James, et al v. USA et al
ORDER denying 9 Motion to Reopen Case; denying 10 Motion to Reopen Case; denying 10 Motion to Stay; denying 11 Motion to Stay, Restrain, Injunction; denying 11 Motion to Stay; denying as moot 12 Motion To Order Counsel; denying 13 Motio n for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; denying 13 Motion to Reopen Case; denying as moot 14 Motion To See File; denying as moot 15 Motion To See File; denying as moot 16 Motion To See File; denying as moot 17 Motion To See File; denying as moot 19 Motion To See File; denying as moot 20 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Signed by Judge Stefan R. Underhill on 8/29/2012. (Carter, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
CHARLES L. JAMES, et al.,
UNITED STATES, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
Plaintiffs Charles L. James and Linda J. Dowski, acting pro se, brought this action
against the United States, John and Jane Doe, and other defendants seeking recovery under
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and 28
U.S.C. § 1331 for alleged violations of their rights under Article I, Section 8 of the Connecticut
Constitution, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Thirteenth, and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. On October 26, 2009, Magistrate
Judge Margolis filed a recommended ruling dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (doc. # 5). I adopted Judge Margolis’s recommendation
and dismissed the case with prejudice in a written order dated December 14, 2009 (doc. # 8).
The plaintiffs have now filed four motions to reconsider and/or reopen the case (docs. # 9, # 10,
# 11 and # 13).1 For the reasons that follow, the motions are DENIED.
To the extent the plaintiffs seek reconsideration of my previous order dismissing their
complaint, they have failed to meet the strict burden reconsideration requires. Reconsideration
Document 11 is stylized as a motion to “stay, restrain, injunction” (doc. # 11). Although it is
unclear what relief the plaintiffs are seeking in that document, I am treating it as another motion
to reopen the case. Also pending are related motions to order counsel (docs. # 12 and # 20), a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (doc. # 13), and motions to see the file (docs. # 14,
# 15, # 16, # 17, and # 19).
will be granted only if the moving party can identify controlling decisions or data that the court
overlooked and that would reasonably be expected to alter the court’s decision. See Schrader v.
CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). A motion for reconsideration may not be
used to relitigate an issue the court has already decided. See SPGGC, Inc. v. Blumenthal, 408 F.
Supp. 2d 87, 91 (D. Conn. 2006), aff'd in part and vacated in part on other grounds, 505 F.3d
183 (2d Cir. 2007). Moreover, a party cannot seek reconsideration to “plug gaps in an original
argument or to argue in the alternative once a decision has been made.” Horsehead Res. Dev.
Co., Inc. v. B. U.S. Envtl. Serv., Inc., 928 F. Supp. 287, 289 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted).
After thoroughly reviewing the papers, I see no reason to reconsider my previous order
dismissing this case for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The plaintiffs’
various grievances still do not amount to a cognizable cause of action under any conceivable
legal theory.2 Even when construed as liberally and favorably as possible, the plaintiffs’ filings
have not pointed to any pertinent evidence or controlling decisions that I failed to take into
account that would affect the outcome of this case.
Similarly, to the extent the plaintiffs seek to reopen the judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b), the circumstances of this case do not warrant such exceptional relief.
Under Rule 60(b), the court may relieve a party from a final judgment or order for the following
The plaintiffs appear to take umbrage with my use of the word “theories” to describe their
claims in my previous Order of Dismissal (doc. # 8). To be clear, I meant no disrespect. The
term “legal theory” simply refers to the reasons why a plaintiff is or is not entitled to recover
under the law. Such terminology is not meant to belittle the claim or insult the claimant. On the
contrary, even the most meritorious legal arguments, brought by the most experienced attorneys,
are referred to as “theories.”
(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 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.
None of these extraordinary circumstances exist here. As explained above, the plaintiffs have
failed to point to any previously undiscoverable evidence or offer any other reasonable
justification for reopening the case.
Therefore, the plaintiffs’ motions to reconsider and/or reopen the case (docs. # 9, # 10,
#11 and # 13) are hereby DENIED. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ other pending motions to order
counsel (docs. # 12 and # 20), motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (doc. # 13), and
motions to see the file (docs. # 14, # 15, # 16, # 17, and # 19) are DENIED as moot.3 .
It is so ordered.
Dated at Bridgeport, Connecticut, this 29th day of August 2012.
/s/ Stefan R. Underhill
Stefan R. Underhill
United States District Judge
To the extent the plaintiffs are attempting, through any of these motions, to assert entirely new
claims premised on different alleged constitutional violations by different defendants, they
should file a separate complaint in the proper court.
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