Scott v. Carlson
ORDER Denying 64 Plaintiffs Motion for Relief from Judgment, by Judge William J. Martinez on 9/30/2015.(evana, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge William J. Martínez
Civil Action No. 13-cv-0069-WJM-KMT
LYNN EUGENE SCOTT,
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT
Plaintiff Lynn Eugene Scott brought this case pro se against Defendant Mary
Carlson, in her individual capacity, claiming violations of his Fifth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) On February 7,
2014, the Court granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and entered judgment in favor
of Defendant. (ECF Nos. 28, 29.) The Tenth Circuit affirmed that judgment on appeal.
(ECF Nos. 62, 63.)
Plaintiff has now filed a motion for relief from judgment, claiming “mistake,
inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect” under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(b)(1). (ECF No. 64.) Whether to grant a Rule 60(b) motion rests within this Court’s
discretion. See Beugler v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 490 F.3d 1224, 1229
(10th Cir. 2007).
The basis for Plaintiff’s Rule 60(b)(1) motion is as follows. He is a plaintiff in
another lawsuit pending before the undersigned, which the Court will refer to as the
“Hughes Action.” (See Scott v. Hughes et al., Case No. 14-cv-2570 (D. Colo., filed
Sept. 16, 2014).) The Hughes Action is an excessive force lawsuit against the City and
County of Denver and certain of its police officers. (Id., ECF No. 7.) United States
Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya was originally the magistrate judge assigned to
the Hughes Action. (Id., ECF No. 9.) In May 2015, however, Magistrate Judge Tafoya
recused because “[a]n immediate family member of mine is a police officer employed
by the City and County of Denver. . . . While neither he nor I have any direct
involvement in this case, out of an abundance of caution I hereby recuse myself from
the civil action.” (Id., ECF No. 23 at 1.)
Magistrate Judge Tafoya also happens to be the magistrate judge assigned to
this case. (ECF No. 13.) This case is an lawsuit against a Colorado Department of
Corrections employee that allegedly miscalculated the length of Plaintiff’s prison
sentence and thereby kept him in prison more than three years longer than his
sentence required. (ECF No. 5 at 2–5.) Having learned of Magistrate Judge Tafoya’s
connection to the Denver Police Department in May 2015, Plaintiff asks, “how can
[Magistrate Judge Tafoya] not recuse herself in the instant action also since it involves
the Department of Corrections[,] a law enforcement agency of the state...?” (ECF No.
65-1 at 1 (ellipsis in original).) Plaintiff argues that Magistrate Judge Tafoya “should
never preside over [matters dealing with law enforcement] . . . . By not [recusing,] she
denied the Plaintiff a fair and impartial hearing . . . .” (Id. at 3.)
The Court disagrees. Recusal is required only when “a reasonable person,
knowing all the facts, would harbor doubts about the judge’s impartiality.” Bryce v.
Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colo., 289 F.3d 648, 659 (10th Cir. 2002). Having a
Denver police officer as an immediate relative has no necessary or even likely relation
to one’s impartiality with respect to matters involving the Colorado Department of
Moreover, Plaintiff has not demonstrated how the alleged bias actually or
apparently affected the outcome of his case. The undersigned reviewed de novo
Magistrate Judge Tafoya’s dispositive recommendations (see ECF No. 28) and then
personally ruled on all of Plaintiff’s substantive postjudgment motions (see ECF Nos.
For all these reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief from Judgment (ECF No. 64) is
Dated this 30th day of September, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
William J. Martínez
United States District Judge
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