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Davis v. Williamson

January 20, 2009

RAHEEM DAVIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN WILLIAMSON, ET. AL, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

This matter is before the Court upon two motions for reconsideration filed by plaintiff Raheem Davis.*fn1 (Docs. 17, 19.) For the reasons set forth below, both motions will be denied. This matter is also before the Court for screening of Davis's amended complaint. (Doc. 14.) For the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Davis, an inmate currently incarcerated at the Lewisburg United States Penitentiary ("USP-Lewisburg"), commenced this pro se Bivens action with the filing of a complaint on November 6, 2008. (Doc. 1.) Davis also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 7) and a motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 6). Davis's complaint asserted claims of violation of procedural and substantive due process, denial of access to the courts, deprivation of property, retaliation, use of excessive force, unconstitutional use of restraints, and cruel and unusual conditions of confinement. Named as defendants were Warden Williamson, Lieutenant Flemmings, and Lieutenant Hooper.

By order of December 1, 2008 order (Doc. 12), the Court granted Davis's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, denied his motion for appointment of counsel, and screened his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court initially noted that all of Davis's claims would be dismissed because his complaint made clear that he had not exhausted his administrative remedies. (Id. at 7-10.) Next, the Court dismissed with prejudice Davis's claims against the defendants in their official capacities on the ground of sovereign immunity. (Id. at 10-11.) Next, the Court dismissed Davis's claims against Williamson for failure to allege this defendant's personal involvement in any constitutional violation. (Id. at 12.) The Court also dismissed with prejudice Davis's claims regarding procedural and substantive due process, deprivation of property, retaliation, use of excessive force, use of restraints, and cruel and unusual conditions of confinement for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Id. at 12-15, 18-25.) Finally, the Court dismissed without prejudice Davis's claim regarding denial of access to the courts and granted Davis thirty days in which to file an amended complaint as to this claim. (Id. at 16-18, 29.)

Before a copy of the Court's December 1, 2008 could reach Davis, he submitted another motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 13) and an amended complaint (Doc. 14), which re-asserted many of the claims from his original complaint that had already been dismissed. By orders of December 5, 2008, the Court again denied Davis's request for counsel (Doc. 15) and dismissed Davis's amended complaint without prejudice and with instructions that Davis should file an amended complaint in accordance with the Court's December 1, 2008 order (Doc. 16).

On December 9, 2008, Davis filed a "Memorandum and Opposition of Judge John E. Jones III Memorandum and Order" (Doc. 17), which seeks reconsideration of the Court's December 1, 2008 order screening his original complaint.

On December 23, 2008, Davis filed a letter with the Court again asking the Court to reconsider its December 1, 2008 order. (Doc. 18.) Davis also indicated that, rather than comply with that order and the order of December 5, 2008, both of which instructed him to file an amended complaint, he intends to stand on his already-filed amended complaint (Doc. 14). Finally, Davis also indicated that he was still moving through the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") administrative remedy process.

On January 6, 2008, Davis filed another letter with the Court (Doc. 19) generally complaining of difficulties in litigating this action from prison and asking the Court to reconsider its order denying his request for appointment of counsel.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motions for Reconsideration

The Court will first address Davis's motions for reconsideration of the December 1, 2008 order screening his original complaint and denying his motion for counsel. The purpose of a motion for reconsideration "is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Max's Seafood Café v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (quoting Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1171 (1986)). Such a motion may be granted only if the party seeking reconsideration shows at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Id. (citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reins. Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). "Reconsideration of judgment is an extraordinary remedy; therefore, such motions are to be granted sparingly." D'Angio v. Borough of Nescopeck, 56 F. Supp. 2d 502, 504 (M.D. Pa. 1999). "A motion for reconsideration is not to be used as a means to reargue matters already argued and disposed of or as an attempt to relitigate a point of disagreement between the Court and the litigant." Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F. Supp.2d 588, 606 (M.D. Pa. 2002).

Davis's motions for reconsideration do not present any change in the controlling law, new evidence, or clear error, and therefore, will be denied. Nevertheless, the Court will briefly address the arguments raised in the motions.

Davis first notes that his pro se submissions should be liberally construed and generally argues that there is no heightened pleading standard for civil rights claims. Davis's original complaint was screened under the appropriate liberal pleading ...


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