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Owens v. Downey

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

October 30, 2017

DANIEL W. OWENS, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT J. DOWNEY, BRIAN K GABEHART, CHARLES E BEAVER, SHELLY BEAVER, CHARLES W BEAVER, BRIEANNA BEAVER, Defendants.

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         ENTRY

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Daniel Owens's Motion to Amend Judgment. [Filing No. 103.] Mr. Owens filed this lawsuit alleging constitutional and state law claims after he was tried for and acquitted of criminal trespass. [See Filing No. 33.] On May 26, 2017, the Court granted summary judgment for Sheriff Robert Downey and Deputy Brian Gabehart (collectively, the “Government Defendants”) on Mr. Owens's constitutional claims and denied the Beaver Defendants'[1] motion for summary judgment on Mr. Owens's state law claims. [Filing No. 93.] On August 3, 2017, the Court sua sponte reconsidered its decision to retain supplemental jurisdiction over Mr. Owens's state law claims against the Beaver Defendants, dismissed those claims without prejudice, [Filing No. 101], and entered final judgment in favor of the Government Defendants, [Filing No. 102]. On August 31, 2017, Mr. Owens filed his Motion to Amend, arguing that the Court's grant of summary judgment for the Government Defendants was in error. [Filing No. 103.] For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Mr. Owens's Motion.

         I.

         Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) permits a party to move to “alter or amend a judgment” within 28 days after the entry of judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Rule 59(e) “does not provide a vehicle for a party to undo its own procedural failures, and it certainly does not allow a party to introduce new evidence or advance arguments that could and should have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment.” Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation omitted). Nor may a party use Rule 59(e) to “rehash previously rejected arguments.” Vesely v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d 661, 666 (7th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation omitted). Rather, the Court, in its discretion, may grant a Rule 59(e) motion only where the movant “‘clearly establish[es]' (1) that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or (2) that newly discovered evidence precluded entry of judgment.” Blue v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 698 F.3d 587, 598 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Harrington v. City of Chi., 433 F.3d 542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006)).

         II.

         Discussion

         The relevant facts were recited in detail in the Court's summary judgment order, [Filing No. 93 at 3-11], and need not be fully repeated here. Facts pertinent to Mr. Owens's arguments are included below as appropriate.

         Mr. Owens challenges the Court's summary judgment order on multiple grounds, arguing that the Court erred in determining that Deputy Gabehart had probable cause to file criminal trespass charges; finding that Mr. Owens waived any argument that he suffered a constitutional deprivation of liberty; and determining that Sheriff Downey cannot be held liable for the pretrial order which prohibited Mr. Owens from accessing the disputed land. The Court addresses each issue in turn, keeping in mind the strict standard imposed by Rule 59(e).

         A. Probable Cause for Deputy Gabehart

         Mr. Owens first argues that the Court incorrectly assumed that Deputy Gabehart had not consulted Deputy Hoffman's investigation narrative and incorrectly concluded that there was no evidence that Deputy Gabehart was aware of the dispute between the Beaver Defendants and Mr. Owens. Mr. Owens directs the Court back to evidence that he cited in his summary judgment brief-specifically, Deputy Gabehart's probable cause affidavit, in which Deputy Gabehart averred:

In doing some research through the computer system, there have been several calls in reference to him mowing a patch of grass located on Mr. Beaver's property. They have had some on going [sic] law enforcement issues. . . . Mr. Owens continues to mow approximately 4-6' of Mr. Beaver's hay field, in which he just mowed, and he is currently being displaced approximately a swath of hay in which he uses to feed his livestock. [sic] . . . Mr. Owens continues to, on a weekly basis, mow on the property line and over into Mr. Beaver's hay field.

[Filing No. 73-17 at 3-4; see Filing No. 104 at 12 (quoting affidavit).] Mr. Owens argues that Deputy Gabehart lacked probable cause due to his failure to further investigate the Beaver Defendants' allegations ...


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