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Patterson v. Santini

United States District Court, District of Colorado

April 15, 2015

GERALD LEE PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE SANTINI, M.D., CAMACHO, P.A., and FIVE JOHN/JANE DOES, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING POST CLOSURE MOTIONS

RAYMOND P. MOORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Gerald Lee Patterson’s Renewed Motion (the “Renewed Motion”) to Reopen Case for Good Cause (ECF No. 114), Motion for Order (the “Motion for Order”) to Grant Unapposed (sic) Motion to Reopen Case (ECF No. 115), and Motion for Rule (the “Show Cause Motion”) to Show Cause (ECF no. 118). The Court has reviewed these motions, any responses and replies, and pertinent portions of the file. For the reasons set forth below, these motions are DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff’s Amended Prisoner Complaint (the “Complaint”) alleged that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights through their deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition. (ECF No. 27 at 4-5). Defendants Santini and Camacho, medical staff at the Bureau of Prisons complex at Florence, Colorado, moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 45.) Magistrate Judge Kristen Mix recommended denying Defendants’ motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 64.) During the pendency of the Court’s consideration of Magistrate Judge Mix’s recommendation, Defendants’ objections (ECF No. 66) and Plaintiff’s response to Defendants’ objections (ECF No. 68), a settlement conference was held on March 6, 2014 (See ECF No. 102). The minutes of that conference reflect that a settlement was reached and that the parties agreed to file a motion to administratively close the case. (Id.) Thereafter, on March 28, 2014, a Stipulated Motion for Administrative Closure, signed by the Plaintiff, was filed. On March 31, 2014, the motion was granted and this case was administratively closed. (ECF No. 104.)

The calm before the storm lasted two weeks.

On April 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Clarification. (ECF No. 105.) He alleged, with neither explanation nor support, that a written stipulation (the “Settlement Stipulation”) which served as the basis for the Stipulated Motion for Administrative Closure “was made under duress and not with an opportunity to consult with competent counsel.” (Id. at 1.) Despite the vague reference to duress, Plaintiff did not seek to invalidate the Settlement Stipulation or to reopen the case. Instead, he sought an Order directing the parties (Defendants) to include in the Settlement Stipulation a sentence guaranteeing his release from custody by September 6, 2014.[1]

The Court denied the Motion for Clarification on June 9, 2014. The Order Denying Motion for Clarification (ECF No. 107) relied upon the insufficiency of the summary nature of Plaintiff’s contentions, notwithstanding the reference to lack of counsel. And to the extent the Motion for Clarification could be interpreted as asking for reopening of the case, that request was denied as well. (Id.)

On September 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reopen for Good Cause (ECF No. 110.) Again, Plaintiff made a claim of duress, this time not relying on the absence of counsel but asserting that:

By manipulating the facts, by refusing to implement a policy the Attorney General and the Director of the BOP approved, by lying and saying Plaintiff did not have a serious medical problem, by threatening to keep Plaintiff locked up until the end of his term when the policy provided that he was eligible for release under these exact circumstances, by promising to provide him adequate medical treatment until his promised release date on September 6, 2014, and failing to do that, Defendants have secured an agreement (the stipulation) which is unenforceable because it was secured under duress.

(Id. at 2-3.)

What precipitated this pleading? The BOP denied the reconsidered request for compassionate release. (See ECF No. 111 at 1-2.) The BOP’s decision issued on September 2, 2014, as required by the time parameters included within the Settlement Stipulation. (Id.) Almost immediately thereafter, the Motion to Reopen for Good Cause was filed.[2]

The Motion to Reopen for Good Cause sought to invalidate the Settlement Stipulation by claiming, again, that it was the product of duress. But the duress claimed was that the BOP denied the reconsidered request for compassionate release and disagreement with the bases upon which that decision was made. In other words, the purported duress had nothing to do with the negotiation and execution of the Settlement Stipulation and everything to do with BOP decisions made after its execution. The “duress” also was based on conduct by persons other than Defendants. The Motion to Reopen for Good Cause was denied. (ECF No. 113.)[3]

On December 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed the Renewed Motion. (ECF No. 114.) Now, a third species of duress was alleged. A case manager who was neither party to the litigation nor someone who signed the Settlement Stipulation allegedly secured Plaintiff’s signature on the Settlement Stipulation by advising Plaintiff that paragraph 5 of the stipulation guaranteed his release by September 6, 2014, and by insisting that Plaintiff sign that day. (ECF No. 114 at 2; ECF No. 114-1 at 4.) On January 29, 2015, Plaintiff filed his Motion for Order (ECF No. 115), arguing that since the government had not responded to the Renewed Motion (ECF No. 114), it could be said to be unopposed. The government then filed a response (ECF No. 116) disagreeing with the assumption contained in the Motion for Order, as well as with the basis for reopening described in the Renewed Motion. Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 117).

On April 9, 2015, Plaintiff filed the Show Cause Motion. (ECF No. 118.) Although filed in this case, the Show Cause Motion has nothing to do with the Settlement Stipulation or this case. In the Show Cause Motion, Plaintiff asserts that he recently received a reduction of his sentence pursuant to Amendment 782 of the Sentencing Guidelines and 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(2). He contends that by virtue of his reduced sentence, he is eligible for release on November 1, 2015.[4] He notes that pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3624(c), the BOP has authority to place inmates in a half-way house during their last year of confinement and in home confinement during the last up to 6 months of their confinement. 18 U.S.C. §3624(c). He requests an ...


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