United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Lawrence Mills'
Rule 60(b)(6) Motion (ECF No. 30) and Rule 59(e)(3) Motion
(ECF No. 31). The Motions are ripe for disposition, and no
hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.
2018). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will deny
March 13, 2015, Defendant Senior Trooper Anthony Hassan
(“Hassan”) arrested Mills for Driving Under the
Influence of Alcohol (“DUI”), (Compl. ¶ 26,
ECF No. 1), as well as negligent driving, reckless driving,
failure to obey a properly placed traffic control device,
driving or attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol
(“DWI”), driving or attempting to drive a vehicle
not equipped with an ignition interlock, and failure to obey
designated lane directions, (Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Compl.
Altern. Summ. J. [“Defs.' Mot.”] Ex. 6
[“Court Records for Mar. 13, 2015 Stop”] at 2-4,
ECF No. 11-8). On June 30, 2015, Mills was convicted of DUI
in the District Court for Howard County,
Maryland. (Compl. ¶ 35). Mills was sentenced to
two years and sixty days in prison with all but sixty days
suspended. (Id.). Later that day, Mills posted bond
and immediately appealed his conviction. (Id. ¶
36). On February 19, 2016, a jury in the Circuit Court for
Howard County, Maryland found Mills guilty of negligent
driving and failure to obey lane directions but not guilty of
DUI, DWI, and the other minor traffic offenses. (Court
Records for Mar. 13, 2015 Stop at 2-4). He was fined $230.00.
(Id. at 3-4). On March 10, 2016, Mills was also
convicted of the ignition interlock offense, which had been
severed from the other charges in the Circuit Court trial,
and he was sentenced to one year in prison with all but
seventy-five days suspended. (Id. at 2-4).
February 23, 2018, Mills sued Hassan, Corporal James Lantz
(“Cpl. Lantz”), Trooper Matthew Dull (“Tpr.
Dull”),  the Maryland State Police
(“MSP”), and the State of Maryland, pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2018) for unlawful arrest, search, and
seizure in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
(ECF No. 1). Mills also asserted various state law claims,
including malicious prosecution. The Complaint generally
alleged that there was no probable cause for Mills'
arrest, and that Hassan fabricated evidence and committed
perjury to secure his conviction.
17, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alterative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 11).
Defendants argued, among other points, that Mills was
improperly challenging his convictions in violation of
Heck v. Humphryand that his conviction in Circuit Court
established probable cause as a matter of law. They further
argued that the probable cause finding was not negated by
Hassan's alleged falsehoods. On November 7, 2018, Mills
filed an Opposition, (ECF No. 24), and a Cross Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 23). In his Opposition,
Mills asserted that Heck did not preclude him from
asserting claims under § 1983, because Heck did
not require favorable termination-i.e., reversal on appeal-of
all convictions. He argued that the requirement was satisfied
where some of the convictions, here DUI and DWI, were not
upheld on appeal. Mills also argued that Hassan falsified his
police report and committed perjury at various proceedings,
thereby invalidating any subsequent findings that probable
cause existed for his arrest. Mills further argued that his
§ 1983 claims were viable because he was not only
deprived of his right to a fair trial but also subject to a
loss of liberty as a direct result of Hassan's
the motions were fully briefed,  this Court issued a
Memorandum Opinion and Order on September 30, 2019, granting
the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and denying Mills'
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as moot. (ECF Nos. 28,
29). The Court concluded that Mills' Fourth Amendment
claims for false arrest and unreasonable search and seizure
failed because “[u]nder Maryland law, a conviction
determines conclusively the existence of probable cause,
regardless of whether the judgment is later reversed in a
subsequent proceeding, ” unless the conviction was
secured through “fraud, perjury, or other corrupt
means.” (Sept. 30, 2019 Mem. Op. at 14, ECF No. 28)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). The Court found
that probable cause had been established because Mills was
convicted of three offenses on appeal: negligent driving,
failure to obey lane directions, and driving or attempting to
drive a vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock. The
jury's decision to acquit Mills of DUI and DWI on appeal
was inconsequential, because “Hassan had probable cause
to arrest based on Mills' negligent driving, failure to
obey lane directions, and driving without an interlock
device, ” thereby justifying Mills' arrest
“even if convictions stemming from the same arrest were
later overturned.” (Id. at 15-16).
