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John J. Tauro v. Allegheny County

April 20, 2011

JOHN J. TAURO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COUNTY SOLICITOR AND INDIVIDUALLY, CHIEF DEPUTY SHERIFF WILLIAM P. MULLEN, RAYMOND L. BILLOTTE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COURT ADMINISTRATOR AND INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joy Flowers Conti United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Pending before the court are two motions for relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) ("Rule 60(b)"), filed on April 11, 2011 (ECF No. 35) and on April 13, 2011 (ECF No. 36) by pro se plaintiff John Tauro ("Tauro" or "plaintiff"). The motions are identical in all respects, and the court will consider their arguments together.

Background

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 March 2009, plaintiff commenced suit by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging defendants violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

On November 24, 2009, the court issued a memorandum opinion and order granting defendants‟ motions to dismiss plaintiff‟s claims as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

Tauro v. Allegheny County, No. 09-354, 2009 WL 4262977 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 24, 2009). In that opinion, the court held that certain claims against defendants were barred by the doctrine of issue preclusion. Id. at *4. The remainder of plaintiff‟s claims were deemed frivolous because they had no basis in law or fact. Id. at *5.

On December 19, 2009, plaintiff filed a timely appeal seeking review of the court‟s November 24, 2009 order. (ECF No. 29.) On March 22, 2010, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed this court‟s judgment and dismissed the appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). 371 F. App‟x 345 (3d Cir. 2010). The salient points of the court of appeals‟ decision are as follows:

In the Memorandum Opinion, the District Court found that the solicitor‟s immunity for his role in "civil contempt" proceedings against Tauro was ""actually litigated‟ and "essential‟ to a "a [sic] final and valid judgment‟" in Tauro‟s first lawsuit in 2003. Likewise, in 2006, we affirmed that his claims alleging that Pennsylvania law prohibited the agreements the solicitor entered into to "engage[] in representation" were without merit. Accordingly, we agree with the District Court that these claims are barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel.

We also agree with the District Court‟s conclusion that Tauro‟s remaining claims against the County and the sheriff have no basis in fact or law. Tauro‟s attempts to equate civil contempt and resulting arrest and incarceration with being charged with a "civil crime" and being subjected to "debtor‟s prison" have no basis in any relevant law. Additionally, his claims that the County‟s policies permitting civil contempt pending payment of child support are constitutional "as applied" and "on their face," have no basis in fact or law.Id. at 347-48.

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 ...


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