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Lovado Adams v. the City of New York

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


March 6, 2012

LOVADO ADAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: John G. Koeltl, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The plaintiff has filed the attached application, dated February 14, 2012, seeking a new trial.

I.

The plaintiff sued the City of New York and certain New York City police officers (collectively, the "City defendants"), as well as Genaro and Rosa Castillo. The plaintiff asserted various claims arising out of an incident in which she alleged that the City defendants and the Castillos had violated federal and state law in an alleged conspiracy to deprive her of various civil rights in connection with an alleged unconstitutional arrest and use of excessive force.

The plaintiff's claims against the City defendants were dismissed pursuant to a motion for summary judgment on March 2, 2010. The case proceeded against the two Castillo defendants. The plaintiff's attorney then moved to withdraw from representing the plaintiff and that motion was granted in April 2010. The Court thereafter repeatedly stayed the case to give the plaintiff the opportunity to retain new counsel, but the plaintiff was unsuccessful in doing so. The Court requested the Pro Se Office to obtain pro bono counsel to assist the plaintiff in attempting to settle her case with the Castillos, but the relationship with pro bono counsel was also unsuccessful. The case was not settled.

In May, 2011 the Court directed the Pro Se office to send the plaintiff a free copy of the Manual for Pro Se Litigants to assist the plaintiff in proceeding with the case and the docket sheet reflects that the Manual was sent. The plaintiff ultimately tried her case pro se before a jury for three days from January 10 to January 12, 2012. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Castillos on each of the plaintiff's claims against them, and Judgment was entered in favor of the Castillos on January 17, 2012.

II.

Under Rule 59 of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure, a "court may, on motion, grant a new trial on all or some of the issues-and to any party . . . after a jury trial, for any reason for which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal court." Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(a)(1)(A). The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has explained that "[a] district court may grant a new trial pursuant to Rule 59 even when there is evidence to support the jury's verdict, so long as the court 'determines that, in its independent judgment, the jury has reached a seriously erroneous result or its verdict is a miscarriage of justice.'" AMW Materials Testing, Inc. v. Town of Babylon, 584 F.3d 436, 456 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Nimely v. City of New York, 414 F.3d 381, 392 (2d Cir. 2005)).

The plaintiff has shown no basis for a new trial. The plaintiff complains about the decision granting the motion for summary judgment in favor of the City defendants. However, it has been two years since the Court granted that motion, and the time for a motion for reconsideration has long since expired. In any event, the plaintiff does not explain why that decision was incorrect in any way and the Court is not aware of any error. The result with regard to the grant of summary judgment to the City defendants would be the same if the question were evaluated under Rule 60(b) or Rule 59. "Relief under Rule 60(b) is 'generally not favored and is properly granted only upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.'" McKeown v. New York, 444 F. App'x 508, 508 (2d Cir. 2012) (summary order) (quoting United States v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 247 F.3d 370, 391 (2d Cir. 2001). The plaintiff has not shown any reason why the grant of summary judgment was not proper, let alone demonstrated the existence of any exceptional circumstances.

The plaintiff complains of the fact that she did not have counsel, but a "plaintiff has no right to counsel as a plaintiff in civil litigation." Palacio v. City of New York, 489 F. Supp. 2d 335, 344 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). The Court was attentive at all stages of these proceedings of the need to accomodate the plaintiff's pro se status, including granting numerous adjournments, appointing pro bono counsel to assist the plaintiff with possible settlement (although the plaintiff did not get along with pro bono counsel), providing the Pro Se Manual to the plaintiff, and explaining the trial procedures to the plaintiff. The plaintiff has failed to point to any errors that occurred at the trial and the Court is not aware of any.

In short, the plaintiff's claims against the City defendants were dismissed at the summary judgment stage and the plaintiff's claims against the Castillos were rejected by the jury after a fair trial. There is no basis for a new trial.

CONCLUSION

The plaintiff's application for a new trial is denied.

SO ORDERED.

[Editor's Note: Attachment unavailable]

20120306

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