United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
JEFFREY L. WILSON, Plaintiff,
STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND
EXTENDING DEADLINES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFS
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration (Dkt. 71) of the Court's order entered on
August 23, 2017 (Dkt. 70). The Court denies the motion for
the reasons stated below.
for reconsideration are governed by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60 and Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h). LCR 7(h)
Motions for reconsideration are disfavored. The court will
ordinarily deny such motions in the absence of a showing of
manifest error in the prior ruling or a showing of new facts
or legal authority which could not have been brought to its
attention earlier with reasonable diligence.
Ninth Circuit has described reconsideration as an
“extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in the
interests of finality and conservation of judicial
resources.” Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate
of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting 12
James Wm. Moore, Moore's Federal Practice § 59.30
(3d ed. 2000)). “[A] motion for reconsideration should
not be granted, absent highly unusual circumstances, unless
the district court is presented with newly discovered
evidence, committed clear error, or if there is an
intervening change in the controlling law.”
Id. (quoting 389 Orange Street Partners v.
Arnold, 179 F.3d 656, 665 (9th Cir. 1999)).
ascribes to errors in the Court's previous order. First,
Plaintiff indicates that the Court erroneously concluded that
the State of Washington (“State”) was entitled to
Eleventh Amendment Immunity on Plaintiff's claims. Dkt.
71 at 3-6. Second, Plaintiff argues that the Court failed to
consider the allegedly probative value of evidence that he
will obtain through a continuance to further research the
civil commitment proceedings of individuals other than
himself. Dkt. 71 at 6-7.
first issue, Plaintiff has a point, although it does not
justify altering the outcome of the Court's previous
order. In its previous order, the Court stated:
[T]he State of Washington and its agencies are not persons
subject to a damages suit under § 1983, nor are they
entities subject to supervisory Monell liability.
Alvarado-Young v. Washington, C15-5883-RBL, 2016 WL
7243753, at *4 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 15, 2016). Indeed,
“[t]he Eleventh Amendment bars suits against a state or
its agencies, regardless of the relief sought, unless the
state unequivocally consents to a waiver of its
immunity.” Yakama Indian Nation v. State of Wash.
Dep't of Revenue, 176 F.3d 1241, 1245 (9th Cir.
1999); Will v Michigan Department of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989) (“Congress, in passing §
1983, had no intention to disturb the States' Eleventh
Amendment immunity.”) “[A] federal court's
remedial power, consistent with the Eleventh Amendment, is
necessarily limited to prospective injunctive relief, and may
not include a retroactive award which requires the payment of
funds from the state treasury.” Edelman v
Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 677 (1974) (internal citations
omitted). Here, Plaintiff seeks only damages arising from the
conditions and length of his confinement. Dkt. 54 at 14-15.
Importantly, he does not seek the injunctive or declaratory
relief that may enable him to pursue claims against the State
and avoid Eleventh Amendment immunity to damages actions.
Accordingly, the motion to continue this issue must be denied
and the Court will enter summary judgment in favor of
Defendants on Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against the
State and DSHS.
Dkt. 70 at 5. In reaching its conclusion to grant summary
judgment in favor of the state of Washington, the Court cited
authority on the State's Eleventh Amendment immunity to
suit in federal courts. The Court's statement that
Plaintiff “does not seek the injunctive or declaratory
relief that may enable him to pursue claims against the State
and avoid Eleventh Amendment immunity to damages
actions” can be read to mistakenly conflate Eleventh
Amendment immunity with Supreme Court precedent establishing
that states are not persons under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
the Court ultimately entered summary judgment on
Plaintiff's claims against the State because Plaintiff
has exclusively brought § 1983 claims for damages and
“a State is not a person within the meaning of §
1983.” Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 (1989). This holding is
reaffirmed by the very authority that Plaintiff cites to show
that the State waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity by
removing this case to federal court. Lapides v. Bd. of
Regents of Univ. Sys. of Georgia, 535 U.S. 613, 617
(2002) (“Lapides' only federal claim against the
State arises under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that claim seeks
only monetary damages, and we have held that a State is not a
‘person' against whom a § 1983 claim for money
damages might be asserted.”) (citation omitted).
Therefore, the Court's decision to grant summary judgment
in favor of the State does not warrant
reconsideration. The Court's citation to precedent
regarding Eleventh Amendment immunity was intended to
illustrate that (1) Plaintiff has asserted only 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claims for damages, which are not permitted
against states, and (2) had Plaintiff wished to assert a
constitutional challenge to RCW 71.09.050 other than a 42
U.S.C. § 1983 claim, he needed to pursue relief other
than damages through the proper state procedures.
the second issue, the Court summarily rejects Plaintiff's
argument and refers him to its previous order. Allowing
Plaintiff to seek further information regarding the other
prisoners' length of confinement will not help him to
establish that his own confinement was a constitutional
violation entitling him to damages under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 or to otherwise resist Defendants' motion for
motion for reconsideration (Dkt. 71) is
the Court finds it expedient to extend the deadlines for the
supplemental briefing requested by its previous order in
light of its need to clarify aspects of that order on
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. Therefore, the
deadline for Plaintiff's supplemental response to the
motion for summary judgment is extended to September 18,
2017. The deadline for Defendant's supplemental reply is
extended to October 2, 2017. The Clerk shall
RENOTE Defendants' motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. 57) for consideration on October 2, 2017.