Mills v. Bryan et al
-CLERK TO FOLLOW UP-DECISION AND ORDER denying with prejudice 40 Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate ; denying with prejudice 44 Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions; denying with prejudice 49 Plaintiff's Motion for Subpoenas. The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith, and therefore in forma pauperis status is denied for purpose of an appeal. Signed by Hon. Michael A. Telesca on 10/14/16. The Clerk of the Court is requested to mail a copy of this Decision and Order to the pro se plaintiff. (AFB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DECISION AND ORDER
RICHARD F. MILLS,
-vsTERESE BRYAN, RONALD GREER, AUGUSTA
WELSH, TED MILLER, SCOTT GREFRATH,
NICOLE DESMOND, OFFICER AUSTIN, SHERIFF
GARY MAHA, JOEL S. ROOT, TIMOTHY J.
MICHALAK, KELLY KOZAK, GENESEE COUNTY,
GENESEE COUNTY JAIL, GENESEE COUNTY
JAIL MEDICAL DIRECTOR, JANE/JOHN DOE,
DOCTOR JANE/JOHN DOE, MEDICAL
EMPLOYEE-NURSE JANE/JOHN DOE, HURWITZ &
FINE, P.C., A. HURWITZ, P. FINE, SHAWN
Proceeding pro se, Richard Mills (“Plaintiff”) commenced this
action on October 20, 2006, alleging that while he was a pre-trial
detainee in Genesee County Jail, the defendants, inter alia,
committed various breaches of confidentiality in regards to his
medical records and medical conditions. On January 21, 2010, the
Court (McCarthy, M.J.) placed on the record the terms of settlement
of this action, along with two other civil actions involving
In pro se papers dated July 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion
to Vacate the Judgment (Dkt #40) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b) (“Rule 60(b)”), despite the fact that, through
counsel, he had previously entered a Stipulation of Discontinuance.
also moved for sanctions (Dkt #188) pursuant to Rule 11
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The attorneys for the
various defendants filed Declarations and Memoranda of Law in
opposition (Dkt ##189, 190, 193, 197) to these motions. Plaintiff
filed multiple replies (Dkt ##192, 196, 198, 199). Plaintiff then
filed a Motion for Issuance of Subpoenas (Dkt #200).
For the reasons discussed below, all three motions are denied.
MOTION TO VACATE
Pursuant to Rule 60(b), “[o]n motion and just terms, a court
may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final
judgment, order, or proceeding” for any of the following reasons:
(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
extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by
(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.
FED. R. CIV. P. 60(b). Petitioner specifies subsections (1) through
(6) of Rule 60(b) as the grounds for his motion.
The gravamen of Plaintiff’s Motion to Vacate is that retired
allegedly lied in a Decision and Order dated June 2, 2005, in
Plaintiff, the lie concerned the degree of kinship between Judge
Noonan and Assistant District Attorneys Robert and William Zickl
prosecuting Plaintiff’s criminal case. In the Decision and Order at
issue, Judge Noonan stated that the Zickl Brothers were his first
cousins, once removed. As proof of Judge Noonan’s alleged lie,
Plaintiff has submitted a newspaper article June 28, 2016, stating
that Judge Noonan’s father was the father-in-law of the Zickl
Brothers’ father. Thus, based on the article, Plaintiff asserts,
the Zickl Brothers are actually Judge Noonan’s nephews, and not his
establishes an ethical violation by Judge Noonan, whom he claims
should have recused himself based on his familial relationship with
the Zickl Brothers.
Plaintiff cannot avail himself of subsections (1), (2), or (3)
of Rule 60(b) because his Motion to Vacate was not made within one
year after the Judgment. See FED. R. CIV. P. 60(c) (1) (“A motion
under Rule 60(b) must be made within a reasonable time--and for
reasons (1), (2), and (3) no more than a year after the entry of
the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding.”).
Rule 60(b)(4) which, applies when the judgment is void, cannot
be invoked here. A judgment is void “only if the court that
rendered it lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter, or of the
parties, or if it acted in a manner inconsistent with due process
of law.” Grace v. Bank Leumi Trust Co., 443 F.3d 180, 194 (2d Cir.
2006). The newspaper article discussing the familial relationship
between Judge Noonan and the Zickl Brothers does not have the
effect of voiding this Court’s Judgment.
Plaintiff cannot rely on Rule 60(b)(5), which allows vacatur
if 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). The Court’s
satisfied, released or discharged. Likewise, it was not based on an
earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated. Finally, it did
not leave open future adjudication of any issues regarding the
rights of the parties. See Tapper v. Hearn, No. 15-2249-CV,
F.3d ___, 2016 WL 4204794, at *4 (2d Cir. Aug. 10, 2016) (“The fact
that the district court’s prior dismissal was not executory and did
not leave open future adjudication of any issues regarding the
rights of the parties now at issue here and before the district
court is fatal to Petitioners’ claim under [Rule 60(b)(5)].”).
