United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ANITA PATRICIA BAKER-SCHNEIDER, Personal Representative of the Estate of Michael Edward Schneider, Plaintiff,
BENNY N. NAPOLEON, WAYNE COUNTY SHERIFF; JERIEL HEARD, DIRECTOR OF JAILS; DAVID PRAEDEL, COMMANDER OF THE WILLIAM DICKERSON DETENTION FACILITY; DR. KEITH C. DLUGOKINSKI, DIRECTOR OF JAIL SERVICES FOR WAYNE COUNTY; DR. RUBAB F. HUQ; WAYNE COUNTY CORPORAL GERALD THOMAS; COUNTY OF WAYNE, and WAYNE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT RUBAB F.
HUQ'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
lawsuit arises from Michael Edward Schneider's suicide
while a pretrial detainee in the Wayne County Jail's
William Dickerson Detention Facility. On March 15, 2018, this
Court entered an opinion and order granting summary judgment
to all defendants, except Rubab F. Huq, M.D. (ECF No. 41.)
Presently before the Court is Dr. Huq's motion for
reconsideration, filed pursuant to Eastern District of
Michigan Local Rule 7.1(h) on March 29, 2018. (ECF No. 43.)
Plaintiff filed a response to the motion on April 17, 2018.
(ECF No. 45.)
7.1(h) provides the following standard for motions for
Generally, and without restricting the court's
discretion, the court will not grant motions for rehearing or
reconsideration that merely present the same issues ruled
upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable
implication. The movant must not only demonstrate a palpable
defect by which the court and the parties and other persons
entitled to be heard on the motion have been misled but also
show that correcting the defect will result in a different
disposition of the case.
E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). Palpable defects are those which are
“obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest or
plain.” Mich. Dep't of Treasury v.
Michalec, 181 F.Supp.2d 731, 734 (E.D. Mich. 2002).
“It is an exception to the norm for the Court to grant
a motion for reconsideration.” Maiberger v. City of
Livonia, 724 F.Supp.2d 759, 780 (E.D. Mich. 2010).
motion for reconsideration is not properly used as a vehicle
to re-hash old arguments or to advance positions that could
have been argued earlier but were not.” Smith ex
rel. Smith v. Mount Pleasant Pub. Sch., 298 F.Supp.2d
636, 637 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (citing Sault Ste. Marie Tribe
of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th
Cir. 1998)). “A motion for reconsideration
‘addresses only factual and legal matters that the
court may have overlooked. . . .' It is improper on a
motion for reconsideration to ‘ask the court to rethink
what [it] had already thought through-rightly or
wrongly.'” Carter v. Robinson, 211 F.R.D.
549, 550 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (quoting Above the Belt, Inc.
v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D.
Va 1983)). Therefore, a motion that merely presents the same
issues already ruled upon by the Court shall not be granted.
See Smith ex rel. Smith, 298 F.Supp.2d at 637.
motion for reconsideration, Dr. Huq raises three challenges
to the Court's summary judgment decision. First, she
contends that the Court improperly made a credibility
determination regarding a key piece of evidence, which was
undisputed. Second, Dr. Huq urges the Court to consider the
deposition testimony of one of the jail's psychiatric
social workers, Sybil S. Sartin, which previously was not
offered into evidence by either party. Dr. Huq argues that
Ms. Sartin's testimony supports a finding that Mr.
Schneider's past suicide attempt, past taking of
psychotropic medications and being a self-cutter was not
evidence that he was a suicide risk. Lastly, Dr. Huq contends
that the Court should reconsider its decision in light of the
opinion of Plaintiff's expert who provided that in a jail
system employing psychiatrists, psychologists or
psychological social workers designated to evaluate, screen,
and treat inmates, other medical staff are entitled to rely
on their intervention and not exceed their designated
authority to make psychological determinations.
the Court did not make a credibility determination in regard
to Dr. Huq's testimony that she would not have made an
immediate psychological referral even if she had seen the
intake information indicating Mr. Schneider's prior
suicide attempt. Instead, as the Court stated in its March
15, 2018 decision, it concluded only that “reasonable
jurors could find [Dr. Huq's] testimony
self-serving” and that this testimony therefore was not
determinative of whether she recklessly disregarded available
information evidencing Mr. Schneider's risk of suicide.
