United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se
plaintiff Michael Grady to alter or amend the judgment
dismissing this case that was entered on September 18, 2019.
See ECF Nos. 12, 13. Plaintiff also seeks leave to
attach an addendum to his motion to alter or amend. ECF No.
21. The Court will grant plaintiff leave to attach his
addendum. However, having reviewed the arguments in
plaintiffs motion and addendum, the Court finds no grounds
for altering or amending its judgment. Plaintiffs motion to
alter or amend will be denied.
is a pretrial detainee being held at the Alton City Jail in
Alton, Illinois. Plaintiff brought this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil rights
against three defendants: (1) James Gaddy (Task Force Officer
with the Drug Enforcement Agency ("DEA")), (2)
Michael Reilly (Assistant United States Attorney), and (3)
Dean Hoag (Assistant United States Attorney).
March 1, 2017, a grand jury in this district found probable
cause to return an indictment against plaintiff and two other
defendants for conspiracy to distribute, and possess with the
intent to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine.
See U.S. v. Dillon et al, No. 4:17-CR-95-RWS (E.D.
Mo. Mar. 1, 2017). Plaintiff argues that his pretrial
confinement in U.S. v. Dillon violated the Fourth
Amendment. According to plaintiff, the grand jury's
indictment against him in that criminal matter was based
"exclusively on the government's false presentation
and James Gaddy's false testimony to support a finding of
probable cause." ECF No. 1 at 4. Defendants Reilly and
Hoag entered their appearances in that case on behalf of the
United States Attorney's Office. At the time of the
indictment, plaintiff was already in custody and being
detained on a different criminal charge. See U.S. v.
Velazquez et al, No.
4:15-CR-404-HEA-NAB-29. On June 12, 2017, the Court granted the
government leave of court to dismiss the March 1, 2017,
indictment against plaintiff without prejudice. U.S. v.
Dillon, ECF No. 134.
complaint in this matter was dismissed on September 18, 2019,
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), after the Court found that
defendants have absolute immunity against plaintiffs §
1983 claims. The Court held that Agent Gaddy was protected by
absolute immunity from any claim based on his grand jury
testimony, and prosecutors Reilly and Hoag were entitled to
absolute immunity from plaintiffs claims which arise out of
the initiation and prosecution of a criminal matter. ECF No.
sought and was granted two extensions of time to file the
instant motion "to alter or amend judgment entered on
September 18, 2019." ECF No. 20. In his motion and
addendum filed in support (ECF No. 21), plaintiff moves the
Court for relief from judgment arguing that the Court erred
in dismissing this matter.
cites no legal rule under which he brings his motion, but
presumably - based on the title of the motion - he seeks
relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Under
Rule 59(e), a court may alter or amend a judgment upon a
motion filed no later than 28 days after entry of the
judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Rule 59(e) gives the Court
power to rectify its own mistakes in the period immediately
following the entry of judgment. White v. N.H. Dep't
of Emp't Sec, 455 U.S. 445, 450 (1982). Rule 59(e)
motions are limited, however, to correcting "manifest
errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence." U.S. v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer
Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006) (quoted cases
omitted). Such motions cannot be used to introduce new
evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments that
could have been presented prior to judgment. District courts
have broad discretion in determining whether to grant a Rule
59(e) motion. Id.
motion to alter or amend, plaintiff argues that this case is
controlled by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and
its protection of "personal privacy and dignity against
unwarranted intrusion by the State." Schmerber v.
California, 384 U.S. 757, 767 (1966). The Court does not
disagree - as stated in its dismissal order entered on
September 18, 2019. See ECF No. 12 at 6. Plaintiff
goes on to argue that "the Fourth Amendment governs a
claim for unlawful pretrial detention even beyond the start
of legal process," quoting the Supreme Court's
decision in Manuel v. City of Joliet, III., 137
S.Ct. 911, 920 (2017). Again, the Court does not disagree.
However, plaintiffs motion then argues that "the
Court's immunity analysis is misplaced," while
discussing and citing cases on qualified immunity. ECF No. 20
at 7-10. In this case, the Court's dismissal was based on
a finding of absolute immunity - not qualified immunity. The
Court found that prosecutor defendants Reilly and Hoag were
acting within their prosecutorial duties as relates to
plaintiffs § 1983 claims, and therefore were entitled to
absolute immunity. Similarly, Agent Gaddy is entitled to
absolute immunity protection in regards to his testimony
before the grand jury. Plaintiffs motion to alter or amend
points to no error of law or fact in the Court's judgment
and as such, will be denied.
case of defendants Reilly and Hoag, prosecutors are
absolutely immune from § 1983 liability for actions they
undertake as prosecutors, when carrying out their
prosecutorial duties. See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424
U.S. 409, 427 (1976). "[A]cts undertaken by a prosecutor
in preparing for the initiation of judicial proceedings or
for trial, and which occur in the course of his role as an
advocate for the State, are entitled to the protections of
absolute immunity. Those acts must include the professional
evaluation of the evidence assembled by the police and
appropriate preparation for its presentation at trial or
before a grand jury." Buckley v. Fitzsimmons,
509 U.S. 259, 273 (1993). However, absolute immunity may not
apply when a prosecutor is engaging in other tasks.
"[W]hen a prosecutor 'functions as an administrator
rather than as an officer of the court' he is entitled
only to qualified immunity." Id. (quoting
Imbler, 424 U.S. at 431, n. 33). The Court looks at
"functional" considerations in deciding whether a
prosecutor was acting within his prosecutorial duties or
engaging in other tasks, like investigative or administrative
tasks. See Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555 U.S. 335,
plaintiff argues in his complaint that "the government
had absolutely no evidence whatsoever" to support his
indictment. ECF No. 1 at 4. Plaintiffs only statements in his
complaint that pertain to defendants Reilly and Hoag are as
Michael Reilly and Dean Hoag alike are both responsible as
prosecutors for all members on their investigative teams.
Michael Reilly had direct participation in the constitutional
violation of James Gaddy, whereas Dean Hoag turned a
"blind eye." Michael Reilly [was] deliberately
indifferent and authorized Gaddy's acts. There's a
series of emails between Reilly, Gaddy, and Kim M.
Pacana-Biesty, Intelligence Analyst, D.E.A. Chicago, that
pre-dated the indictment on March 1, 2017. ... ...