United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a pro se “Supplemental
Pleading” filed by Astin Hill, an inmate of the
Davidson County Sheriff's Office in Nashville, Tennessee.
(Doc. No. 7).
Order and accompanying Memorandum Opinion entered on July 22,
2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's application to
proceed in forma pauperis, screened Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, and found that the complaint failed to state
claims upon which relief can be granted under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Doc. Nos. 4 and 5). Consequently, the Court
dismissed this action (Doc. No. 5), and the Clerk entered
final judgment on the following day. (Doc. No. 6). That means
this case is no longer an active case and there are no
further issues for the Court to resolve in this case.
Plaintiff's “Supplemental Pleading, ” he
alleges facts that were not included in his complaint. (Doc.
No. 7). As a result, the Court construes the pleading as a
motion to amend the complaint. However, the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure do not permit a plaintiff to amend his
complaint after the dismissal of his action and the entry of
final judgment, which is the case here. The only way the
Court can consider Plaintiff's motion is to construe it
as motion seeking an amendment of the judgment pursuant to
Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or a
motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b).
provides that the court may grant a motion to alter or amend
a judgment 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); see
GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d
804, 834 (6th Cir.1999). A motion to alter or amend judgment
under Rule 59(e) must be filed no later than 28 days after
the entry of the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Therefore,
Plaintiff's motion, if construed as a Rule 59(e) motion,
was timely filed.
motion to amend, Plaintiff does not allege that there has
been an intervening change in controlling law that would
require the Court to revisit its previous analysis. Plaintiff
does not seek to amend his complaint to add claims based on
newly discovered evidence. However, Plaintiff does allege new
facts that he previously had not alleged: as a result of
having to sleep on the concrete floor in the stupid box for
eight hours, Plaintiff now has back pain and a toe fungus.
(Doc. No. 7 at 1).
Court previously dismissed Plaintiff's claims arising
from his overnight confinement in the stupid box at the
Davidson County Sheriff's Office because (1) Plaintiff
had not named an entity capable of being sued with respect to
those claims; and (2) even if he had named another defendant,
his claims still failed as a matter of law because the
conditions of his confinement did not rise to the level of an
Eighth Amendment violation in part because Plaintiff had
failed to allege any injury or harm resulting from the
alleged incident. (Doc. No. 4 at 3-6). Although Plaintiff now
alleges that he suffers from back pain and a toe fungus as a
result of his overnight stay in the stupid box, Plaintiff
still has not named a viable defendant to his cause of
action. Neither has he alleged that any defendant acted with
deliberate indifference with regard to the incident at issue.
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994);
Peterson v. County of Monroe, No. 12-CV-11460, 2014
WL 1328205, at *5 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 28, 2014) (dismissing
prisoner-plaintiff's Section 1983 claim where plaintiff
had not alleged that defendant who ordered the removal of
plaintiff's mattress for twenty-four hours “was
acting in spite of his knowledge of a substantial risk of
in the context of a conditions-of-confinement claim, only
extreme deprivations can be characterized as punishment
prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1992). In Grissom v.
Davis, 55 Fed.Appx. 756 (6th Cir. Feb. 12, 2003), the
Sixth Circuit concluded that a prisoner-plaintiff who
asserted she was deprived of a mattress for seven days did
not allege facts “that, if proven, would rise to the
level of the serious deprivation and deliberate indifference
required to support an Eighth Amendment claim.”
Id. at 757-758. The Court noted that the plaintiff
did not present any evidence that the mattress restriction
“deprived her of basic human needs or caused her to
suffer serious harm.” Id. Nor did the
plaintiff demonstrate that the defendants “recklessly
disregarded a substantial risk of harm to her health or
safety when placing her on the mattress restriction.”
Id. at 758. In another unpublished decision, the
Sixth Circuit held that the two-week deprivation of a
prisoner's mattress did not violate the Eighth Amendment.
Jones v. Toombs, No. 95-1395, 1996 WL 67750, at *1
(6th Cir. Feb. 15, 1996); see Mann v. Smith, 796
F.2d 79, 85 (5th Cir. 1986) (a prisoner has no right to sleep
on an elevated bed); Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d
229, 235 (3d Cir. 2008) (forcing pretrial detainees to sleep
on a floor mattress for three to seven months due to
overcrowding is not a constitutional violation); but see
Yelardy v. Taylor, Civ. No. 03-1032-GMS, 2006 WL 680660
at *8 (D. Del. March 14, 2006) (possible constitutional
violation where pretrial detainee is required to sleep on the
floor for twenty-two months). Plaintiff's assertion that
he had to sleep on the concrete floor of a segregated cell
for eight hours without a blanket does not constitute an
extreme deprivation under the Eighth Amendment, and Plaintiff
has not named a defendant responsible for Plaintiff's
placement in the stupid box who acted with deliberate
indifference. For these reasons, Plaintiff is not entitled to
relief under Rule 59(e).
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) allows a court to relieve a
party from a final judgment for the following reasons: (1)
mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2)
newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence,
could not have been discovered in time to move for a new
trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called
intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by
an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment
has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or the judgment
is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated, or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable;
or (6) any other reason that justifies relief. Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(b)(1)-(6). A motion for relief from a judgment or order
under Rule 60 must be filed “within a reasonable
time-and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) no more than a year
after the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the
proceeding.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c)(1). Therefore,
Plaintiff's motion (Doc. No. 7), if construed as a Rule
60 motion, was timely filed.
the enumerated grounds for relief under Rule 60(b)(1)-(5)
apply in this case, however. Rule 60(b)(6) is a catchall
provision that provides for relief from a final judgment for
any reason justifying relief not captured in the other
provisions of Rule 60(b). McGuire v. Warden, 738
F.3d 741, 750 (6th Cir. 2013). Rule 60(b)(6) only applies in
exceptional or extraordinary circumstances where principles
of equity mandate relief. Id. “The decision to
grant Rule 60(b)(6) relief is a case-by-case inquiry that
requires the trial court to intensively balance numerous
factors, including the competing policies of the finality of
judgments and the incessant command of the court's
conscience that justice be done in light of all the
facts.” Blue Diamond Coal v. Trustees of United
Mine Workers, 249 F.3d 519, 529 (6th Cir. 2001); see
also Thompson v. Bell, 580 F.3d 423, 442 (6th Cir.
2009). A district court's discretion in deciding a Rule
60(b)(6) motion is especially broad due to the underlying
equitable principles involved. Tyler v. Anderson,
749 F.3d 499, 509 (6th Cir. 2014).
Plaintiff does not describe any exceptional or extraordinary
circumstances that mandate relief. Although Plaintiff now
seeks to add new allegations to his original complaint, he
does not name a defendant responsible for his placement in
the stupid box. Furthermore, the conditions of his overnight
stay in the stupid box do not rise the level of an extreme
deprivation of Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff
is not entitled to relief under Section 1983 for such
Plaintiffs filing (Doc. No. 7), whether construed as a motion
to amend his complaint after the dismissal of his case and
entry of final judgment, a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or
amend judgment, or a Rule ...