(See ECF No. 41 at Pg ID 989.) Undoubtedly, most
defendants in an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference
action testify (or would testify) after the fact that they
did not perceive a substantial risk to the prisoner based on
the information they possessed when they engaged in the
alleged unconstitutional conduct. In the current instance,
the Court believes it is a question for the jury whether Dr.
Huq subjectively perceived such a risk.
Ms. Sartin's deposition was taken after Defendants filed
their summary judgment motion, as Dr. Huq indicates. However,
the deposition occurred shortly thereafter and before
Defendants filed their reply brief. As such, it was evidence
Defendants previously could have submitted in support of
their motion. The Sixth Circuit has stated that motions for
reconsideration “‘cannot … be employed as
a vehicle to introduce new evidence that could have been
adduced during [the] pendency of the summary judgment
motion.'” Am. Marietta Corp. v. Essroc
Cement Corp., 59 Fed.Appx. 668, 672 (6th Cir. 2003)
(quoting Macdermid Inc. v. Electrochemicals,
Inc., Nos. 96-3995, 96-4072, 1998 WL 165137 (6th Cir.
Mar. 31, 1998) (citing Rothwell Cotton Co. v. Rosenthal
& Co., 827 F.2d 246, 251 (7th Cir.),
amended, 835 F.2d 710 (7th Cir.1987)). In any event,
Ms. Sartin's testimony does not demonstrate a palpable
defect in this Court's decision denying Dr. Huq summary
Sartin testified that she would not immediately send an
inmate to the mental health unit with a history of
psychiatric illness and treatment, self-cutting, and prior
suicide attempt, explaining:
I've talked to people who have said, oh, yes, I tried to
commit suicide twenty-five years ago. Well, that definitely
wouldn't be a person that I would classify as actively
suicidal or even having suicidal ideation. So you have to
get more information when you're, when you ask a
question like that. You can't just leave it open-ended
with yes, you would be more specific as to when, how serious
was it, were you taken to the hospital . . .
(Sartin Dep. at 72, ECF No. 43-1 at Pg ID 1035, emphasis
added.) Mr. Schneider did not attempt suicide years or even
months before his arrival at the Dickerson facility, however.
He attempted suicide twelve days earlier. The Court
denied summary judgment to Dr. Huq because it believed a
reasonable jury could conclude that she was deliberately
indifferent to that information. Ms. Sartin's testimony
does not undermine the Court's reasoning and, to a great
extent, supports it, as she provides that it is necessary to
get more information upon learning that an inmate previously
Plaintiff's expert, Dr. Alvin Cohn, does not opine that
Dr. Huq is “entitled to rely on the jail
procedures in place with the expected intervention of a
psychiatric staff . . ..” (Br. in Supp. of Mot. at 2,
ECF No. 43 at Pg ID 1003, emphasis added.) Instead, Dr. Cohn
provides only that “nurses and Dr. Ruhab Huq rely on
that expected intervention …” (Cohn Aff. ¶
19, ECF No. 36-9 at Pg ID 645.) Dr. Cohn never states in his
affidavit that the jail's nurses or Dr. Huq were relieved
of their Eighth Amendment obligations based on this
reliance-and any such opinion would be beyond his area of
expertise and inadmissible as a legal conclusion.
this Court is confident that jail personnel are not relieved
of their constitutional duty to alleviate a significant risk
of harm to inmates simply because jail procedures provide for
experts charged with making physical or mental health
assessments of incoming inmates. Otherwise, Eighth Amendment
claims alleging deliberate indifference to an inmate's
physical or psychological needs by jailhouse officers would
rarely survive. Yet, they do. See, e.g., Schultz v.
Sillman, 148 Fed.Appx. 396 (6th Cir. 2005) (affirming
district court's denial of ...