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Garrett v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

November 21, 2019

KENYON J. GARRETT
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

          KAREN L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is a Motion to Amend Judgment: FRCP 59 and FRCP 60 (“Motion to Amend”) [Doc. No. 127] filed by Plaintiff Kenyon J. Garrett (“Garrett”).

         Garrett brought this action, pro se, after the death of his father, Clarence Garrett. He contends that his father received substandard medical care while being treated at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center (“OBVAMC”) and that substandard care culminated in his father's premature death on August 28, 2015.

         On July 18, 2016, Garrett filed an administrative claim with the Department of Veteran Affairs (“VA”), alleging that medical malpractice by OBVAMC health care providers caused his father's death.

         After exhaustion of his administrative remedies, on June 6, 2016, Garrett brought suit against the United States of America, through the Department of Veteran Affairs and OBVAMC and individual Defendants Kenneth Booth, Larry G. Thirstrup, Robert Lukeman, Agmasie B. Woldie, Arvind Yekanath, Furqan Mahammad, and other known and unknown medical staff, alleging that they were responsible and liable for the death of his father. Garrett alleged that Defendants were responsible for abuse, negligence, false imprisonment, intimidation, and medical malpractice, which resulted in Clarence Garrett's psychological injury, emotional distress, and wrongful death. Garrett requested compensatory damages totaling $4 million.

         As a result of motion practice and stipulations, Garrett amended his complaint more than once to include additional claims, but eventually dismissed all Defendants except the United States.

         In November 2018, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, and the United States filed a related Motion to Strike. On February 19, 2019, the Court issued a Ruling and Judgment [Doc. Nos. 116 & 117], granting in part and denying part the United States' Motion to Strike, denying Garrett's Motion for Summary Judgment, and granting the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court dismissed the case with prejudice.

         On February 22, 2019, Garrett filed a Notice of Appeal [Doc. No. 118] to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

         On September 12, 2019, the Fifth Circuit issued an Opinion denying the appeal and affirming the Court's granting of summary judgment. On November 12, 2019, the Fifth Circuit denied Garrett's petition for rehearing.

         On November 19, 2019, Garrett filed the instant motion in this Court.

         On November 20, 2019, the Fifth Circuit denied Garrett's motion for stay of the mandate pending petition for writ of certiorari. [Doc. No. 128].

         Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59 and 60 apply to final judgments. Under Rule 59, a party may move to alter or amend a final judgment within twenty-eight (28) days of its entry. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) (“A motion to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment.”). That Rule clearly does not apply in this case as the motion was filed more than eight (8) months after entry of judgment.

         A party may also seek relief from judgment under Rule 60. “The 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). ...


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