Reliastar Life Insurance Company v. Laschkewitsch
ORDER denying 180 Motion for Relief from Judgment pursuant to Rule 60(a) and 60(b)(4) and granting 183 Motion to Seal. Signed by US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle on 10/11/2017. Copy sent to John B. Laschkewitsch via US Mail to 1933 Ashridge Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28304. (Stouch, L.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
RELIASTAR LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY,
JOHN B. LASCHKEWITSCH,
This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for relief from judgment pursuant
to Rules 60(a) and 60(b)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff has responded,
defendant has replied, and the matter is ripe for ruling. For the reasons that follow, defendant's
motion is denied.
For purposes of this motion the Court will review only the pertinent procedural
background of this matter. On May 28, 2014, the Court entered judgment in plaintiffs favor
after granting plaintiffs motion for summary judgment and denying defendant's motion for
summary judgment. On September 25, 2014, the Court denied defendant's motion to alter or
amend the judgment. By opinion entered March 11, 2015, the court of appeals affirmed this
court's judgment. ReliaStar Life Ins. Co. v. Laschkewitsch, 597 F. App'x 159 (4th Cir. 2015).
On December 7, 2015, the United States Supreme Court denied defendant's petition for writ of
certiorari, 136 S. Ct. 593 (2015), and on February 29, 2016, the Supreme Court denied
defendant's petition for rehearing. 136 S. Ct. 1251 (2016).
On July 3, 2017, defendant, proceeding in this matter pro se, filed the instant motion.
Defendant seeks relief from judgment for oversight, omissions, and want of jurisdiction.
Defendant contends that this Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider plaintiffs
claims and that his Rule 60 motion demonstrates his meritorious defenses to plaintiffs claims.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(a) provides that a court may correct clerical mistakes or mistakes
arising from oversight or omission. See also Am. Trucking Ass'ns v. Frisco Transp. Co., 358
U.S. 133, 145 (1958) ("It is axiomatic that courts have the power and the duty to correct
judgments which contain clerical errors or judgments which have issued due to inadvertence or
mistake."). Rule 60(a) is not limited to correction of typographical and clerical errors, and it
may also be relied upon to resolve an ambiguity in a prior order or in making corrections that are
consistent with the court's intention. Sartin v. McNair Law Firm PA, 756 F.3d 259, 266 (4th Cir.
2014) (listing cases).
Thus, "the scope of a court's authority under Rule 60(a) to make
corrections to an order or judgment is circumscribed by the court's intent when it issued the
order or judgment." Id
Defendant has failed to identify any clerical mistake or correction necessary to conform
the judgment to the Court's intent. Defendant's request for relief under Rule 60(a) is therefore
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(4) provides for relief from final judgment where the judgment is
void. "An order is 'void' for purposes of Rule 60(b)(4) only if the court rendering the decision
lacked personal or subject matter jurisdiction or acted in a manner in_consistent with due process
Wendt v. Leonard, 431F.3d410, 412 (4th Cir. 2005). Where, as here, a judgment is challenged
as void on the basis of the absence of subject matter jurisdiction, the jurisdictional error must be
deemed egregious before the judgment will be treated as void, and it must be demonstrated that
there was a "'total want of jurisdiction' and no arguable basis on which [the court] could have
rested a finding that it had jurisdiction." Id at 413 (quoting Nemaizer v. Baker, 793 F. 2d 58, 65
(2nd Cir. 1986)).
Defendant challenges plaintiffs standing to have brought this action. Federal courts may
consider only cases or controversies, and "the doctrine of standing has always been an essential
component" of the case or controversy requirement. Marshall v. Meadows, 105 F.3d 904, 906
(4th Cir. 1997) (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992)). To demonstrate
standing, plaintiffs must establish that they have suffered an injury in fact that is concrete and
particularized, that the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and
that the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision from the Court. Chambers Med
Techs. ofS.C., Inc. v. Bryant, 52 F.3d 1252, 1265 (4th Cir. 1995) (citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 555).
"The standing doctrine  depends not upon the merits, but on whether the plaintiff is the proper
party to bring the suit." White Tail Park, Inc. v. Straube, 413 F.3d 451, 460-61 (4th Cir. 2005)
(citations and quotations omitted).
Defendant has plainly failed to demonstrate that there was no arguable basis for this
Court to determine that it had subject matter jurisdiction over this action. First, defendant agreed
that the Court had subject matter jurisdiction. [DE 12]. Moreover, plaintiffs suit was based on a
concrete and particularized injury in fact, namely its issuance of a life insurance policy based on
what would be determined to be a fraudulent application as well as questions concerning the
propriety of the death benefit owed on the death of the insured. The injury to plaintiff was fairly
traceable to defendant as defendant made fraudulent statements and material misrepresentations
or omissions when applying for the policy, and the injury was redressed by an order of this Court
declaring the rights of the parties to the policy proceeds and that defendant breached his agent
contract and committed fraud.
At bottom, defendant seeks an opportunity to re-litigate this action through the filing of a
motion pursuant to Rule 60. Defendant has failed, however, to come forward with any basis
which would support correcting or granting relief from the judgment in this matter and his
motion [DE 180] is DENIED.
Defendant's motion to seal his brother's medical records
submitted in support of his motion [DE 183] is ALLOWED.
SO ORDERED, this the _il_ day of October, 2017.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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