United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion for a New Trial (Doc.
115) filed by Plaintiff, Eric McCall. Plaintiff
requests that the Court reconsider its prior order,
dismissing his claims with prejudice for repeated failure to
abide by the Court's orders. (See Doc. 114). For
the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.
Eric McCall, brought this action pro se alleging that on July
15, 2014, Troy Poret and William Butler sprayed him with
pepper spray in retaliation for filing a lawsuit and
administrative complaints. (Doc. 93 at pp. 1-2). On March 2,
2018, the Court empaneled a jury a began trial. (Doc. 116).
The Court dismissed Plaintiffs claims for failure to
prosecute, and failure to abide by the Court's orders, as
detailed in the Court's previous Ruling and Order. (Doc.
114). Specifically, Plaintiff yelled, cursed at the Court and
jury, and threatened to kill everyone in the courtroom.
(Id. at at p. 2).
Plaintiffs styles his motion as a "motion for a new
trial," the Court dismissed his action for failure to
prosecute. The jury never reached a verdict, and therefore,
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a)(1) is not applicable.
In essence, Plaintiff asks the Court to reconsider its order
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly recognize a
motion for reconsideration. Bass v. U.S. Dep't of
Agric, 211 F.3d 959, 962 (5th Cir. 2000). However, the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has
consistently recognized that such a motion may challenge a
judgment or order under Rules 54(b), 59(e), or 60(b) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See, e.g., U.S. ex rel.
Spicer v. Westbrook, 751 F.3d 354, 367 (5th Cir. 2014)
(reviewing an appeal of a motion for reconsideration under
Rule 59(e)); Iturralde u. Shaw Grp., Inc., 512
Fed.Appx. 430, 432 (5th Cir. 2013) (reviewing an appeal of a
motion for reconsideration under Rule 54(b)); United
States v. William, 124 F.3d 192 (5th Cir. 1997)
(reviewing an appeal of a motion for reconsideration under
Rule 60(b)). Because Plaintiff is a pro-se litigant, the
Court will construe his filing as broadly as
Rule 59(e) motion 'calls into question the correctness of
a judgment."' Templet v. HydroChem Inc.,
367 F.3d 473, 478 (5th Cir. 2004) (In re Transtexas Gas
Corp., 303 F.3d 571, 581 (5th Cir. 2002)). "A Rule
59(e) motion must clearly establish either a manifest error
of law or fact or must present newly discovered
evidence" and cannot be used to "raise arguments
that could, and should, have been made before the judgment
issued." Advocare Int'l LP v. Horizon Labs.,
Inc., 524 F.3d 679, 691 (5th Cir. 2008).
"A'manifest error' is not demonstrated by the
disappointment of the losing party. It is the 'wholesale
disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize
controlling precedent.'" Shaw v. Broadcast.com,
Inc., No. 98-cv-2017-P, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34553, at
*5 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 20, 2005) (quoting Oto v. Metro. Life
Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000)); cf.
Guy v. Crown Equip. Corp., 394 F.3d 320, 325 (5th Cir.
2004) (defining "manifest error" in the appellate
review context as "one that is plain and indisputable,
and that amounts to a complete disregard of the controlling
have significant discretion in deciding whether to grant a
motion to reconsider under Rule 59(e). Templet, 367
F.3d at 479. Nevertheless, granting a motion for
reconsideration is "an extraordinary remedy that should
be used sparingly." Id. Thus, in determining
whether to grant a motion to reconsider, courts must balance
"the need to bring litigation to an end" and
"the need to render just decisions on the basis of all
the facts." Id.
