United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
CORRECT AMENDED JUDGMENT
DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an action brought by a mentally-disabled state prisoner
asserting claims under the Americans with Disability Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
Plaintiff William Cox brought this action against defendant
Department of Corrections (“DOC”) contending that
he was the victim of discrimination on the basis of
disability. Among other things, Cox contended that he was
denied adequate access to (1) procedures to obtain medical
care, (2) procedures to report and resolve grievances, (3)
procedures to report physical or sexual assaults, and (4) use
of telephones. After a trial, a jury found in his favor on
those claims, and awarded him money damages. The jury also
awarded pre-judgment interest.
then moved for an order awarding attorneys' fees,
litigation costs, and other expenses pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 12205. On May 10, 2019, that motion was granted in
part and denied in part.
16, 2019, the Court entered judgment in favor of Cox against
the DOC in the amount of $201, 000, plus attorneys' fees
in the amount of $405, 077.50 and $5, 039.37 in costs. The
Court furthered ordered that post-judgment interest would
accrue at the rate of 2.32% per annum. The Court, however,
neglected to include the pre-judgment interest.
11, 2019, Cox moved to correct a clerical error in the
judgment, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a). He requested that
the Court correct the judgment to reflect the jury's
award of pre-judgment interest.
12, 2019, the Court granted the motion to correct, and
entered an amended judgment with the additional award of
pre-judgment interest, calculated from the date of filing of
the complaint until the date of the judgment, at an interest
rate of 2.32%.
19, 2019, 64 days after the entry of judgment, and 37 days
after the entry of amended judgment, the DOC filed the
present motion to correct the amended judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a). As ground for that motion, it contends,
as it did at the charge conference before the jury was
instructed at the close of the trial, that the Commonwealth
is immune from pre-judgment interest under the doctrine of
60(a) provides, in relevant part, that “[t]he court may
correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from
oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment,
order, or other part of the record. The court may do so on
motion or on its own, with or without notice.”
59(e) provides that a party may file a motion “to alter
or amend a judgment . . . no later than 28 days after the
entry of the judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59.
whatever the merits of the DOC's sovereign immunity
argument may be, the motion to correct the amended judgment
to find it not liable for pre-judgment interest is not
properly brought under Rule 60(a). The motion does not seek
to correct a “clerical mistake or a mistake arising
from oversight or omission, ” but rather to correct
what it alleges to be a legal error. Such a motion could have
been brought as a timely motion to amend a judgment under
Rule 59(e), but was not. See Scola v. Boat Frances, R.,
Inc., 618 F.2d 147, 153 (1st Cir. 1980) (“The
error made by adding pre-judgment interest to the verdict was
one which defendant could have reached not only on the appeal
from the judgment but also by a timely motion in the district
court under Rule 59(e) to alter or amend the judgment . . . .
The error, as one of law, could not be corrected out of time
under Rule 60(a).”); see also United States v.
Hall, 463 F.Supp. 787, 791 (W.D. Mo.),
aff'd, 588 F.2d 1214 (8th Cir. 1978)
(“Defendant may not avoid the time limitation imposed
by Rule 59(e) by filing his motion pursuant to Rule
motion to correct the amended judgment is accordingly DENIED.