Hastings v. U.S. Bank National Association
ORDERED: Plaintiff David S. Hastings' Motion for Relief from Judgment (Doc. 12) is DENIED. Signed by Judge Sheri Polster Chappell on 6/4/2021. (AEH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
DAVID S. HASTINGS, Individually
and as Successor in Interest to
Remedy Nutraceuticals, Inc.,
Promissory Note dated May 22, 2012
Case No: 2:20-cv-951-SPC-NPM
U.S. BANK NATIONAL
OPINION AND ORDER1
Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff David Hastings’ Motion for Relief
from Judgment. (Doc. 12). Two months ago, the Court dismissed this action
without prejudice because Plaintiff, as a party entitled to a default, had not
applied for a default under Local Rule 1.10(d). (Doc. 10). Hastings now moves
to reopen this action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1). That rule
says a court may grant relief from a final judgment or order for “mistake,
inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1).
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Hastings moves for Rule 60(b)(1) relief because he did move for a default
judgment last March,2 but the Court did not receive it. According to Hastings,
he included a motion for default judgment “in his legal envelope for his
Response to Respondent’s Reply in another case in this Court (2:20-cv-615SPC-MRM)” in order “to conserve postage.”3 (Doc. 12 at 3-4). As evidence,
Hastings attaches two documents. First, is a copy of his inmate trust account
that shows eight entries for legal postage on March 9, 17, and 23. Second, is
an unsigned “File Copy” of the motion for default judgment that dates the
certificate of service as “March 17, 2021.” (Doc. 12-2 at 2). Hastings says he
first learned the Court did not receive his motion on April 24.
Hastings offers inconsistent explanations for why the Court did not
receive his motion. He says, “for some unexplained reason, the Clerk of Court
did not receive the filing.” (Doc. 12 at 4). But later he blames the Department
of Corrections for not mailing the motion.
If the Department of
Corrections did not mail the motion, then wouldn’t there be an explained
reason the Clerk did not get his motion?
Also, Hastings’ inmate trust account only shows he spent over $8 for
legal postage. (Doc. 12-1). It does not identify any case for which Hastings
Unless stated otherwise, all dates in this Opinion and Order occurred in 2021.
The case Hastings references is a federal habeas corpus petition pending before the
undersigned styled as Hastings v. Sec’y Dep’t of Corr., 2:20-cv-615-SPC-MRM (M.D. Fla.).
used the postage and any date of mailing. Hastings has several cases pending
in this Court, so it’s not surprising that he would regularly buy postage to keep
up with his suits. The inmate trust account is nothing more than a receipt for
stamps, so it does little to corroborate his explanation for Rule 60(b)(1) relief.
What is more, Hastings mentions filing a document titled, “Response to
Respondent’s Reply,” in another federal habeas case and including the motion
for default judgment in the same mailing envelope. The Court has reviewed
(and taken judicial notice of) the habeas case, which paints a different picture.
The habeas case has no document titled, “Response to Respondent’s Reply.”
Nor does the record reflect any need (or permission) for Hastings to file such a
And to the extent that Hastings argues the Department of
Corrections never mailed his documents, noticeably absent from the habeas
record is any notice or objection from Hastings that his “Response to
Respondent’s Reply” is missing. The habeas case only shows that Hastings
mailed a reply supporting his motion for summary judgment on March 9. (Doc.
13). The reply included three attachments—none of which were a motion for
default judgment. (Doc. 13). It is clear the Department of Corrections mailed,
and the Clerk’s Office received, the reply just days before Hastings allegedly
submitted his motion for default judgment.
At bottom, the Court declines to exercise its discretion to find any
“mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect” to warrant Rule
60(b)(1) relief based on the record and Hastings’ arguments. This action thus
remains dismissed without prejudice.
Accordingly, it is now
Plaintiff David S. Hastings’ Motion for Relief from Judgment (Doc. 12) is
DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida on June 4, 2021.
Copies: All Parties of Record
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