United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
June 11, 2015
JACQUES CRAIG FLOYD, Petitioner,
FRANK PERRY, Respondent.
JAMES C. DEVER, III, District Judge.
Jacques Craig Floyd ("Floyd"), a state inmate, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 [D.E. 1, 3]. On March 13, 2014, the court reviewed the petition under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts and allowed the petition to proceed [D.E. 6], and the clerk served respondent with the petition [D.E. 7]. On January 7, 2015, the court granted respondent's motion for summary judgment [D.E. 18]. On January 15 and 26, 2015, Floyd filed a motion for reconsideration [D.E. 20-21].
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) permits a court to alter or amend a judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). The decision to alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) is within the sound discretion of the district court. See, e.g., Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 653 (4th Cir. 2002); Hughes v. Bedsole, 48 F.3d 1376, 1382 (4th Cir. 1995). The Fourth Circuit has recognized three reasons for granting a motion to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e): "(1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not available [previously]; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." Zinkand v. Brown, 478 F.3d 634, 637 (4th Cir. 2007) (quotation omitted); Bogart v. Chapell, 396 F.3d 548, 555 (4th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted); Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998). Floyd has not cited any recent change in controlling law or any newly discovered evidence. The court has thoroughly considered Floyd's arguments concerning "manifest errors of law and fact" in the court's order granting summary judgment, and does not find any clear error that merits an alteration or amendment to the judgment. Thus, his motion fails.
Alternatively, to the extent that Floyd seeks relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), his motion also fails. Rule 60(b) authorizes the court to "relieve a party... from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for... mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect... [or] fraud..., misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party... [or] any other reason that justifies relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1), (3). Under Rule 60(b), a movant first must demonstrate that his motion is timely, that the movant has a meritorious claim or defense, that the opposing party will not suffer unfair prejudice from setting aside the judgment, and that exceptional circumstances warrant the relief. See Robinson v. Wix Filtration Corp. LLC, 599 F.3d 403, 412 n.12 (4th Cir. 2010); Nat'l Credit Union Admin. Bd. v. Gray, 1 F.3d 262, 264(4th Cir. 1993). If a movant satisfies these threshold conditions, he must then "satisfy one of the six enumerated grounds for relief under Rule 60(b)." Gray, 1 F.3d at 266. Floyd has failed to establish a meritorious claim or defense. Thus, Floyd fails to meet Rule 60(b)'s threshold requirements.
In sum, the court DENIES Floyd's motion [D.E. 20-21] and DENIES a certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c); Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336-38 (2003); Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).