend judgment that “call[s] into
question the correctness of that order” and is filed
within twenty-eight days of the judgment is analyzed under
Rule 59(e)). “A Rule 59(e) motion may only be granted
in three situations: ‘(1) to accommodate an intervening
change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence
not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of
law or prevent manifest injustice.” Mayfield v.
Nat'l Ass'n for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., 674
F.3d 369, 378 (4th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted);
Melendez v. Sebelius, ___F. App'x ___, 2015 WL
2343797, at *2 (4th Cir. 2015) (same). Rule 59(e) provides a
district court with discretion to grant a motion to amend a
judgment “only in very narrow circumstances.”
Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002).
does not identify any changes in controlling law, new
evidence, or error of law. Moreover, it is not unjust to deny
a motion for reconsideration that simply makes an argument
that could have been, but was not, presented earlier, when
the petitioner had the opportunity to respond to
Respondents' statute of limitations argument. And, in any
event, Davis has not shown how the State's actions
prevented him from timely filing his federal habeas petition,
especially considering that the statute of limitations was
tolled while his state court petitions for post-conviction
relief or collateral review were pending, see 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). Accordingly, the Rule 59(e) motion
informal, this is an Order of the Court and shall be docketed
W. Grimm United States District Judge.
 Indeed, insofar as the correspondence
is a motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e), Davis's
appeal did not divest this Court of jurisdiction to consider
the motion. Rather, if a party files a timely Rule 59 motion,
as he did, “the time to file an appeal runs for all
parties from the entry of the order disposing of the last
such remaining motion.” Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(A).
And, “[i]f a party files a notice of appeal after the
court announces or enters a judgment--but before it disposes
of any motion listed in Rule 4(a)(4)(A), ” then
“the notice [of appeal] becomes effective to appeal a
judgment or order, in whole or in part, when the order
disposing of the last such remaining motion is
entered.” Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(B)(i). The result is
the same regardless of the sequence of the notice of appeal
and the Rule 59 motion, provided that the motion is timely.
See Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S.
56, 61 (1982). In Griggs, the Supreme Court noted
that “[i]n 1979, the Rules were amended to clarify both
the litigants' timetable and the courts' respective
jurisdictions.” Id. at 59. ...