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Beers v. Fouts

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

July 10, 2018

Timothy Beers
v.
Jon Fouts et al.

          Timothy Beers, pro se

          Francis Charles Fredericks, Esq.

          Lynmarie C. Cusack, Esq.

          Seth Michael Zoracki, Esq.

          ORDER

          STEVEN J. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the court are two post-judgment motions filed by plaintiff, Timothy Beers (Doc. Nos. 104, 105). Construed liberally, both motions seek relief from the final judgment, Doc. No. 103, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Defendants object. See Doc. No. 111.

         Procedural History

         The claims in this action arose out of a December 18, 2014 group strip search of New Hampshire State Prison ("NHSP") inmates, including Beers, conducted in the NHSP gymnasium after a contact-visit holiday event attended by inmates and their families. After the families left the event, NHSP corrections officers strip-searched the inmates in the presence of other inmates, a video surveillance camera, and other corrections officers, including a female officer.

         Beers filed this case to challenge the validity of the group strip search. Beers's claims asserted under the Prison Rape Elimination Act ("PREA") claims, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and claims alleging Eighth Amendment violations for humiliation and endangerment were dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. See Feb. 2, 2016 Order (Doc. No. 13) (approving Dec. 14, 2015 Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. No. 7)). The court allowed Beers to proceed on a claim asserting that the group strip search was unreasonable, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. See id. The defendants to that claim were the NHSP officers who Beers claimed had ordered or authorized the group strip search at issue. See id.

         Defendants filed motions asserting that they were entitled to qualified immunity as to the Fourth Amendment claim. See Defs. Fouts's, Greenwood's, Jardine's, and Orlando's Mot. for Summ. J. (Doc. No. 44); Def. Forcier's Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 86). The court granted those motions, finding that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity as to the Fourth Amendment claim, and the clerk entered judgment for defendants in this case. See Sept. 12, 2017 Order (Doc. No. 92), 2017 WL 4041316, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147077 (D.N.H. Sept. 12, 2017) (granting motion for summary judgment); Mar. 7, 2018 Order (Doc. No. 102) (granting motion to dismiss); Mar. 12, 2018 Judgment (Doc. No. 103). Beers then filed two motions seeking to reopen the judgment, to allow for more discovery, and to schedule a jury trial. See Doc. Nos. 104, 105.

         Rule 59(e) Standard

         Beers's motions seek relief under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as they were filed less than twenty-eight days after judgment was entered in this case. See Alicea v. Machete Music, 744 F.3d 773, 781 (1st Cir. 2014); Aybar v. Crispin-Reyes, 118 F.3d 10, 17 n.3 (1st Cir. 1997). Although courts have "considerable discretion" in deciding whether to grant or deny a motion to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e), Venegas-Hernandez v. Sonolux Records, 370 F.3d 183, 190 (1st Cir. 2005), such relief is "'an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.'" Palmer v. Champion Mortg., 465 F.3d 24, 30 (1st Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). This court may grant a Rule 59(e) motion based on an intervening change in the law, a manifest error of law or fact underlying the judgment, or newly-discovered evidence that could not have been produced before judgment entered. Deka Int'l S.A. v. Genzyme Corp. (In re Genzyme Corp. Sec. Litig.), 754 F.3d 31, 46 (1st Cir. 2014); Markel Am. Ins. Co. v. Diaz-Santiago, 674 F.3d 21, 32 (1st Cir. 2012); Glob. NAPs, Inc. v. Verizon New England, Inc., 489 F.3d 13, 25 (1st Cir. 2007). When a motion for relief from a judgment is coupled with a motion to amend the complaint, the motions may be properly denied if the proposed amendment is futile. Feliciano-Hernandez v. Pereira-Castillo, 663 F.3d 527, 538 (1st Cir. 2011).

         Motion to Re-open and Expand the Record (Doc. No. 105)

         In Document No. 105, Beers asks the court to add a document to the record, Doc. No. 105-1, entitled, "PREA Audit Report," concerning PREA reports at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility ("NCF"), as well as unspecified New Hampshire Department of Corrections ("DOC") training records, which Beers asserts would show that all DOC employees have received training concerning sexual abuse, "voyeurism," and/or sexual harassment. Beers states the document he seeks to add to the ...


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