United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
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
the Massachusetts 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
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 award of pre-judgment interest.
11, 2019, Cox moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a) to correct
the judgment to reflect the jury's award of pre-judgment
interest. On June 12, 2019, the Court granted the motion, 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 a motion
to correct the amended judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(a). As ground for that motion, it contended that the
Commonwealth is immune from post-judgment interest
under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Court, however,
erroneously understood the DOC's contention to be that
the Commonwealth was immune from pre-judgment
interest. On July 26, 2019, based in part on that
misunderstanding, the Court denied the DOC's motion.
31, 2019, the DOC filed the present motion to reconsider
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a). Rule 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a).
contends that “[u]nlike pre-judgment interest awarded
by the jury, post-judgment interest was never the subject of
discussion in this litigation, and required no legal analysis
or judicial rulings, ” and that post-judgment interest
was automatically included in the judgment “as a matter
of course, as it is in all civil actions, ” pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1961. And it further contends that because the
inclusion of post-judgment interest was “by federal
statute automatic, ” or an “unconditional
statutory right, ” it was therefore a ministerial, not
a discretionary, act, and thus correctable under Rule 60(a).
See Scola v. Boat Frances R., Inc., 618 F.2d 147,
153 (1st Cir. 1980); Paddington Partners v.
Bouchard, 34 F.3d 1132, 1141 (2d Cir. 1994).
alternative, the DOC has moved for relief from the amended
judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Rule 60(b) provides, in
relevant part, that
[o]n motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or
its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or
proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
. . .
(4) the judgment is void . . ...