United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robinson has filed at least one notice of appeal concerning
the denial of a preliminary injunction and possibly other
issues. (ECF Nos. 60 and 62). The appeals remain pending,
although the Fourth Circuit has cautioned him that some
material is overdue. ECF No. 69. It is not entirely clear,
because of the sequence of events, whether he has appealed
from the granting of summary judgment.
this court's March 12, 2019 entry of judgment (ECF Nos.
58 and 59), Mr. Robinson filed two motions: (1) for leave to
amend complaint on March 22, 2019. (ECF No. 65) and (2) a
“motion to alter or amend the judgment” on March
28, 2019, requesting additional time to prepare a motion for
reconsideration pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). (ECF No. 67).
an appeal divests a trial court of jurisdiction over any
aspect of the case involved in the appeal. If Mr. Robinson
only appealed the denial of a preliminary injunction, then
the court may still have jurisdiction over the more recently
filed motions. Even if he has appealed the final judgment,
the court may retain jurisdiction over matters “in aid
of the appeal.” Corsair Special Situations Fund, LP
v. Engineered Framing Sys., Inc., 2009 WL10682046 *4
(D.Md. April 16, 2009) (citing Fobian v. Storage Tech.
Corp., 164 F.3d 887, 890 (4th Cir. 1999). Finally, the
filing of a Rule 59 motion may extend the time for filing a
notice of appeal from the final judgment. Fed.R.App.
4(a)(4)(iv). In any event, this court may adjudicate the
court may not grant an extension to file a Rule 59(e) motion,
see Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(2). While the motion was titled and
docketed as one to alter/amend, the only basis stated is that
there is a genuine dispute of material facts. Mr. Robinson
seeks additional time to supply the Memorandum of Law and
exhibits. He is reminded that a motion to alter or amend
governed by Fed. Rule of Civ. Proc. 59(e) “need not be
granted unless the district court finds that there has been
an intervening change of controlling law, that new evidence
has become available, or that there is a need to correct a
clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”
Robinson v. Wix Filtration Corp. LLC, 599 F.3d 403,
411 (4th Cir. 2010). “Mere disagreement does not
support a Rule 59(e) motion.” Hutchinson v.
Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1082 (4th Cir. 1993). The rule
permits a district court to correct its own errors,
"sparing the parties and the appellate courts the burden
of unnecessary appellate proceedings." Russell v.
Delco Remy Div. of Gen. Motors Corp., 51 F.3d 746, 749
(7th Cir. 1995).
59(e) motions may not be used to raise arguments which could
have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment, nor
may they be used to argue a case under a novel legal theory
that the party had the ability to address in the first
instance. See Russell, 51 F.3d at 749; Concordia
College Corp. v. W.R. Grace & Co., 999 F.2d 326, 330
(8th Cir. 1993); FDIC v. World Univ., Inc., 978 F.2d
10, 16 (1st Cir. 1992); Simon v. United States, 891
F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th Cir. 1990); see also In re:
Reese, 91 F.3d 37, 39 (7th Cir. 1996) ("A motion
under Rule 59(e) is not authorized 'to enable a party to
complete presenting his case after the court has ruled
against him.' ") (quoting Frietsch v. Refco,
Inc., 56 F.3d 825, 828 (7th Cir. 1995)); 11 Wright et
al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1, at 127-28
(2d ed. 1995) ("The Rule 59(e) motion may not be used to
relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present
evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of
judgment."). Similarly, if a party relies on newly
discovered evidence in its Rule 59(e) motion, the party
"must produce a 'legitimate justification for not
presenting' the evidence during the earlier
proceeding." Small v. Hunt, 98 F.3d 789, 798
(4th Cir. 1996) (quoting RGI, Inc. v. Unified Indus.,
Inc., 963 F.2d 658, 662 (4th Cir. 1992)). Generally,
“reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.”
Pacific Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat. Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d
396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (citing 11 Wright et al., Federal
Practice and Procedure § 2810.1, at 124 (2d ed. 1995)).
Mr. Robinson will be granted a brief extension to supplement
his motion to alter or amend.
Robinson has also filed an additional request for time to
amend his Complaint to include new defendants whom he
believes “had conspired against him & wanted to get
him thrown into lock-up and maced and killed in order to shut
him up” (ECF No. 65 at 2, ¶ 10). A “district
court may not grant” a post-judgment motion to amend a
complaint “unless the judgment is vacated pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 59(e) or 60(b).” Laber v.
Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 427 (4th Cir. 2006). “[A]
court should evaluate a post-judgment motion to amend the
complaint ‘under the same legal standard as a similar
motion filed before judgment was entered-for prejudice, bad
faith, or futility.'” Katyle v. Penn Nat.
Gaming, Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 471 (4th Cir. 2011) (citing
Laber, 438 F.3d at 427). “Futility is apparent
if the proposed amended complaint fails to state a claim
under the applicable rules and accompanying standards:
‘[A] district court may deny leave if amending the
complaint would be futile-that is, if the proposed amended
complaint fails to satisfy the requirements of the federal
rules.'” Katyle, 637 F.3d at 470 (quoting
United States ex rel. Wilson v. Kellogg Brown & Root,
Inc., 525 F.3d 370, 376 (4th Cir. 2008)).
Laber court went on to add that delay alone
ordinarily will not be sufficient to deny a motion to amend
with the caveat that the further the case progresses, the
more likely it is that the amendment will prejudice the
opposing side or will help support a finding of bad
faith.” Strickland v. Jewell, 562 F.Supp.2d
661, 668 (M.D. N.C. 2007). There is no evidence adduced here
that Mr. Robinson was targeted for retaliatory purposes based
on his requests for medical care. As such, an attempt to
amend the Complaint after the conclusion of the case based on
a mere belief that retaliation may occur is at best futile
and may ultimately be found to have been made in bad faith.
In any event, it is premature to consider any request to
amend and the motion will be denied without prejudice.
it is this 24th day of April 2019, by the United
States District Court for the District of Maryland, hereby
Plaintiff's motion for time to supplement his motion to
alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e)
(ECF No. 67) BE, and the same hereby IS, GRANTED, and any
supplement is due no later than May 12, 2019;
Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend (ECF No. 65) BE,
and the same hereby IS, DENIED without prejudice; and
Clerk IS DIRECTED to mail a copy of this Order to Plaintiff
and to ...