Mohammed et al v. City of Morgan Hill et al

Filing 328

ORDER denying 317 Motion for Relief from Judgment. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 11/1/2013. (ejdlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/1/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 SAN JOSE DIVISION 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 CASE NO. 5:10-cv-05630 EJD ESTATE OF ABDURAHAM MOHAMMED,by and through Its Successors in Interest CHARLES WIDEMAN, Executor, HODAN MOHAMMED, Alternate Executor, ABDULLAHI MOHAMMED, SHARMAKE MOHAMMED, and JINOW GUDAL, ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT [Docket Item No(s). 317] 14 15 Plaintiff(s), v. 16 CITY OF MORGAN HILL, et. al., 17 18 Defendant(s). / 19 20 21 I. INTRODUCTION On July 13, 2012, the court dismissed this civil rights action pursuant Federal Rule of Civil 22 Procedure 41(b) after Plaintiff Estate of Abduraham Mohammed, by and through its successors in 23 interest Charles Wideman, Executor, Hodan Mohammed, Alternate Executor, Abdullah Mohammed, 24 Sharmake Mohammed and Jinow Gudal neglected to file an amended complaint by the deadline 25 imposed. See Docket Item No. 315. The court entered a judgment of dismissal in favor of 26 Defendants that same day. See Docket Item No. 316. 27 28 Presently before the court is Plaintiff Charles Wideman’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Relief from Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60. See Docket Item No. 317. 1 CASE NO. 5:10-cv-05630 EJD ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT 1 Defendants have filed written opposition to the motion. Having reviewed this matter, the court finds 2 it suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b). Thus, the 3 hearing scheduled for November 8, 2013, will be vacated and Plaintiff’s motion will be denied for 4 the reasons explained below. 5 6 II. LEGAL STANDARD As noted, Plaintiff brings this motion pursuant to Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil 7 Procedure. Section (b) of that rule, which will guide the following analysis, provides: 8 On 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; (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or (6) any other reason that justifies relief. 9 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 III. DISCUSSION 16 Plaintiff cites three sections of Rule 60(b). None entitle him to relief. 17 A. 18 Under section (b)(1), Plaintiff’s argument reveals he seeks redress for perceived judicial 19 20 Rule 60(b)(1) “mistake.” This argument is both untimely and misplaced. As to timing, the plain language of the rule requires that motions under section (b)(1) be 21 brought within a “reasonable time,” but “no more than a year after the entry of the judgment or order 22 or the date of the proceeding.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c)(1). “What constitutes ‘reasonable time’ 23 depends upon the facts of each case, taking into consideration the interest in finality, the reason for 24 delay, the practical ability of the litigant to learn earlier of the grounds relied upon, and prejudice to 25 other parties.” Ashford v. Steuart, 657 F.2d 1053, 1055 (9th Cir. 1981). Here, the instant motion 26 was filed well past the deadline to appeal the dismissal order. For that reason, “the interest in 27 finality must be given great weight.” Id. Plaintiff provides no reason for the failure to timely 28 challenge the order by direct appeal or through an earlier-filed 60(b) motion. In addition, there 2 CASE NO. 5:10-cv-05630 EJD ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT 1 appears nothing that could have prevented Plaintiff from learning of the court’s ruling when it was 2 issued. Indeed, Plaintiff must have known no later than October 26, 2012, when he filed a second 3 case on the same issues.1 Under these circumstances, the court must conclude that this motion, filed 4 nearly a year after the dismissal order was entered, was not brought within a “reasonable time.” 5 As to the substance, the court disagrees that it committed a legal error. The court carefully 6 considered and applied the factors provided by Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir. 7 1991) and concluded that dismissal was appropriate after it provided Plaintiffs significant latitude 8 and overlooked several instances of non-compliance, as was explained in the dismissal order. This 9 is true whether or not a scheduling order was issued. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 In the end, Plaintiff’s disagreement with the court’s decision does not equate to error. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion under Rule 60(b)(1) will be denied. 12 B. 13 To prevail under Rule 60(b)(3), “the moving party must prove by clear and convincing 14 evidence that the verdict was obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct and the 15 conduct complained of prevented the losing party from fully and fairly presenting the defense.” De 16 Saracho v. Custom Food Mach., Inc., 206 F.3d 874, 880 (9th Cir. 2000). “Clear and convincing 17 evidence” is a standard greater than “preponderance of the evidence” but lesser than “beyond a 18 reasonable doubt.” United States v. Chimurenga, 760 F.2d 400, 405 (9th Cir. 1985). 19 Rule 60(b)(3) Assuming, arguendo, that the section (b)(3) motion is not untimely for the same reasons 20 discussed above, Defendant has not presented anything that would amount to clear and convincing 21 evidence of fraud. Contrary to Plaintiff’s contention, the court did not convert motions to dismiss 22 into motions for summary judgment; it simply ruled on Defendants’ arguments made under Federal 23 Rule of Civil Procedure 12. See Docket Item No. 295. And Defendants did not act fraudulently in 24 filing the motions to dismiss considering many of their arguments were determined meritorious. 25 Furthermore, the fact that Plaintiff’s requests for default were declined is not evidence of fraud since 26 Plaintiff was not entitled to such relief in light of the defects in service. Accordingly, the court 27 28 1 The court takes judicial notice of case number 5:12-cv-05530 PSG. See Fed. R. Evid. 201. 3 CASE NO. 5:10-cv-05630 EJD ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT 1 rejects these theories as valid grounds for relief under Rule 60(b)(3). 2 C. Rule 60(b)(4) 3 Under Rule 60(b)(4), Plaintiff argues the dismissal is void, mainly due to the same purported 4 insufficiencies raised under sections (b)(1) and (b)(3). Since those purported insufficiencies have 5 already been rejected as reasons to vacate the judgment, the court finds this argument unconvincing 6 as well. See U.S. Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinosa, 559 U.S. 260, 271 (2010) (“Rule 60(b)(4) applies 7 only in the rare instance where a judgment is premised either on a certain type of jurisdictional error 8 or on a violation of due process[.]”). In this case, the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter was 9 clear, and no cognizable violation of due process occurred during the proceedings. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 IV. ORDER Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief from Judgment (Docket Item No. 317) 12 is DENIED. 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 15 Dated: November 1, 2013 EDWARD J. DAVILA United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 CASE NO. 5:10-cv-05630 EJD ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT

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