Rule 60(b)(6) provides that a court may relieve a party from
a final judgment for “any other reason that justifies relief.” FED.
R. CIV. P. 60(b)(6). Significantly, “Rule 60(b)(6) applies only
‘when the asserted grounds for relief are not recognized in clauses
(1)-(5) of the Rule’ and ‘there are extraordinary circumstances
justifying relief.’” Tapper, 2016 WL 4204794, at *4 (quoting
Nemaizer v. Baker, 793 F.2d 58, 63 (2d Cir. 1986); emphasis
supplied). Even assuming that Plaintiff is correct about the actual
relationship between Judge Noonan and the Zickl Brothers, and
assuming further that their relationship was relevant to the
Judgment in this action, any resulting conflict of interest falls
far short of the “extraordinary circumstances” necessary to invoke
Rule 60(b)(6). See Moskowitz v. Coscette, 51 F. App’x 37 (2d Cir.
2002) (any tension that may have existed within attorney’s dual
representation of police chief and town in police officer’s action
alleging retaliation in violation of First Amendment did not rise
to level of “extraordinary circumstance” warranting relief from
final judgment in favor of officer, even if attorney failed to
highlight evidence that police commission had instructed chief to
build a case against officer, where attorney did not take position,
In short, Plaintiff has not demonstrated, nor can he, that
“extraordinary circumstances” exist so as to justify reopening the
Judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint. Indeed, “extraordinary
circumstances” are plainly absent in this case, where Plaintiff has
been permitted to argue these meritless kinship claims repeatedly,
in both State and Federal court.
MOTION FOR SANCTIONS
Rule 11 requires that “[e]very pleading, written motion, and
other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in
the attorney’s name--or by a party personally if the party is
unrepresented[.]” FED. R. CIV. P. 11(a). By affixing his signature
to a pleading, the pro se litigant or the attorney certifies that
to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief, formed after
an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, that the pleading
(1) is not being presented for any improper purpose, such
as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless
increase in the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions
therein are warranted by existing law or by a
nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or
reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;
(3) the allegations and other factual contentions have
evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified,
are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable
opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on
the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are
reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.
FED. R. CIV. P. 11(b); see also Business Guides, Inc. v. Chromatic
Communications Enterprises, Inc., 498 U.S. 533, 542 (1991) (“The
signature ‘certifies to the court that the signer has read the
document, has conducted a reasonable inquiry into the facts and the
law and is satisfied that the document is well grounded in both,
and is acting without any improper motive.’”).
Plaintiff asserts entitlement to sanctions pursuant to Rule 11
on the basis that Judge Noonan allegedly committed “fraud, perjury,
and [made] misstatements meant to mislead” the Court. The allegedly
untruthful statements by Judge Noonan about the degree of kinship
between himself and the Zickl Brothers, discussed above, form the
basis of Plaintiff’s Rule 11 motion. Rule 11 has no application
here. First, Judge Noonan did not file any pleadings in this
action. Second, the alleged misrepresentation did not occur in the
context of this litigation and cannot be the basis for sanctions in
Plaintiff is cautioned that “the filing of a motion for
sanctions is itself subject to the requirements of [Rule 11] and
can lead to sanctions.” FED. R. CIV. P. 11 advisory committee’s note
(1993 Amendments) (quoted in Safe-Strap Co. v. Koala Corp., 270 F.
Supp. 2d 407, 421 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)). Plaintiff’s present motions,
which are also asserted verbatim in nine other cases he has filed
in this Court, are precisely the type of “abusive litigation
tactics,” Gaines v. Gaston, No. 92 CIV. 0643(DNE), 1998 WL 574380,
at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 8, 1998), that Rule 11 was intended to deter.
MOTION FOR ISSUANCE OF SUBPOENAS
Plaintiff seeks an order mandating Judge Noonan to appear
before the Court and state under oath how he is related to the
Plaintiff also seeks an order mandating that the journalist who
wrote the newspaper article discussed above be required to appear
and testify before the Court. Unsurprisingly, Plaintiff cites no
legal authority in support of these requests, which are entirely
frivolous and warrant no further discussion.
For the reasons discussed above, Plaintiff’s Motion to Vacate
the Judgment, Motion for Sanctions, and Motion for Issuance of
Subpoenas are denied with prejudice. The Court certifies pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this order would not
be taken in good faith, and therefore in forma pauperis status is
denied for purpose of an appeal. See Coppedge v. United States, 369
U.S. 438, 444-45 (1962).
S/ Michael A. Telesca
HON. MICHAEL A. TELESCA
United States District Judge
October 14, 2016
Rochester, New York.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?