The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joy Flowers Conti United States District Judge
Pending before the court are two motions for relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) ("Rule 60(b)"), filed on February 27, 2011 (ECF No. 25) and on April 13, 2011 (ECF No. 26) by pro se plaintiff John Tauro ("Tauro" or "plaintiff"). The motions are identical in all respects, and the court will consider their arguments together.
The court and the parties are familiar with the history of this case, and the court will reiterate only the essential points necessary to dispose of the motions at bar. In October 2008, plaintiff commenced suit by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging defendants violated his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States between 1993 and March 2007.
On November 16, 2009, the court issued a memorandum opinion and order granting defendants‟ motion to dismiss plaintiff‟s claims against them. Tauro v. Baer, No. 08-1545, 2009 WL 3837247 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 16, 2009). In that opinion, the court considered the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which precludes federal courts from exercising subject-matter jurisdiction to review final decisions of a state‟s highest court or to evaluate constitutional claims that are inextricably intertwined with a state court judgment which predates the filing of the federal action. Id. at *3; see District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); see also Great Western Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159 (3d Cir. 2010). Because the relief plaintiff sought was in the nature of rendering prior state court judgments null and void, this court dismissed the action because it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine to review those judgments. Id. at *5.
On December 19, 2009, plaintiff filed a timely appeal seeking review of the court‟s November 16, 2009 order. (ECF No. 21.) On September 23, 2010, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed this court‟s judgment. 395 F. App‟x 875 (3d Cir. 2010). The salient points of the court of appeals‟ decision are as follows:
In this case, it is clear that the [Rooker-Feldman] doctrine‟s four requirements are met. Tauro lost in state court, he complains that he has been injured by the state court‟s judgments, and those judgments predate the filing of his federal complaint. In his response . . . Tauro argued that he was not seeking to void any state court decisions, but rather was seeking redress for damages and violations caused by the defendants‟ administrative decisions. However, the District Court properly noted that the complained of administrative actions formed the basis of the state court judgments. The District Court also recognized that his complaint requested that the court review and overturn the state court decisions as "nullit[ies]," and correctly concluded that this would have been the effect of voiding the state court judgments. Accordingly, we agree with the District Court that it lacked jurisdiction to review Tauro‟s claims.Id. at 877.
Unhappy with this latest turn of events, plaintiff now moves this court for relief pursuant to Rule 60(b). Because plaintiff is not entitled to relief under that rule, his motions will be denied.
Standards Rule 60(b) provides as follows:
(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(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 ...