United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
A. Varlan Chief United States District Judge
civil matter is before the Court on pro se
plaintiff's motion for reconsideration [Doc. 88], to
which defendants responded [Doc. 90], as well as
plaintiff's motion to correct the record [Doc. 89], and
motion for a hearing [Doc. 95]. Also before the Court is
defendants motion for summary judgment [Doc. 91], to which
plaintiff responded [Doc. 94]. For the reasons discussed
herein the Court will deny plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration, grant plaintiff's motion to correct the
record, and grant defendants' motion for summary
case arises from law enforcement's decision to arrest and
detail plaintiff on suspicion of domestic violence [Doc. 50].
Plaintiff's Arrest and First Lawsuit
to the complaint, plaintiff contacted the Morgan County
Sheriff's Department on October 31, 2009, with concern
over the safety and location of his wife [Id. at 3].
Deputies Larry Lawson and Rick Hamby
(“defendants”) responded [Id.]. While
they were in route, they submit that plaintiff's wife
placed a 911 call in which she accused plaintiff of
“push[ing] her down and grab[bing] her wrist”
[Doc. 93-1]. Defendants further submit that plaintiff's
wife subsequently gave a signed statement, in which she
alleged “abuse-physical, verbal, mental” [Doc.
93-2]. Defendant Lawson further states that he observed
“bruises to [plaintiff's wife's] left arm as
defensive injuries” [Doc. 93-3]. Plaintiff was
arrested, but the criminal charges against him were dismissed
twelve days later [Id.].
filed suit against defendants, among others, in both their
individual and official capacities, on November 1, 2010.
Farivar v. Ledbetter, No. 3:10-cv-462, 2012 WL
2565040 (E.D. Tenn. July, 2, 2012) (“Farivar
I”). The complaint sought compensatory and
punitive damages for the violation of civil rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, as well as false imprisonment, false
arrest, and malicious prosecution under the Tennessee
Government Tort Liability Act (“TGTLA”), Tenn.
Code. Ann. § 29-10-101, et seq. [Farivar
I, Doc. 1]. Following the Court's dismissal on
summary judgment of plaintiff's claims against defendants
in their official capacities, the parties stipulated to a
dismissal without prejudice of the claims against defendants
in their individual capacities on February 28, 2013
[Farivar I, Doc. 50].
Plaintiff's Second Lawsuit
initiated the instant action, (Farivar II), on
February 28, 2014, with summons issued on March 3, 2014.
Plaintiff alleges the same claims in Farivar II that
he voluntarily dismissed in Farivar I. Nearly
sixteen months later, plaintiff had not served defendants,
and on July 2, 2015, the Court ordered plaintiff to show
cause as to why this case should not be dismissed for failure
to prosecute [Doc. 2]. Plaintiff subsequently sought an
extension of time to serve defendants [Doc. 3], and
Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton granted the motion [Doc. 5].
Plaintiff then subsequently served defendants on October 9,
2015 [Docs. 6, 7].
November 17, 2015, the Court issued a Scheduling Order in
this case, which provides in section 3(j) that in the event
of a discovery dispute, the parties should meet and confer to
attempt to resolve the issue [Doc. 18]. Should the parties be
unable to resolve the dispute, the Scheduling Order then
requires them to attempt to resolve the dispute by conference
with the magistrate judge [Id.]. The Scheduling
Order further provides that “[i]f and only if, the
parties' dispute is unresolved following the conference
with the Magistrate Judge, the parties may file appropriate
written motions with the Court” [Id.]. These
requirements have been explained to the parties in previous
orders [Docs. 31, 54].
August 4, 2016, plaintiff filed a Motion for Default Judgment
[Doc. 65] as a discovery sanction, arguing that such a
sanction was appropriate because he contended that defendants
had refused to participate in any discovery. Plaintiff did
not seek a conference with the magistrate judge to resolve
this issue prior to filing his motion, arguing that such a
conference was not required because the Court had previously
directed defendants to follow the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure [Doc. 54]. Because plaintiff failed to comply with
the Scheduling Order, and considering the drastic nature of a
default judgment as a discovery sanction, Magistrate Judge
Guyton denied plaintiff's motion [Doc. 76].
then filed a motion with the Court, seeking leave to take an
interlocutory appeal of the order issued by Judge Guyton
[Doc. 82]. Because Judge Guyton's order was issued
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), the Court found it
appropriate to construe plaintiff's motion as an
objection to Judge Guyton's order. Noting that plaintiff
had failed to comply with the mandates of the Scheduling
Order, and noting further the default judgment is a
“drastic step only appropriate in the most extreme of
cases, ” the Court denied plaintiff's appeal of
Judge Guyton's order [Doc. 86]. Furthermore, the Court
found that even in the event that it was to consider
plaintiff's motion as a request for certification for
interlocutory appeal, the Court would deny that request
subsequently filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration,
urging the Court to reconsider either granting him a default
judgment, or allowing him leave to take an interlocutory
appeal [Doc. 88]. Defendants then moved for summary judgment,
arguing that plaintiff's claims were barred by statute of
limitations, and also that defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity [Doc. 91].
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration
motion for reconsideration, plaintiff states that he is
moving pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b).
Pursuant to Rule 54(b) and the “inherent power”
that district courts possess, a court may reconsider
interlocutory orders or reopen portions of a case before a
final judgment is entered. See Johnson v. Dollar Gen.
Corp., No. 2:06-CV-173, 2007 WL 2746952, at *2 (E.D.
Tenn. Sept. 20, 2007) (citing Rodriguez v. Tenn. Laborers
Health & Welfare Fund, 89 F. App'x 949, 959 (6th
Cir. 2004); Mallory v. Eyrich, 922 F.2d 1273, 1282
(6th Cir. 1991)). This standard “vests significant
discretion in district courts.” Rodriguez, 89
F. App'x at 960 n.7. The Sixth Circuit has stated that a
district court's authority allows them to “afford
such relief from [interlocutory orders] as justice
requires.” Id. at 959 (citations ...