United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MARK GORE, No. 94167, Plaintiff,
CORE CIVIC INC., et al., Defendants.
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Order and accompanying Memorandum entered on August 11, 2017,
the Court granted the Plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis, dismissed the Plaintiff's
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Jane
Doe and f/n/u Andrews, and directed process to issue on the
Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Defendants Core
Civic, f/n/u Rychen, Darrell Jones, f/n/u Hebron, f/n/u
Carter, and f/n/u Sowers. (Doc. Nos. 4 and 5). Subsequently,
the Plaintiff filed a motion to amend or alter judgment (Doc.
No. 7) in which he asks the Court to alter or amend its
decision to dismiss the Plaintiff's claims against
Defendants Doe and Andrews and “permit [the Plaintiff]
to amend his complaint to include more specific allegations
against Defs. Jane Doe and Andrews . . . .”
(Id. at 11-12).
to alter or amend judgment may be granted if there is a clear
error of law, newly discovered evidence, an intervening
change in controlling law, or to prevent manifest injustice.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428
F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005). Motions to alter or
amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days after
the entry of judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Here, the
Plaintiff's motion to alter or amend was timely filed.
regard to the Court's prior decision to dismiss nurse
Jane Doe, the Court found that the Plaintiff's claim
against Doe had been filed outside of the governing statute
of limitations period for § 1983 claims. (Doc. No. 4 at
5). In his motion to alter or amend, the Plaintiff concedes
that he filed his complaint over one year after the incident
giving rise to his claim occurred. (Doc. No. 7 at 7).
However, the Plaintiff points out that, in order to exhaust
his administrative remedies before filing claims against Doe,
he had to wait until he received a response to his inmate
grievance concerning the incident. (Id. at 8). The
Plaintiff contends that, because he received that response on
September 2, 2016, and filed this action on July 21, 2017, he
filed this action within the governing statute of limitations
period as tolled by the required exhaustion of his
administrative remedies. (Id. at 8-9).
Prison Litigation Reform Act provides that “[n]o action
shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under
section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a
prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional
facility until such administrative remedies as are available
are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) (1999). This
language unambiguously requires exhaustion as a mandatory
threshold requirement in prison litigation. Prisoners
therefore are prevented from bringing suit in federal court
for the period of time required to exhaust “such
administrative remedies as are available.” Id.
For this reason, the statute of limitations applicable to the
Plaintiff's civil rights claims against Doe was tolled
for the period during which the Plaintiff's available
state remedies were being exhausted. See Brown v.
Morgan, 209 F.3d 355, 356 (6th Cir. 2000).
The Court therefore finds that these circumstances, which
were unknown to the Court previously, warrant an alteration
or amendment of the Court's prior Order and Memorandum
with regard to Defendant Doe pursuant to Rule 59. Therefore,
the Plaintiff's motion to alter or amend (Doc. No. 6)
will be granted insofar as the Court's dismissal of the
Plaintiff's claim against Doe based on statute of
limitations grounds will be vacated.
with regard to the Court's prior decision to dismiss
Defendant Andrews, the Court found that the allegations of
the complaint do not support a claim of deliberate
indifference to the Plaintiff's serious medical needs by
Andrews because the complaint alleges only that Andrews
informed the Plaintiff of Core Civic's policy not to
honor bottom bunk passes issued by other facilities. (Doc.
No. 4 at 7). In his motion to alter or amend judgment, the
Plaintiff emphasizes that Andrews is the “lone
promulgator” of Core Civic's custom, practice, and
policy of disregarding bottom bunk passes issued by other
facilities. (Doc. No. 7 at 10). The Plaintiff alleges that
“Andrews is promoting a blanket deliberate indifference
to MDF/Core Civic's received inmates who arrive from the
Contracing Agency, Davidson County Sheriff's Office
(DCSO), as it must be assumed that DCSO does not issue bottom
bunk passes for insignificant medical conditions.”
(Id.) In light of these allegations, and
particularly considering that the Court previously determined
that the complaint's allegations against Core Civic state
an Eighth Amendment claim, the Court is persuaded that the
Plaintiff's motion to alter or amend should be granted to
prevent injustice. (Doc. No. 4 at 9). Consequently, the Court
finds that it is appropriate to vacate the Court's prior
dismissal of the Plaintiff's claim against Andrews.
granted the Plaintiff's motion to alter or amend
judgment, the Court moves to the Plaintiff's request to
file an amended complaint “to include more specific
allegations” demonstrating deliberate indifference
towards the Plaintiff's serious medical needs by
Defendants Doe and Andrews. (Doc. No. 7 at 12). In deciding
whether to grant a motion to amend, courts should consider
undue delay in filing, lack of notice to the opposing party,
bad faith by the moving party, repeated failure to cure
deficiencies by previous amendments, undue prejudice to the
opposing party, and futility of amendment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a); Brumbalough v. Camelot Care Ctrs., Inc., 427
F.3d 996, 1001 (6th Cir. 2005). The Court finds that, after
considering these factors, allowing an amendment would cause
little or no prejudice to the Defendants at this stage of the
proceedings, there is no evidence of bad faith on the part of
the Plaintiff, and the Plaintiff should be permitted to amend
his complaint for the purpose of alleging deliberate
indifference on the part of Defendants Doe and Andrews,
particularly considering that, in his original complaint, the
Plaintiff generally alleged that “all Defendants”
acted with deliberate indifference to the Plaintiffs serious
medical needs. (Doc. No. 1 at 7).
the Plaintiffs motion to alter or amend (Doc. No. 7) is
hereby GRANTED. The Court's August 11,
2017 dismissal of the Plaintiffs § 1983 claim against
Jane Doe based on statute of limitations grounds is hereby
VACATED, as is the Court's dismissal of
the Plaintiffs § 1983 claim against Defendant f/n/u
Andrews based on failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.
Plaintiff is hereby GRANTED leave to file an
amended complaint regarding his § 1983 claims against
Defendants Jane Doe and Andrews. The Plaintiffs amended
complaint must be filed within 14 days of receiving this