purpose of Rule 60(b) is to balance the principle of finality
of a judgment with the interest of the court in seeing that
justice is done in light of all the facts." Hesling
v. CSX Transp., Inc., 396 F.3d 632, 638 (5th Cir. 2005)
(citing Seven Elves, Inc. v. Eskenazi, 635 F.2d 396,
401 (5th Cir. Unit A Jan. 1981)). Similar to the standard
under Rule 59(e), "the decision to grant or deny relief
under Rule 60(b) lies within the sound discretion of the
district court and will be reversed only for abuse of that
discretion." Id. (quoting Edwards v. City
of Houston, 78 F.3d 983, 995 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc))
(internal citations omitted). A district court may grant
relief under Rule 60(b) for one of six reasons listed
therein: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) fraud,
misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) a
void judgment; (5) a satisfied, released, or discharged
judgment; or (6) any other reason that justifies relief.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). The Fifth Circuit has instructed that
relief under Rule 60(b)(6) "is mutually exclusive from
relief available under sections (1)-(5)."
Hesling, 396 F.3d at 642 (citing Transit Cas.
Co. v. Sec. Trust Co., 441 F.2d 788, 792 (5th Cir.
1971)). Furthermore, relief under Rule 60(b)(6) is only
warranted when "extraordinary circumstances are
present." Id. (quoting Am. Totalisator Co.,
Inc. v. Fair Grounds Corp., 3 F.3d 810, 815 (5th Cir.
1993)) (internal citation omitted).
claims that he was unable to move forward with his case
"due to his mental state and condition," and that
the Court "was aware of those condition[s] and let
Plaintiff move forward without counsel." (Doc. 115 at
pp. 1-2). Further, he argues that the Court erred by
rejecting his earlier request for counsel. (Id. at
p. 2). Plaintiff therefore requests that the Court declare a
mistrial and allow him to proceed with a new trial.
(Id.). Plaintiff also apologizes for yelling
profanities and death threats in the courtroom during trial.
(Id.). In support of his motion, Plaintiff attaches
a psychiatric report from 2010, which he claims shows he was
incapable of prosecuting his claims without the assistance of
counsel. (Doc. 115-1).
the Court appreciates and accepts Plaintiffs apology for the
disturbance he caused during his trial, the Court will not
vacate its previous order dismissing the action. Under Rule
59(e), Plaintiff needs to establish either a manifest error
of law or fact or present the court with newly discovered
evidence. Advocare, 524 F.3d at 691. He cannot
"raise arguments that could, and should, have been made
before the judgment issued." Id.. The
Court's authority to dismiss Plaintiffs case due to a
failure to prosecute is well supported, see, e.g., McNeal
v. Papasan, 842 F.2d 787, 790 (5th Cir. 1988), and
therefore Plaintiff has not demonstrated a "manifest
error of law." See Advocare, 524 F.3d at 691.
The psychiatric report is not new evidence. The report was
produced in 2010, and Defendant had the opportunity to
present it with his first motion to appoint counsel (Doc.
70), which the Magistrate Judge denied (Doc. 73). Although
the assessment states that Plaintiff has a personality
"characterized by risk-taking and impulsivity" and
that his concentration and attention are somewhat limited
(Doc. 115-1 at pp. 1-2), nothing in the report leads to the
ultimate conclusion that Plaintiff was unable to litigate his
case. At the pretrial conference with the Court, Plaintiff
never claimed that he would be unable to represent himself.
To the contrary, Plaintiff stated that he had participated in
a previous civil trial, McCall v. Stead, No.
14-cv-2012 (M.D. La. 2017), and that this experience would
enable him to effectively represent himself in this
case-although he was represented by counsel in the previous
case. Plaintiff indicated that he was ready and able to
proceed to trial, and that he would be willing to follow the
none of the enumerated reasons for granting a motion under
Rule 60(b) applies to this case. Only the catch-all
provision, "any other reason that justifies relief could
potentially apply. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6). This "grand
reservoir of equitable power" allows the Court "to
vacate judgments whenever such action is appropriate to
accomplish justice." Hesling, 396 F.3d at 642
(quoting Harrell v. DCS Equip. Leasing Corp., 951
F.2d 1453m 1458 (5th Cir. 1992). However, it should only be
used when "extraordinary circumstances are
present." Id. The Court finds that relief from
the judgment is not necessary to accomplish justice and that
extraordinary circumstances are not present. Plaintiffs own