United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER RE: POST-JUDGMENT MOTIONS
STEVEN WHALEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
prisoner civil rights case, brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, was tried to a jury between October 10, 2017 and
October 17, 2017. At trial, the Defendants, all employees of
the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”),
were Cynthia Gause, Angela Dye, Mark Bragg, Joslyn Conyers,
Clarence Powell, Raymond Booker, Sandra Doucet, Tommy Snipes,
and Darrell Steward. Following the close of proofs,
Defendants moved for judgment as a matter of law under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a). The Court granted the motion as to
Defendants Booker, Snipes, and Steward. The motion was taken
under advisement as to the remaining Defendants.
Plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claim, the jury
found no cause of action as to Defendants Gause, Bragg,
Powell, Conners, and Ducett. The jurors found Defendant Dye
liable on this claim, awarding $1, 500.00 in nominal damages
and $2, 500.00 in punitive damages.
Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim, the jury
found Defendant Dye liable, awarding $5, 000.00 in punitive
damages. It found no cause of action on this claim as to
Defendant Conyers and the other Defendants.
conspiracy claim, the jurors found Defendants Dye and Conyers
liable, and awarded $2, 500.00 in punitive damages. They
found no cause of action as to the other Defendants.
the jury verdict, and based on the jury finding no cause of
action as to Defendants Bragg, Ducett, Gause, and Powell, the
Court denied these Defendants' pre-judgment Rule 50(a)
motions as moot. The Court also denied the motion as to the
First Amendment retaliation count, the Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference count, and the conspiracy count
against Defendant Dye, and as to the conspiracy count against
parties now bring the following post-judgment motions:
-Defendants Dye and Conyers' Renewed Motion for Judgment
as a Matter of Law (under Rule 50(b)) and to Alter Judgment
under Rule 59 [Doc. #179].
-Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, or
in the alternative, Motion for a New Trial [Doc. #182].
reasons discussed below, both motions will be DENIED.
50(b) is a procedural mechanism to renew a Rule 50(a) motion
for judgment as a matter of law after a jury verdict and
entry of judgment. Unitherm Food Sys., Inc. v.
Swift-Eckrich, Inc., 546 U.S. 394, 399-400 (2006). In
assessing a Rule 50(b) motion, the Court does not weigh the
evidence or assess the credibility of the witnesses.
Conwood Co. L.P. v. United States Tobacco Co., 290
F.3d 768, 781 (6th Cir. 2002). Judgment as a matter of law
“may be granted only if in viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, there is no
genuine issue of material fact for the jury, and reasonable
minds could come to but one conclusion, in favor of the
moving party.” Gray v. Toshiba Am. Consumer Prods.,
Inc., 263 F.3d 595, 598 (6th Cir. 2001). “Thus,
while the district court has the duty to intervene in
appropriate cases, the jury's verdict should not be
disturbed simply because different inferences and conclusions
could have been drawn or because other results are more
reasonable.” Wheaton v. N. Oakland Med. Ctr.,
2006 WL 44163, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 6, 2006). A Rule 50(b)
motion is addressed to the court's discretion. In re
Brown, 342 F.3d 620, 626 -627 (6th Cir.