Davis v. State of Missouri
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 14 Motion for Relief from Judgment; denying 15 Motion to Disqualify. Signed by Chief District Judge Julie A Robinson on 11/13/2017.Mailed to pro se party Ronald E. Davis by regular mail. (cv)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
RONALD E. DAVIS,
Case No. 17-CV-2210-JAR
STATE OF MISSOURI,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
On June 26, 2017, the Court issued a Memorandum and Order in this case granting
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and denying as moot Plaintiff’s Application for Clerk’s Entry of
Default, Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer, and Motion for the Court to Act.1 The
Court entered a judgment dismissing this case the same day. This matter now comes before the
Court on two post-judgment motions Plaintiff filed on July 7, 2017, and July 8, 2017,
respectively: Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief from Judgment (Doc. 14) and Plaintiff’s Motion for
Disqualification of Justice[,] Judge, or Magistrate Judge (Doc. 15). Defendant did not respond to
Plaintiff’s motions. Thus, the motions are fully briefed and the Court is prepared to rule. For the
reasons explained below, the Court denies Plaintiff’s motions.
Motion for Relief from Judgment
Plaintiff moves for relief from judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). “Relief under Rule
60(b) is extraordinary and limited to certain exceptional circumstances.”2 Under Rule 60(b),
the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment,
order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
United States v. Johnson, 934 F. Supp. 383, 385 (D. Kan. 1996) (citing Nutter v. Wefald, 885 F. Supp.
1445, 1449 (D. Kan. 1995)).
(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.
“Thus, a motion for reconsideration [or motion for relief from judgment] is appropriate
where the court has misapprehended the facts, a party’s position, or the controlling law.”3 Such
a motion does not permit a losing party to rehash arguments previously addressed or to present
new legal theories or facts that could have been raised earlier.4 A party’s failure to present its
strongest case in the first instance does not entitle it to a second chance in the form of a motion
for relief from judgment.5 Whether to grant a motion for relief from judgment under Rule 60(b)
is left to the Court’s discretion.6
Plaintiff generally cites “overreach of authority, obstruction of process, [and] violation of
the plaintiffs [sic] due process and prior case law” as bases for relief from the Court’s judgment.7
Plaintiff also argues repeatedly that sovereign immunity does not apply to this case.
Additionally, Plaintiff “charges fraud on the court.”8 Specifically, “[t]he plaintiff charges that
Servants of Paracelete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000) (citing Brumark Corp. v. Samson
Res. Corp., 57 F.3d 941, 948 (10th Cir. 1995)).
Steele v. Young, 11 F.3d 1518, 1520 n.1 (10th Cir.1993); see also Charles Alan Wright, et al., Federal
Practice & Procedure: Civil 2d § 2810.1 (“The Rule 59(e) motion may not be used . . . to raise arguments or present
evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.”).
Turner v. Nat’l Council of State Bds. of Nursing, Inc., No. 11-2059-KHV, 2013 WL 139750, at *1–2 (D.
Kan. Jan. 10, 2013) (citing Cline v. S. Star Cent. Gas Pipeline, Inc., 370 F. Supp. 2d 1130, 1132 (D. Kan. 2005),
aff'd, 191 F. App’x 822 (10th Cir. 2006)).
Johnson, 934 F. Supp. at 385 (citing Pelican Prod. Corp. v. Marino, 893 F.2d 1143, 1145–46 (10th Cir.
Doc. 14 at 1.
Id. at 6.
the [C]ourt and the defendant know the law and are guilty of fraud to defeat the plaintiff of due
process of law.”9 Finally, Plaintiff appears to argue that the judgment is void.10
Having considered Plaintiff’s arguments, the Court finds that there are no “exceptional
circumstances” as set forth under Rule 60(b) to warrant relief from the judgment entered in this
case. Plaintiff’s arguments of fraud, void judgment, and general “overreach of authority” are
conclusory and not supported by any specific factual assertions or arguments by Plaintiff.
Additionally, Plaintiff’s argument regarding the application of sovereign immunity is simply a
rehash of arguments he made in opposing Defendant’s motion to dismiss, and which the Court
thoroughly considered in its previous Memorandum and Order.11 Accordingly, the Court finds
that relief from judgment is not warranted. Plaintiff’s motion for relief from judgment is denied.
Motion for Disqualification of Judge
Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), “any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States
shall disqualify [herself] in any proceeding in which [her] impartiality might reasonably be
questioned.” Section 455(b)(1) provides that a judge must also recuse herself where she “has a
personal bias or prejudice concerning a party.” Plaintiff advances several reasons why he
believes the Court should recuse itself from this case. As explained below, each of these reasons
First, Plaintiff argues the Court “failed to understand the abrogation of the 11th
amendment and Sovereign Immunity.”12 As explained above, however, the Court thoroughly
considered the parties’ arguments as to sovereign immunity in its previous Memorandum and
Id. at 9.
Id. at 8 (citing case law discussing effect of a void judgment).
See Doc. 9 at 1 (“The Defendant has no Sovereign Immunity when acting outside the sphere of Sovereign
duty”); Doc. 10 at 8 (Plaintiff arguing that “Defendant is not entitled to Eleventh amendment immunity”); Doc. 12 at
4–6 (Court considering sovereign immunity issue).
Doc. 15 at 1.
Order,13 and Plaintiff’s conclusory arguments do not convince the Court that its ruling on this
issue was in error. Specifically, Plaintiff argues the Court failed to consider South Dakota v.
Dole14 in reaching its decision. In Dole, the Supreme Court held that Congress’ act in
conditioning a grant of federal highway funds to South Dakota on the State’s adoption of a
minimum drinking age of 21 was a valid exercise of Congress’ spending power.15 Dole does not
provide guidance as to the sovereign immunity issues in this case. Plaintiff also invokes 42
U.S.C. § 2000d-7, which abrogates sovereign immunity with respect to claims brought under
certain federal civil rights and anti-discrimination statutes. Plaintiff does not bring a claim under
any of these statutes. Accordingly, the Court finds that it did not err in not analyzing Dole or
§ 2000d-7, or otherwise in resolving the sovereign immunity issue. Even if the Court found that
it had misapprehended the law, this alone does not provide a basis for disqualification from a
Second, Defendant repeats his claims that the Court’s judgment is void and that the Court
and Defendant committed fraud. As with his parallel arguments in his motion for relief from
judgment,17 these arguments are conclusory and do not require the Court to recuse itself from
this case. Finally, Plaintiff makes the conclusory statement that “the court has violated plaintiffs
[sic] consideration to law and regulation, and in fact favored the defendants.”18 Plaintiff does not
support this argument of bias with any evidence in the Record or any specific allegations.
Personal bias played no role in the Court’s previous rulings. To the contrary, as the Court’s
See supra Part I.
483 U.S. 203 (1987).
Id. at 210–12.
See 28 U.S.C. § 455.
See supra Part I.
Doc. 15 at 2.
previous Memorandum and Order demonstrates, the Court thoroughly considered Plaintiff’s
arguments and construed his filings liberally.19 Plaintiff has not set forth a basis under § 455 for
disqualification of the Court in this case. Accordingly, the Court denies Plaintiff’s motion for
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT that Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief
from Judgment (Doc. 14) is denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED BY THE COURT that Plaintiff’s Motion for
Disqualification of Justice[,] Judge, or Magistrate Judge (Doc. 15) is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: November 13, 2017
S/ Julie A. Robinson
JULIE A. ROBINSON
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Doc. 12 at 3.
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