Accordingly, Mills' § 1983 claim was barred by
Heck because, in challenging whether Hassan had
probable cause for his arrest, Mills was collaterally
attacking the conviction resulting from that arrest.
Mills' Fourteenth Amendment claims, the Court concluded
that Mills had failed to adequately plead facts establishing
a loss of liberty-i.e., conviction and
incarceration-resulting from fabricated evidence. Mills was
convicted of the ignition interlock offense in Howard County
District Court, sentenced to jail, and then released on bond
pending his appeal. However, the Court noted that Mills did
not allege that “Hassan fabricated this charge or that
his Ignition Interlock System was in place as required”
and commented that “Mills does not even mention the
Ignition Interlock charge in the Complaint.”
(Id. at 18). Having concluded that Mills failed to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted, the Court
did not reach Defendants' alternative arguments for
dismissal and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over Mills' state law claims.
October 9, 2019, Mills filed timely Rule 60(b)(6) and Rule
59(e)(3) Motions, seeking reconsideration of the Court's
September 30, 2019 Order dismissing his Complaint. (ECF Nos.
30, 31). Defendants filed an Opposition on October 22, 2019.
(ECF No. 32). Mills filed a Reply on October 29, 2019. (ECF
No. 33). Before this Court could rule on the merits of the
pending motions, Mills filed a Notice of Appeal on October
30, 2019. (ECF No. 34). The Court addresses both Motions in
Rule 59(e)(3) Motion
Standard of Review
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly
recognize motions for “reconsideration, ” Rule
59(e) authorizes a district court to alter or amend a prior
final judgment in three circumstances: “(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.” United States ex rel. Carter v.
Halliburton Co., 866 F.3d 199, 210 (4th Cir. 2017)
(citing Zinkand v. Brown, 478 F.3d 634, 637 (4th
Cir. 2007)); see also Katyle v. Penn Nat'l Gaming,
Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 470 n.4 (4th Cir. 2011). The United
States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that
Rule 59(e) may also be used to “correct manifest errors
of . . . fact upon which the judgment is based.”
Md. Elec. Indust. Health Fund v. Kodiak Util. Const.,
Inc., JFM-02-3662, 2004 WL 112722, at *1 (D.Md. Jan. 20,
2004) (quoting Small v. Hunt, 98 F.3d 789, 797
(1996)) (internal quotations omitted). The party seeking
post-judgment relief under Rule 59(e) must file the
appropriate motion within 28 days of the final judgment,
specifically identifying the basis for reconsideration.
Bolden v. McCabe, Weisberg & Conway, LLC, No.
DKC 13-1265, 2014 WL 994066, at *1 n.1 (D.Md. Mar. 13, 2014).
The court may properly deny the motion if a movant fails to
establish one of the criteria. See, e.g., Jarvis
v. Enter. Fleet Servs. & Leasing Co., No.
DKC-07-3385, 2010 WL 1929845, at *2 (D.Md. May 11, 2010),
aff'd, 408 Fed.Appx. 668 (4th Cir. 2011)
(denying motion to reconsider because the plaintiff failed to
identify valid circumstances that would cause the district
court to alter or amend its prior opinion). Furthermore,
“[a] motion for reconsideration is ‘not the
proper place to relitigate a case after the court has ruled
against a party, as mere disagreement with a court's
rulings will not support granting such a request.'”
Lynn v. Monarch Recovery Mgmt., Inc., 953 F.Supp.2d
612, 620 (D.Md. 2013) (quoting Sanders v. Prince
George's Pub. Sch. Sys., No. RWT 08CV501, 2011 WL
4443441, at *1 (D.Md. Sept. 21, 2011)). A Rule 59(e)
amendment is “an extraordinary remedy which should be
used sparingly.” Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l
Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998)
(internal quotations and citation omitted).