Pitts v. General Electric Company, et al

Filing 164

ORDER denying plaintiff's 154 Motion for Relief; this matter remains closed; clerk instructed to terminate any pending motions by Judge Richard A Jones.(RS) cc plaintiff

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1 HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 KELSEY ANN PITTS, 11 Plaintiff, 12 ORDER v. 13 CASE NO. C13-1630 RAJ GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, et al., 14 15 Defendants. 16 17 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Grant Relief from 18 19 20 21 Deadline to Set Aside Mediation Agreement and Closure of Case. Dkt. # 154. Defendant General Electric Company (“GE”) opposes the motion. Dkt. # 157. 1 For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion. 22 23 1 The Court strongly disfavors footnoted legal citations. Footnoted citations serve as an end-run around 24 page limits and formatting requirements dictated by the Local Rules. See Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(e). Moreover, several courts have observed that “citations are highly relevant in a legal brief” and 25 including them in footnotes “makes brief-reading difficult.” Wichansky v. Zowine, No. CV-13-01208PHX-DGC, 2014 WL 289924, at *1 (D. Ariz. Jan. 24, 2014). The Court strongly discourages the Parties 26 from footnoting their legal citations in any future submissions. See Kano v. Nat’l Consumer Co-op Bank, 27 22 F.3d 899-900 (9th Cir. 1994). ORDER- 1 1 In June 2015, the parties mediated this matter and came to a resolution. The 2 parties stipulated to a dismissal of all claims with prejudice; the Court accepted the 3 stipulation and dismissed the case. Dkt. # 150. Now, more than a year later, Plaintiff 4 asks the Court to set aside the settlement and reopen this matter because she claims that 5 she was coerced by her attorney to sign the agreement with GE. Dkt. # 154. 6 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) affords a party relief from a final judgment, 7 order, or proceeding. A party seeking relief under Rule 60(b)(1)-(3) must do so within 8 one year after entry of the judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c)(1). A party seeking relief 9 under the remaining subsections of Rule 60(b) must do so “within a reasonable time.” Id. 10 Because Plaintiff filed this motion more than one year after the Court entered its final 11 judgment, the only relevant provision available to Plaintiff is Rule 60(b)(6). Subsection 12 (b)(6) is a catchall provision allowing relief for “any other reason that justifies relief.” 13 Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). 14 Plaintiff’s arguments are based on her attorneys’ conduct during settlement 15 negotiations. Dkt. # 154. She does not allege any misconduct on the part of GE. Id. In 16 similar situations, the federal courts agree that Rule 60 17 [I]s not intended to remedy the effects of a litigation decision 18 that a party later comes to regret through subsequently-gained 19 knowledge that corrects the erroneous legal advice of counsel. 20 . . . [P]arties should be bound by and accountable for the 21 deliberate actions of themselves and their chosen counsel. This 22 includes not only an innocent, albeit careless or negligent, 23 attorney mistake, but also intentional attorney misconduct. 24 Such mistakes are more appropriately addressed through 25 malpractice claims. 26 27 ORDER- 2 1 Latshaw v. Trainer Wortham & Co., 452 F.3d 1097, 1101 (9th Cir. 2006). “A party will 2 not be released from a poor litigation decision made because of inaccurate information or 3 advice, even if provided by an attorney.” Id. at 1101-102. 4 Rule 60(b)(6) is an extraordinary remedy that is used sparingly. Id. at 1103 (citing 5 United States v. Washington, 394 F.3d 1152, 1157 (9th Cir. 2005)). Plaintiff offers no 6 reason for why she could not have brought this motion earlier. Moreover, a party who 7 fails to take timely action under Rule 60(b)(1)-(3) “may not seek relief more than a year 8 after the judgment by resorting to subsection (6)” without showing “extraordinary 9 circumstances” that suggest “the party is faultless for the delay.” Pioneer Inv. Services 10 Co. v. Brunswick Associates Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380, 393 (1993). Plaintiff does 11 not demonstrate any “extraordinary circumstances” that would justify the kind of relief 12 she seeks in her motion. 13 Plaintiff fails to meet her burden under Rule 60. Accordingly, the Court DENIES 14 her motion. Dkt. # 154. This matter remains CLOSED. The Clerk is instructed to 15 TERMINATE any remaining motions pending on the docket. Dkt. ## 152, 153, 155. 16 17 Dated this 21st day of March, 2017. 18 A 19 20 The Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 ORDER- 3

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