United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is Master Sergeant Reginald Robinson and Lieutenant
Andrew Cupil's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc.
101) of the Court's Ruling and Order (Doc. 90)
granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff Layne
Aucoin's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Doc. 83). For
the reasons that follow, the Motion (Doc.
101) is GRANTED.
case turns on the application of Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477 (1994), to the excessive-force claims of a
prisoner who insists guards restrained and then beat him for
no reason. Again, he maintains he did nothing wrong. But his
prison disciplinary convictions suggest otherwise. Because
success on his claims would necessarily imply the invalidity
of his convictions, Heck bars his claims.
precludes a plaintiff from "recovering] damages for
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for
other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render
a conviction invalid," unless he "prove[s] that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus." Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-487. The
doctrine applies to prison disciplinary convictions.
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646-48 (1997). It
does not, however, apply to "a prisoner's challenge
that threatens no consequence for his [underlying] conviction
or the duration of his sentence." Muhammad v.
Close, 540 U.S. 749, 751 (2004) (per curiam).
Layne Aucoin is an inmate who was incarcerated at Dixon
Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana. (Doc. 13).
Master Sergeant Robinson and Lieutenant Cupil are guards at
Dixon Correctional Institute. (Id.). Aucoin sued
them under Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315 and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for using excessive force against him.
(Id.). He alleges, in particular, that they sprayed
him with mace and then kicked and punched him after he was
morning of trial, Defendants invoked Heck and moved
for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(c). (Doc. 78). Defendants contended that
Aucoin's claims were Hec/e-barred because Aucoin received
disciplinary convictions for his role in the incident giving
rise to this lawsuit. (Doc. 78-1 at p. 1-8). Defendants
stressed that success on Aucoin's claims would
"necessarily imply the invalidity" of his
disciplinary convictions. (Id. at p. 4). The Court
agreed and entered judgment against Aucoin. (Doc. 81).
Aucoin moved to alter or amend the judgment. (Doc. 83-2 at
pp. 1- 14). He contended Heck did not apply because
he did not seek restoration of the good-time credits he lost
as a result of his disciplinary convictions. (Id.).
The Court found the contention meritless but granted the
motion, in part, based on new authority not cited by either
party. (Doc. 90 at p. 4) (citing Bourne v. Gunnels,
921 F.3d 484 (5th Cir. 2019)).
Ruling and Order, the Court found that Aucoin alleged two
distinct claims of excessive force: one arising from the use
of mace and another arising from the use of force
post-restraint. (Doc. 90 at pp. 1-7). Citing Bourne,
the Court held that the former claim was Heck-barred but the
latter was not. (Id.). The Court thus reinstated the
latter claim. (Id.).
Defendants move for reconsideration. (Doc. 101). They contend
that Bourne is distinguishable and that Aucoin's
trial testimony reflects one Heck-barred
excessive-force claim deriving from one continuous encounter.
(Doc. 101-1 at pp. 1-9). For the first time, Defendants
direct the Court to authority establishing that Heck
mandates dismissal because Aucoin testified that he is
innocent of the conduct forming the basis of his convictions.
(Id. at p. 4 n.12). Aucoin filed a two-page
opposition; he cites no authority apart from Heck,
and he addresses none of Defendants' arguments. (Doc. 102
at pp. 1-2). Instead, he declares that "[t]he
prejudicial nature of the Heck rulings in this case
should be reviewed by the Fifth Circuit and the Rulings at
issue should be certified for appeal." (Id. at
Court may reconsider its rulings on an interlocutory order
for "any reason it deems sufficient, even in the absence
of new evidence or an intervening change in or clarification
of the substantive law." Saqui v. Pride Cent.
America, LLC, 595 F.3d 206, 210-211 (5th Cir. 2010)
(citation omitted). The Court's Ruling and Order on
Aucoin's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment is an
interlocutory order because it did not adjudicate all claims
or decide the rights and liabilities of all parties. FED. R.
CIV. P. 54(b). Accordingly, the Court is free to reconsider
the Ruling and Order for "any reason it deems
sufficient." Saqui, 595 F.3d at 210.
contend the Court should reconsider its application of
Bourne and find that all of Aucoin's claims are
Heck-bamed. (Doc. 101). Defendants contend
Bourne is distinguishable because the plaintiff
admitted engaging in the conduct ...