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Brumfield v. Metz

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

June 3, 2013

BRIAN BRUMFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
J. METZ, et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KAREN L. LITKOVITZ, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on plaintiffs Rule 60(b) motion for reconsideration of the District Judge's order dismissing his complaint (Doc. 41), defendants' memorandum in opposition (Doc. 42), and plaintiffs reply. (Doc. 43). Also before the Court are plaintiffs motion for default judgment against defendants Wood and Keller (Doc. 22) and defendants' responses thereto. (Docs. 13, 21).

I. Background

Plaintiff, a prose prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis (Doc. 30), brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 alleging that defendants violated his civil rights. (Doc. 1). Pursuant to this Court's sua sponte review under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b), the undersigned recommended that plaintiffs complaint be dismissed for, among other things, failure to state a claim for relief. (Doc. 32). On November 13, 2012, the District Judge adopted the undersigned's recommendation. (Doc. 38). Shortly thereafter, plaintiff filed the instant motion seeking relief from the District Judge's order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4) and (6). (Doc. 41).

II. Motion for Reconsideration Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides, in relevant part, for relief from a judgment where "the judgment is void;... or for any other reason that justifies relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4), (6). As a general rule, motions for reconsideration are not favored unless the movant demonstrates: "(1) a manifest error oflaw; (2) newly discovered evidence which was not available previously to the parties; or (3) intervening authority." Meekison v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. and Carr., 181 F.R.D. 571, 572 (S.D. Ohio 1998) ( citingHarsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985)).

III. Resolution

Plaintiffs motion for reconsideration (Doc. 41) should be denied because plaintiffhas failed to present any facts, argument, or authority that would justify providing relief under either Rule 60(b)(4) or (6). As best the Court can discern, plaintiff asserts he is entitled to reliefunder Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) because the undersigned Magistrate Judge had no legal authority to issue a Report and Recommendation and because the District Judge failed to adequately address his objections. Id. Plaintiffs assertions are incorrect.

Under Rule 60(b)(4), "[a] void judgment is one which, from its inception, was a complete nullity and without legal effect." Jalepeno Prop. Mgmt., LLC v. Dukas, 265 F.3d 506, 515 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Lubben v. Selective Serv. Sys. Local Bd. No 27, 453 F.2d 645, 649 (1st Cir. 1972)). A void judgment under Rule 60(b)(4) occurs"[o]nly in the rare instance of a clear usurpation of power" by the court. Id. at 516. A void judgment must be differentiated from an erroneous judgment "to prevent the use of the Rule as a substitute for an appeal." Id. Under Rule 60(b)(4), a judgment is rendered void only "if the court that rendered it lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter, or of the parties, or if it acted in a manner inconsistent with due process of the law." Antoine v. Atlas Turner, Inc., 66 F.3d 105, 108 (6th Cir. 1995) (citing In re Edwards, 962 F.2d 641, 644 (7th Cir. 1992)).

In the instant case, plaintiff fails to allege any facts or present any evidence whatsoever demonstrating that the Court lacked jurisdiction over his claims or acted in a manner that violated due process. (Doc. 41). Plaintiff simply claims that "the Court is not a party and not counsel for the defense." Id. Plaintiff's conclusory argument is insufficient to establish that the District Judge's November 13, 2012 order is a legal nullity. Consequently, his motion for reconsideration under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(4) should be denied.

Likewise, plaintiff is not entitled to reliefunder Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6). Rule 60(b)(6) applies "only in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances which are not addressed by the first five numbered clauses of the Rule." Hopper v. Euclid Manor Nursing Home, 867 F.2d 291, 294 (6th Cir. 1989). Plaintiffhas not alleged any facts which justify granting this extraordinary relief. Plaintiff simply asserts he is entitled to relief because the District Judge did not address his objections to the undersigned's Report and Recommendation to plaintiffs satisfaction. The District Judge determined that "plaintiffs objections have either been adequately addressed and properly disposed of by the Judge or present no particularized arguments that warrant specific responses by this Court." (Doc 38 at 2). Plaintiffs difference of opinion with the District Judge as to the responsiveness of the Judge's order does not qualify as an exceptional or extraordinary circumstance requiring relief under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6). Hopper, 867 F.2d at 294. Accordingly, plaintiffs motion for reconsideration pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6) should be denied.

IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT:

Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (Doc. 41) be DENIED and this matter remain closed on the docket of the Court. In light of this recommendation, the undersigned further recommends that ...


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