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Roland v. Rivera

June 6, 2007

THOMAS ROLAND, III, PLAINTIFF,
v.
I. RIVERA, SUPERINTENDENT, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; AND MICHAEL BENSON, SUPERINTENDENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Thomas Roland commenced this § 1983 civil rights action on March 2, 2007. See Dkt. No. 1. In a Memorandum-Decision and Order dated March 13, 2007, this Court directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint because his original complaint did not demonstrate the personal involvement of each Defendant in the alleged violation of his constitutional rights.*fn1 See Dkt. No. 4. On March 26, 2007, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint.

See Dkt. No. 6. By Order dated April 6, 2007, this Court found that Plaintiff's amended complaint failed to remedy the defects in his original complaint. See Dkt. No. 8. Therefore, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's amended complaint without prejudice due to Plaintiff's failure to comply with the terms of the Court's March 13, 2007 Order. See id. On April 6, 2007, the Court entered judgment against Plaintiff, dismissing this action without prejudice in accordance with the Court's March 13, 2007 Order. See Dkt. No. 9.

Currently before the Court are a letter from Plaintiff, which the Court construes as a request for relief from the judgment entered against him, see Dkt. No. 10, and Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend his amended complaint, see Dkt. No. 11.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Request for Relief from Judgment

Plaintiff requests that the Court reopen this case so that he can file an amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 11. He asks that, in reviewing his request, "this court take into consideration that [he is] a prisoner who is mentally incapacitated." See id.*fn2

Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the following six grounds upon which the Court may rely to relieve a party from a final judgment or order:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b).

"In deciding a Rule 60(b) motion, a court must balance the policy in favor of hearing a litigant's claims on the merits against the policy in favor of finality." Kotlicky v. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co., 817 F.2d 6, 9 (2d Cir. 1987) (citation omitted); see also Welkovics v. Hebrew Academy of Capital Dist., No. 93-CV-1465, 1995 WL 760726, *2 (N.D.N.Y. Nov. 14, 1995) (quotation and other citation omitted). The Court finds that, under the circumstances of this case, Plaintiff's pro se status and his asserted mental incapacity "justify[] relief from the operation of the judgment," Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6), and, therefore, grants Plaintiff's motion for relief from judgment. See Rule 60(b)(6).

B. Motion to Amend

Having reopened this action, the Court may now properly review Plaintiff's motion to amend his amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 11. The proposed amended complaint names two new Defendants -- Dr. Joseph Liebergall and Dr. Brian Joseph -- and asserts that, while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Erie County Holding Center, each of them was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. See id.*fn3 Since Plaintiff alleges that these newly-named Defendants were personally involved in the alleged violation of his constitutional rights, the Court grants his motion to amend his ...


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